The Trouble with Turtlenecks

woman wearing a turtleneckOne of the most classic items of fashion for a woman’s trousseau is the turtleneck. It can be a wonderful addition to any wardrobe, but it does come with some risks when not carefully considered. In this case, I am talking about balance. We’ve discussed before the need to consider proportion and body type/shape when considering everything from hairstyles to hemlines, and turtlenecks are certainly no exception to this rule.

For example, take the petite woman. When small-framed and slender of body, there are many garments that are available to you that can help you enhance your curves. Yet, you must be careful of the turtleneck with a thick collar as it can cause your head to appear too small, by artificially increasing the appearance of your neck and upper torso.

Conversely, bulky turtlenecks aren’t good for large-framed and heavy-set women either, since the added bulk of the sweater only makes the body appear even heavier – which is seldom the desired effect.

Typically a good rule of thumb is to remember the balance. Consider the weight of the fabric of your garment in ounces and consider that “pounds”. Therefore, a sweater that weighs 15 ounces can cause you to appear as much as 15 pounds heavier. (It could be even more depending on your build and frame, and definitely increases if the garment is oversized for you.)

The other concern comes regarding height. Those petite individuals wearing turtlenecks can often find that the garment causes their necks to appear stunted. This is even more often the case if the individual has a short neck to begin with.

It’s these factors that make it clear that balance is the real key to looking good in clothing that we choose. Sadly, there is no real “universal” look that works for absolutely everyone. We have to consider body shape and fabric weight and cut in order to make sure that what we choose works for us. So the next time you pull out your favorite turtleneck, make sure you turn a critical eye on the garment and ask yourself if it really works for you. And if you’re in doubt, err on the side of caution.