How To Wear A Turtleneck With A Suit: 19 Elegant Outfits For Men
The turtleneck has replaced the shirt and tie in many modern offices. Here’s the right way to combine one with your two-piece.
They say change happens very slowly then all at once. Maybe the same can be said for the shirt and tie right now? Even in the City, that domain of everyday formality, open collars have become not just accepted, but the status quo in many cases.
One beneficiary of the loosening of long-attested sartorial rules is the roll neck sweater, which has become an essential piece of kit in the city and elsewhere, particularly in the fall and winter months.
Undeniable masculinity combined with a beautiful textural finish, the addition of the turtleneck seamlessly dresses down the formality of the suit without taking away from its sharpness. But as with any new look, there are guidelines to adhere to if you want to get the most out of the aesthetic.
So scroll down to discover all the tips and tricks you need to integrate the turtleneck into your suiting arsenal.
When should you ditch the shirt and tie?
It’s not that you have to ditch the shirt and tie per se. We’re still big fans of the shirt and tie with a suit, but sometimes an occasion can call for a little more personal expression and individuality, which is where the turtleneck comes in.
Some office environments are perfect for a roll neck – creative roles that are a bit dressy (we’re looking at you architects) – while smart off-duty looks for evenings at fine restaurants or stylish bars are the perfect canvas for a turtleneck.
If you know you’re going to go for after-work drinks on a Friday, for example, the roll neck makes for a great accomplice. It also works really well with separates, too, taking the formality down yet another notch.
The best suits to wear with a turtleneck
There really isn’t a bad suit to wear with a turtleneck sweater. Even the most formal, fully canvassed double-breasted styles with strong shoulders can be excellent foils for a turtleneck, but by and large you’re safest option is to go for a slim (but not tight, since the wool jumper will add bulk to your torso) modern silhouette in a single-breasted, one-button style.
This will provide you with ample versatility when it comes to styling. Double-breasted jackets can also work really well, providing a much more subtle display of the sweater when buttoned up.
There isn’t a suit fabric that will reject the turtleneck either. Flannel suits, which have a soft and slightly fuzzy nap, can complement the texture of the turtleneck really well, whereas both glossy and matte finish merino yarns are also excellent in their ability to create a textural contrast with your knitwear.
When it comes to colour, you can go one of two ways: either choose a turtleneck colour in a similar tone (i.e charcoal suit with light grey sweater), or use the turtleneck as a device to add a contrast hue (such as a navy blue suit with a mustard yellow design).
Patterned suits such as checks and pinstripes can work as well, since you can match the turtleneck with the tone of the stripe, or one of the base hues in the check.
The right turtleneck to wear with a suit
The single most important factor when it comes to choosing a turtleneck is the weight of the wool. It has to fit beneath a blazer remember, so any excessive bulk is going to be uncomfortable and will make you ridiculously hot.
Fine-gauge yarns are imperative, which is why high quality merino or cashmere knits are the best option. They are both excellent natural fibres for temperature regulation, too, which is vital when you consider that much of your neck is going to be wrapped up in it.
Plain, smooth weaves will best complement the fabric of your suit, so try to avoid ribbed styles which can sometimes come across as sporty and casual.
19 modern suit with a turtleneck outfits
Navy double-breasted suit with a navy turtleneck
Navy on navy can sometimes appear a bit flat without some additional tonal blue elements in the mix, but this ensemble is proof that opting for a monochromatic setup can work.
The key is in the minimalist lines of the double-breasted silhouette, which gives the look a thoroughly modern taste of quiet luxury.
Green double-breasted corduroy suit with a black turtleneck
The black turtleneck is a versatile garment to own, since it will complement any and every grey suit, but it really adds gravitas to rich hues of green and brown.
Introduce on-trend corduroy however and you create a tactile look that completely elevates the outfit in a way that a shirt and tie could never do.
Blue drawstring suit with a navy turtleneck
The range of the suit has increased over the last few years, with the likes of Brunello Cucinelli and Ermenegildo Zegna redefining the traditional shape in a more relaxed manner, with drawstring trousers and innovative fabrics. All of which makes the turtleneck sweater even more relevant as menswear leans into a dressed-down aesthetic.
There’s nothing complicated about this look – tonal simplicity with a soft contemporary edge makes it a winner for business-casual and creative offices alike.
Cream suit with an off-white turtleneck
Do we really need to explain this one? Rich cream hues. Off-white turtleneck. Tonal check coat. Buttons and shoes delivering some dark brown deliciousness.
