9 Different Types of Turtlenecks

Stock up on your winter wardrobe essential without going out of style and get to know the different types of turtlenecks from the iconic Audrey Hepburn chic style to the lace turtleneck dress worn in fancy cocktail parties.

A Stylish Woman in a White Turtleneck

Turtlenecks go by several names – mock neck, polo neck, skivvy, and lots more. This well-fitted garment is a type of sweater that comes with a high rolled collar, covering some or most of your neck. The high collar can be folded or rolled up, according to the wearer’s comfort level.

Ever wondered when this type of sweater came about? The earliest form of turtleneck can be traced back to the 15th century during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The Royal members of England highly favored this style, which used to be more elaborate than the plain design we all are familiar with today. At that time, turtlenecks consisted of a heavily ruffled neckline. The size and volume of the ruffles were a representation of one’s status. The more ruffled the neckline, the wealthier the individual. It was also a terrific way to hide any vexing skin condition that may pop up on the neck.

Turtlenecks reigned supreme in the fashion world for many decades. In the late 1800s, they were a common favorite among the working class. Around the 1860s, English polo players introduced this fashionable garment into their sportswear. This gave rise to the British terminology “polo neck”, which they started to use to describe turtlenecks.

In the 1940s and 50s, turtlenecks became iconic as they were paired with skintight jeans or flapper jeans in everyday wear. Unlike embellished turtlenecks, the minimalist look of this garment was preferred. During that time period, this style also featured in many outfits; for example, a chic head-to-toe black dress boasted a turtleneck design, making it the perfect look for a cozy night out.

Turtlenecks convey fabulously chic vibes, which is why they are still so popular in today’s fashion world. Being a winter wardrobe essential, you should stock up on some cool turtlenecks. The best part is that there’s no shortage of turtleneck designs and styles in the market. Here are some of the popular types of turtlenecks that you can easily get for yourself.

1. The Classic Turtleneck

A Beautiful Woman in a Black Turtleneck Sweater

When in doubt, go for the classic turtleneck. This type of garment became worldwide famous when the mega Hollywood star Audrey Hepburn sported a chic black turtleneck with stylish skinny jeans in a movie. After that, this style graced many fashion magazines and runways ramps.

Generally, classic turtlenecks are body-fitted with a thin, slim neckline. They can be paired with a wide range of clothing pieces such as tights, jeans, and skirts. Over time, this versatile sweater has played a key role in elevating the fashion game. In cold winters, you can wear your favorite turtleneck underneath a dress. This can be the best look for a relaxed outing on a chilly winter day. To avoid looking bigger, it is a good idea to go for a thin turtleneck.

Classic turtlenecks are usually simple in style. To add an oomph factor, you can go for a dainty scarf as an accessory. Elevate your style by tying a lovely silk scarf around your turtleneck sweater. Another great combination with a turtleneck is a plaid or striped blazer. This is a great style option for any semi-formal or formal event. Don’t shy away from adding more layers to the outfit. A dress on top of your turtleneck or a thin shirt underneath it can totally raise your fashion game. Remember – the more, the merrier!

Team up your turtleneck with a chunky necklace or playful earrings for an avant-garde vibe. For a more casual and youthful appeal, opt for a cashmere turtleneck with trendy sneakers and a belt bag.

2. The Cowl Neck

A Woman Wearing a Gray Cowl Neck Sweater

Unlike the close-fitted turtleneck, a cowl neck sweater comes with a droopy, unstructured neckline. Generally, the neckline is chunky and big, which gives a laid-back, carefree look. Sometimes, these types of sweaters have drapes well below the collarbones. This kind of look is achieved when folds of fabric fall from the neck, giving your neckline an additional scarf-like appearance.

A cowl neck sweater can be chosen when you want a garment that speaks to you on a personal level. A cowl-neck style garment can make you appear ravishing, and the draped neckline can suit a wide range of body types. With the right adjustment, a cowl neckline can help add volume to a smaller chest.

