Roll With It


I always prefer dressing in winter. From an aesthetic point of view, greater variation can be achieved in the colder months – layering, scarves, colour contrasts or matching. And from a comfort point of view, I consider it easier to be happier in winter time. Summer can be so sweltering that elegance is nigh on impossible and the experience of moving around a sticky city can be unbearably unpleasant. In winter, though it is certainly cold and the wind doth certainly blow, if you dress properly you will be happy. A sensible weight of suit, sensible overcoat, and accessories like scarves, hats and gloves can be the difference between an unpleasantly shivery state and a sense of warm satisfaction.

I like simple things in winter. I am far more easily pleased in the chilly months; deliriously happy for the warm punch, the wool blanket and the slippers on my feet. I also love simple knitwear at this time of year. On especially cold days, I have the urge to hang all the little strips of silk and my cotton shirts and wander around in a gorgeously warm shawl collar jumper. The only problem with such a choice is that it is assuredly casual. What is needed is something between elegance and cosy comfort. Something that allows you to be deliciously warm whilst conveying a taste for sophistication.

The roll neck, or turtle neck, can be one of the most comfortable, and comforting, items of menswear. When the cold breezes blow, the idea of wandering out exposing a freshly shaven neck makes one chill in anticipation. A favourite suit hangs in the wardrobe, begging to be worn, but the unprotective tie and shirt lying on the bed make the gentleman reconsider; “I need to be warm today” he will say, thinking over his attire. Opening up a drawer, the sight of a friendly turtle neck jumper conjures a broad smile. He dons the jumper, and the suit, and finishes the look off with a pocket square and some monkstraps.

So, cometh the unfriendly day, cometh the friendly turtle neck, and preferably in cashmere. The most important consideration for such a garment is how it will look underneath a suit. The tendency for gentlemen is to purchase larger items of knitwear with fuller arms and a casual, baggy roll to the chest. Unfortunately, that is precisely the wrong kind of fit for a turtle neck that can be worn under a slender and well-fitted suit. The arms need to be as slender as possible, the chest as fitted as possible and the length needs to be great enough for a little trouser-tucking and no more. The jumper can be of any colour of your choosing, charcoal grey suits particularly match a great range, but the jumper must be non-textured and slim-fitting otherwise you’ll look like Joey from ‘Friends.’


  1. Derrik Ollar said:

    My favorite casual weekend outfit in winter includes a cotton turtle neck under a beautiful Pendleton wool shirt. My favorite brand for cotton turtle necks is Lands End as they have figured out how to make them without a seam in the neck.

    November 28, 2009
  2. Náuticos Blancos said:

    Here in south Spain, we’ve been in “summer” until half of November. At last cold wether has come.
    As you, cold months are my favourite. Last week I wore a plain grey wool suit over a black cotton turtle neck jumper.

    November 29, 2009
  3. Barima said:

    For me, it was a Tonik-esque light grey DB suit over a dark grey merino wool rollneck. I’m getting a significant amount of wear out of it. The next one will be cashmere and either beige or light blue. Personally, the ideal should be to sport it in a mod fashion, unless one is particularly creative

    November 29, 2009
  4. Hilton said:

    The challenge has been to find a turtle neck that is both comfortable and doesn’t irritate my neck. Additionally, quite often I feel too warm indoors while wearing a jumper. Are we in agreement that ideally all our sweaters would be made of cashmere? Kind regards.

    November 29, 2009
  5. Patrick said:

    Definitely one of the harder looks to pull off, best suited to slender builds, long necks, and long faces. Otherwise you risk looking like a bobble-head.

    November 30, 2009

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