This is money.
Light grey check suit with a black turtleneck
Any time you wear a light-tone suit such as this chalky grey number, it’s always a good idea to go with a contrast turtleneck, in this case black.
The double-breasted cut makes that sliver of black knitwear even more striking, complemented by the black suede Belgian loafers.
Navy shawl lapel suit with a burgundy turtleneck
Think formal menswear is outside the parameters of the turtleneck sweater? Think again. The rules of black tie are being redefined at the moment (just look at the creations being worn on red carpets if you’re in doubt), and so this aubergine turtleneck is a really good rule-bender combined with this midnight navy tuxedo.
Brown flannel suit with a brown turtleneck
Simplicity in menswear is often the quickest route to compliments, as evidenced by this raucously brown ensemble.
A beautiful chocolate brown check suit is matched like for like with the turtleneck, which enables the stunning pocket square to speak volumes.
Navy windowpane check suit with a grey turtleneck
Here’s a prime example of how to neatly combine pattern with the turtleneck, by adopting the colour of the check – in this case a chalky grey – into the sweater.
That the suit is cut in a rich navy flannel gives the look some additional textural depth.
Charcoal suit with a black turtleneck
You’re looking at the new business casual. One nicely fitted charcoal flannel suit with a classic black turtleneck as its dance partner, bookended by a pair of black boots.
There isn’t a guy this trio doesn’t suit.
Light stone suit with a black turtleneck
We love using the black turtleneck with light-toned suits, especially in cream, beige, and off-white tones.
The contrast created here is striking and stark without looking too harsh, and is pulled together by the black leather Chelsea boots.
Navy suit with a grey turtleneck
If you’ve ever looked at your navy suits and thought they’re anodyne, it’s probably not the suit that’s leaving you uninspired but rather the shirt and tie options.
A simple fix is to introduce a grey turtleneck into the equation for an instant refresh with hardly any extra brain power deployed.
Mid blue suit with a navy turtleneck
Mixing up a palette of blues is one of the easiest styling tricks that more men need to employ. The tones can be masculine and playful all at once, and can be integrated into so many of your other wardrobe looks.
We love the coordination of the turtleneck, bag, belt and sneakers here – criminally simple and yet so effective.
Light grey suit with a brown turtleneck
More often than not, you’d be better served using a stronger contrasting tone in your turtleneck when wearing a light grey suit, but this example is proof that combining soft neutral tones can work if there’s some cohesion elsewhere. In this case, it comes courtesy of the tan suede loafers.
A brown leather watch strap and chocolate brown suede belt would be the cherries on the cake.
Black suit with a black turtleneck
For evening events or nights out at smart establishments, opting for a dark and seductive palette is always a good idea.
For one, it does wonders for your physique, and for want of a better phrase, just looks expensive, giving you instant gravitas.
Note the mock turtleneck here, making for a sleeker neckline to complement the slim nature of the tailoring.
Grey double-breasted suit with a cream cable-knit turtleneck
Ordinarily, we’d recommend anyone new to pairing a suit with a turtleneck to avoid knitted patterns, but if you’re already comfortable with the pairing, then experimenting with a cable-knit sweater can pay dividends.
It still needs to be fine gauge and lightweight, but the cables definitely add a tactile dimension to the look, complemented by the matching pocket square.
Black tuxedo with a black turtleneck
There are some eveningwear occasions when a dress shirt and bow tie just seem either too formal or too generic. On such nights, rock a black or navy turtleneck.
It’s especially effective with jackets with silk grosgrain lapels, since the sweater’s textural contrast gives the outfit more depth.
Charcoal cropped suit with a dark grey turtleneck
We’ve already spoken about the merits of combining a grey turtleneck with a navy suit. This suit is a more contemporary style thanks to the crop in the trousers and the pleats adding to the relaxed vibe.
A shirt and tie would almost look out of place with such a modern silhouette, but the turtleneck keeps it current.
Brown suit with a navy turtleneck
If anyone ever tells you that pairing a turtleneck with a suit is not smart, either stop listening or point them in the direction of exhibit A here: an immaculate brown suit made all the more majestic with the addition of a navy turtleneck sweater.
Cord suit with an olive green turtleneck
While the earthy tones of the green and beige are perfectly complementary, it’s the texture of this corduroy two-piece which really brings out the nuances in the green tone.
The suit is casually cut, and the neutral hue could definitely carry a bolder turtleneck, but the green is a good call for fall looks.