It’s winter. It’s cold. For many, it’s turtleneck time.
“I’m a turtleneck kind of person,” said Vania Escauriza, 37, a Buffalo-based designer who runs Vania & David, 1007 Elmwood Ave., along with her husband David Martinez.
For others, it’s never turtleneck time.
“I never wear them. Neither do my friends. My mom wears them, and my older aunts wear them,” said Jenna Youngman, 20, a hairstylist and assistant at Vogue Salon & Day Spa in Williamsville. Instead she wears infinity scarves that wrap around the neck twice to keep her warm.
Yet even Youngman is giving turtlenecks some thought these days. And it’s not because of temps in the teens and threats of single-digit wind chills.
“I went Black Friday shopping and saw a lot of turtlenecks, and I’m seeing them online. But now they’re making styles for younger customers,” she said.
Some of today’s turtlenecks are not necessarily the types that come to mind for many women.
Shop around and you’ll find “cold shoulder” turtlenecks that bare the shoulders with cutout designs. Other options include turtlenecks that lace up the back, tie at the waist or are cropped – some super cropped.
Those looking for an extra layer of warmth might call these the “why bother?” turtleneck. Those looking for a turtleneck designed for a younger generation – or a continuation of trends from previous seasons – might go for it.
In addition, shoppers will find preppy styles, too, as well as turtlenecks, cowl necks and mock styles in an array of colors, weights and materials, from cold gear styles for workouts to styles dressy enough to be layered under a suit or paired with party separates. Think cashmere, for one.
For every day, Escauriza goes the classic route – and explained why turtlenecks work for her.
“I’m not a person who has a lot of time to get ready. I’m always running and busy. I’m a mother, wife and designer. I don’t have much time to get dressed. I just try to go for very simple pieces. Then I throw on our jewelry, some bright lipstick and maybe grab some heels and a coat and I’m all set,” said Escauriza, whose merchandise line specializes in handcrafted jewelry, leather handbags and soy candles.
She owns turtlenecks in several colors –cream, salmon, marine blue, black – including several she purchased in her native South America. A gray turtleneck in a soft, smooth sweater knit is a current favorite. She recently paired it with gray flannel trousers over black cowboy boots and added a long black coat for a business trip to New York. A black handbag, bright fuchsia lipstick and jewelry finished the look.
A turtleneck sweater or dress – she has one of those, too, in black – serves as the ideal canvas for her handcrafted jewelry, she noted.
Escauriza added this: Flipping through magazines lately, she has noticed guys wearing turtlenecks – in camel or black.
Whether or not you wear turtlenecks, pay attention to fashion publications, or even think twice about what’s in or out, turtlenecks have history.
British polo players wore high funnel-neck collared pullovers in the 1860s. Sir Noel Pierce Coward, the British actor and playwright, popularized them in the 1920s. Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich and Audrey Hepburn wore them.
Steve Jobs always wore black mock turtlenecks. Sharon Stone wore a Gap black turtleneck with a long skirt to the 1996 Oscars.
Here in Western New York, Ed Kilgore is renowned for his longtime loyalty to the look.
Among more recent turtleneck spottings:
• Photographs from the GQ Men of the Year Party held in Los Angeles on Dec. 7 reveal a sea of turtlenecks on male actors, models, rappers and other celebrities. Snoop Dogg, Quincy Brown, Laz Alonso, Alex Roe, Shaun Ross, Algee Smith and others all wore them to the party, layered under suit or sport jackets.
In fact, in one of its tips for dressing for this particular party, GQ wrote this online: “When in doubt, go all black and wear a turtleneck.”
GQ also has published several features on turtlenecks recently including one on the basic cotton style with the headline “Your New Basic T-Shirt for Fall is Actually a Turtleneck.”
The writer refers to “dad style” in this online piece. “The prevalence of Dad style is rooted in comfort ... taking what grown men wore a few decades ago and blithely celebrating the awesomeness of those garments ...” Liza Corsillo began.
“Now, one of the greatest dad style unifiers, the basic cotton turtleneck, is both essential to fall layering and back in the good graces of fashion royalty,” wrote Corsillo, who credits Raf Simons, chief creative officer at Calvin Klein, for helping fuel the comeback for Fall 2017.
• First lady Melania Trump has appeared in turtlenecks lately. She wore one on Nov. 21 to the National Thanksgiving Turkey Pardoning Ceremony in the Rose Garden. She sported one again on Nov. 26 as the family returned to the White House after the Thanksgiving holiday.
• Turtlenecks made a strong showing on the runways for Fall 2017, but some also appeared for Spring 2018 in fashion previews.
One model wore a striped turtleneck dress during the Louis Vuitton 2018 Spring/Summer ready-to-wear collection fashion show in Paris on Oct. 3.
At Calvin Klein, Raf Simons layered turtlenecks under buttoned-up shirts. Mesh short-sleeve mock turtlenecks were another layering option for spring.
• And in an interview with the New York Times earlier this year, fashion designer Joseph Abboud, who through the years has been photographed in turtlenecks, talked about his lifelong love of fashion and how dressing well can open doors.
Here is what he said:
“Already in high school, though, I’d been voted best dressed, so the interest was always there. One irony is that, in my yearbook photo, I’m wearing a fawn-colored corduroy jacket with a black turtleneck – and I’m still wearing a black turtleneck now.”