Especially loved in France, 'les pulls à col roulés' are known as polo necks or roll necks in the UK and turtlenecks in the USA. But essentially we are talking about the same style of garment. They are tops or sweaters whose neckline goes high up the neck to under the
chin. Variations on the theme come with looser or shorter necks. Currently, many tunics are also made with high necks.
Turtlenecks are all the rage, again, due to the ebb and flow of fickle fashion. Some of you will rejoice, while others will wince. The questions are who can wear them and how?
In order to help you here are 8 Terrific Turtleneck Tips all based on French Chic guidelines, bien sûr.
There is an all important first question to ask yourself before you run to the closest boutique to top up on turtlenecks: is your neck the Turtleneck Type? Sorry to be so blunt! Sometimes, we may not think of these things and just buy something because it is in fashion or on trend. After spending a small fortune, we catch our reflection in a mirror later and regret our impulse. So how do you know whether this on-trend top is Turtleneck Terrific for you or Turtleneck Terrible?
Short or long neck?
If your neck is on the short side, beware of turtlenecks. They can shorten your neck even further and make you look like, well a turtle. I strongly suggest that ladies with shorter necks should wear V-necks instead to visually lengthen their neck.
For women with long necks however,turtlenecks are perfect for bringing attention to this graceful feature. If you do have a short neck therefore this on-trend item is one to stay away from. Please don't despair. Fashions come and fashions fade and very soon a trendy item will appear that suits you more than longer necked ladies.
Smooth or ‘turkey’ neck?
Tight turtlenecks on younger women look great because of their smooth skin. Older women, on the other end, should be wary as turtlenecks will draw attention to looser skin under the chin. The neck may well be concealed by the tight weave, so far so good. However, when the wearer looks down, the looser, less elastic skin of an elderly lady will be squeezed up towards the top of the neckline and be on show. But, all is not lost. The solution for older women is simply to avoid tight turtlenecks. Choose a looser style instead, such as the elegant cowl necked sweater. These will be more flattering for you. As we age, we find that there are many styles of clothes we no longer look good in. This is when we have to become even more vigilant. You must learn not only to love your body but respect it as it changes.
Some may find turtlenecks too tight, too constrictive and even too itchy and therefore uncomfortable to wear. If they are uncomfortable for you, you may end up pulling at the neckline all day or all evening long. If this sounds like you, I suggest you choose softer knit and finer weave garments. Cowl necks may also be more comfortable for you. As above, know your body. If you don't like tight clothing around your neck or you are allergic or sensitive around this area, skip this trend and look for an alternative. Style is about looking comfortable with what you are wearing, not being at war with it.
This type of very high neckline may over-emphasise the bust. So if you are on the large size and follow French Chic, you may want to choose another style of neckline. So, as for shorter necked ladies, I would suggest that you opt instead for a different neckline look.
PS: French Chic followers don't like to draw attention to our female body parts in ways that may be deemed crass and vulgar. However, drawing attention to the face, arms, feet or back, for instance, is recognised as elegant and feminine.
Turtlenecks showcase your face. Everyone will have their gaze drawn upwards, so be prepared for plenty of eye contact from admirers! You must be prepared to use this to your advantage for example by showing off your beautiful eyes?
Extra Turtleneck Tip: If you have long hair, pull it up to emphasise your neck and face even more.
To really turn up the sex appeal of turtlenecks, aim for a sleeveless one. This will emphasise your arms and face and uses the ‘conceal to reveal’ ploy. i.e. conceal one thing whilst revealing something else. A great tactic amongst stage magicians to manipulate the attention of their audience. Be your own Polo Neck Prestidigitator and bring some magic to your wardrobe.
For those of you who wonder whether turtlenecks are sexy or not, I say emphatically yes they are!
So, how can such a high neckline, that conceals so much, be sexy? Isn’t sexiness about revealing flesh? Non, pas du tout! Do not be fooled by the relentless onslaught of celebrities and popstars wearing less to nothing. They do it for attention, shock factor and social media gratification. You don’t have to do this. Revealing too much has never been sexy. Sexiness is not about the amount of flesh that is on show for all to see. Sexiness is about the person and how she reveals a bit of herself to a selected few, in a subtle way, a little bit at a time. Un regard, a look, un sourire, feet in high heels, subtle slits at the shoulders, a flick of her hair, a long thin pendant between a not-too revealing cleavage: these are sexy. It makes you wonder about this woman, you feel intrigued, you want to know more. Is it any surprise that showing less can be extremely sexy? Conceal to reveal. In this case, you conceal the neck to better reveal the face and eyes. Don’t you think this is sexier?
Turtlenecks require a pared-down look, and this includes accessories. Long pendant necklaces look très chic with turtlenecks. But go for subtle earrings, such as diamond studs or pearl earrings. Long pendant earrings would only compete with the high neckline.
One great advantage of a wool turtleneck is the added warmth around, you guessed it, the neck. In low temperatures, your throat will be protected and Turtleneck Toasty. No need to carry a pesky scarf! But do be careful of where you go. If you go from cold outside to warm inside, the extra warmth around your neck can make you very toasty indeed.
I hope the above Terrific Turtleneck Tips were of help to you even if it is just that, perhaps, you need to avoid these tops! Not every trend suits every person but don't worry. New trends are coming along all the time. As in all things, patience in style is one of my top tips. Buy only what really suits you.
Sometimes, you need extra help to ensure you always look chic and elegant. This website always gives plenty of tips and how-tos on French Chic style. Please let me know any problems or advice you would like to see featured in this blog. Merci.
If you found these Turtleneck Tips helpful, you may also enjoy these:
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5 Ways to Wear a Breton Top - Part 1
5 ways to Wear a Breton top - part 2
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I'm Marie-Anne Lecoeur. I teach women how to upgrade their style and think, shop & dress like a French woman in my Ecourses and The French Chic Academy
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