How to Wear a Turtleneck with Jeans, Skirts, Leather Pants and Even a Jumpsuit
While we love daydreaming about how to recreate Moira Rose’s most dramatic and over-the-top ensembles from Schitt’s Creek, sometimes it’s a good idea to return to Fashion 101. By that we mean, we’re revisiting the basics. First up: Figuring out how to wear a turtleneck with anything and everything that may be hiding in our closets. Here we’ve pulled together 17 fabulous and easy outfits all featuring our favorite fall and winter top, whether you prefer your turtleneck in the form of an oversize knit or a slim-fit tissue-tee. Our tip? Try each look once, before the year’s end.
1. Pair an Oversize Turtleneck with Skinny Jeans or Leggings
Oversize knits and slim-fit bottoms go together like peanut butter and jelly. The opposing silhouettes balance out beautifully, with the added bonus of giving you mile-long legs and concealing any lumps or bumps along your waistline.
2. Balance Wide-Leg Pants with a Lighter Knit
On the other hand, wide or loose-cut bottoms, like Coterie member Katie Sturino’s white jeans, look better with more streamlined tops. This doesn’t necessarily mean a form-fitting turtleneck tee or bodysuit (although it can); just opt for a thinner knit that works to balance out the extra fabric on your legs.
3. Slip a Thin Turtleneck Under a Slinky Party Dress
Take inspiration from Coterie member Jessie Loeffler Randall and layer a tighter turtleneck underneath a strappy dress for a bit more coverage and warmth. (Plus, now you don’t have to worry what kind of bra will work best with that plunging neckline; a regular T-shirt bra will do just fine.) If you’re worried about bunching, try a turtleneck bodysuit in place of a regular tee. Just be sure to pick one with snaps to make bathrooms breaks easier to manage.
4. Or Try Layering a Turtleneck *Over* Your Fancy Frock
For dresses that don’t look quite right layered over a turtleneck you can simply swap the order of the two pieces. Coterie member Coco Bassey may be wearing a sexy silk and chiffon evening gown, but her coordinating cream knit and chunky JW Anderson loafers give it a more casual vibe that’s fit for a holiday party or a dinner out with friends.
5. Pair a Thick Turtleneck with Warm Weather Skirts
Much of dressing for the in-between seasons of fall and spring consists of figuring out how to blend both cool and warm weather pieces so we won’t overheat, start shivering or look like we got dressed in the dark. One of our favorite tricks is to layer a cozy turtleneck sweater in a naturally breathable fabric—like cashmere—over a floral midi skirt or dress for a gorgeous combination of the seasons.
6. Embrace Thinner Styles in the Winter Months
It may seem counterintuitive, but turtleneck tees and thinner materials actually work better with skirts or pants made of thicker materials like wool, leather or suede. For example, Coterie member Monroe Steele’s sleek cotton style helps show off her figure without sacrificing warmth on those crisp fall days. Plus, her very fall-friendly color palette turns this simple pairing into a standout outfit.
7. Layer a Turtleneck Under a Button-Down Shirt
This is an excellent solution for buxom babes who love the look of a button down but can’t seem to get the buttons to lay flat over their chests. Simply layer another a tissue-thin turtle underneath and you can unbutton to your bosom’s heart’s content—without exposing too much skin.
8. Pair Matching Fabrics to Create a Unique Top
If layering is your jam, it’s time to get creative. Try wearing a white turtleneck under a white blouse, or mixing and matching coordinating colors and fabrics. This will create the illusion of an interestingly draped top that appears to be one unique piece—that will still keep you warm amid gusts of wind and sideways rainfall.
9. Turn a Low-Cut Dress Into Something More Modest
Long cardigans are majorly trending for winter, as are sweater dresses. And while we love the idea of picking up one cozy knit to fulfill both trends, not all cardigans have necklines that can accommodate such versatility. The solution? Add on a thin turtleneck tee that won’t add any bulk but will provide more than enough coverage.
10. Use a Chunky Turtleneck to Ground Leather Pants
Leather pants are incredibly warm and surprisingly comfy, making them a brilliant alternative to denim or chinos for the cooler months. But if these slick pants feel a little too rock-n-roll for your taste, try adding a cable knit, intarsia or otherwise classically chunky sweater on top. The juxtaposition will tone down the glam for a more balanced, everyday appeal.
11. Try a Monochrome Ensemble
We’ve said it before and we won’t stop repeating it anytime soon: Monochrome dressing is one of the easiest ways to create an instantly chic and expensive looking ‘fit. Yup, even when an oversize, shapeless turtleneck is thrown into the mix. Simply pair it with some tailored trousers and pointy-toe shoes in the same color or color family and you’ll look more like an Olsen twin and less like a frumpy mess.
12. Give Your Regular Work Blouses a Break
One can only wear suits and shirts in so many combinations before they start to feel stale. Instead of splurging on a slew of new staples, why not switch thing up entirely with a fitted turtleneck in place of the traditional button down? If you’re wearing a patterned suit, choose a solid-hued top in a hue pulled from or adjacent to one of the colors in the print, like this camel and navy windowpane combo. This will keep you looking coordinated but not too matchy-matchy.
13. Use a Turtleneck as the Base for a Standout Coat
Wearing a matching turtleneck with long trousers doesn’t just create the illusion of a tall, lean frame. It also provides the perfect base for showing off your most fabulous patterned outerwear, including boldly colored jackets. Even if you end up taking it off once you get where you’re going, you’ve still got that chic monochrome ensemble waiting underneath.
14. Go for a Statement Turtleneck
On the flip side, if you’ve got a collection of bright, bold tops and sweaters we say give them the space to shine by keeping the rest of your ensemble incredibly simple. Try this out with a no-fuss suit or a plain pencil skirt, and stick to just one or two solid neutrals.
15. Layer Your Knit Under a Jumpsuit
Get that ‘70s vibe going with this retro combination. Just be sure to keep your accessories modern and streamlined (i.e., pointy-toe boots in place of platforms and a sleek clutch instead of a boho tote) to avoid looking too costumey.
16. Swap a Turtleneck for Your Winter Scarf
Note: This works particularly well with chunkier knits. Simply unroll the neck so it comes up over the collar of your coat and you’ll be as cozy and warm as you would with a wool scarf wrapped around you. Finally, you don’t have to worry about where to put your extra layers once you get where you’re going.
17. When in Doubt, Try a French Tuck
For casual outings, weekend dinners and even Zoom office meetings, you can’t go wrong with an easy French tuck (i.e., slipping just the front of your top into the waist of your bottom and letting the back hang loose). This easy trick gives some shape to your figure without the struggle of trying to fit a chunky wool knit all the way into the waistband of your beloved skinny jeans.