To create an impressive look, you will need to style this type of turtleneck dress or sweater properly. First of all, keep in mind that a cowl neckline is voluminous, which is why it may overwhelm your figure. For a flattering fit, add a belt to your outfit. This will also accentuate your slim waist. A black belt always looks classy, but if you want to add a pop of color to your outfit, don’t hesitate to play around with different textured or colored belts. Avoid wearing statement necklaces with cowl necklines as it may make the look appear too over the top and may also not allow your bold, unique neckline to be the center of attention. Instead, consider accessorizing with hoop earrings.

To achieve a more balanced look, pairing the right shoes with your outfit is crucial. Usually, flats can make your top appear heavy. A better alternative is to go for a bolder pair of shoes such as boots or chunky heels.

3. The Funnel Turtleneck

A Model Posing in a Stylish Turtleneck Outfit

If you are not into turtlenecks literally reaching up to your ears, the funnel turtleneck is the most befitting choice for you. Also known as the mock turtleneck, this type of turtleneck ends about halfway up your neck.

Unlike classic turtlenecks, they do not reach the top of your neck. You can find them in various fabrics. For example, some come in thick, chunky textures such as merino wool while others are paper-thin, such as cashmere. Regardless of what texture you choose this sweater in, the mock neck gives off a super classy look.

There are many ways to pull off this classy funnel neck style. To start off, you can go for a simple mock neck sweater in a hue like black. Pair it with a crepe suede skirt for a more feminine appearance. Complete this sexy ensemble by wearing fashionable wedges or chunky heels.

For everyday wear, a mock turtleneck with your boyfriend jeans is the perfect combination. Tuck the sweater in and wear a leather belt to show off some style. Keep the outfit smooth and casual by opting for white sneakers.

If you want to be more playful and experimental with your style, a colorful layered outfit seems ideal. You can wear a bold-colored mock sweater on top of a chambray shirt. Make sure that you allow the collar and sleeves of the shirt to peek out from your sweater to create a layered look. Team this up with some colored jeans that complement your shirt, and finish off the look with your favorite sneakers!

You can also channel your inner crazy self by slipping on a bright yellow or orange funnel turtleneck. Pair it up with crop pants, and you are good to go.

4. Knit Turtlenecks

Two Different Toned Turtlenecks

Knit turtlenecks refer to a sweater knitted with wool. This kind of turtleneck is usually worn as a stand-alone piece, given how bulk and huge it usually is. Although you can find body-fitted knit turtlenecks, most fashion-forward people consider oversized knit turtlenecks with long, baggy sleeves.

Knit sweaters are ideal for the winter season as they keep the wearer warm and cozy. There are tons of styling options for this warming sweater. Throw a knitted turtleneck sweater over a long, button-down tunic or a knee-length skirt. Make sure that you choose it in colors that go well according to the frosty season. In fall, when the temperature isn’t too cold, you can consider a baggy knitted turtleneck and pair it up with blue shorts. You can also pair textured trousers with a creamy patterned knit – tuck the sweater in for a more refined look.

Knitted turtlenecks come in a wide range of sizes, colors, patterns, and textures. Keeping your fashion goal in mind, choose the garment wisely. For instance, if you are big on layering, it’s best to choose a light knitted turtleneck in a bold color and put a jacket, cardigan, or blazer on top. Complete this look with sleek pants, washed jeans, or black leggings.

5. Printed Turtleneck

An Influencer Wearing a Printed Turtleneck

We realize that wearing a plain, simple turtleneck tee or sweater can be pretty boring; especially for those people who may not be into simple outfits. Is there a way to make turtlenecks fun to wear? Of course, there is! But if you are into both funky and printed designs, then printed turtlenecks are the way to go.

You can commonly find turtlenecks in animal prints such as zebra or leopard print. The key to successfully pulling off this look is to keep the rest of your clothing minimal. For example, if you are wearing a leopard turtleneck top, your bottoms should be simple, preferably in a matching color like orange-brown or black. If you want to accentuate the outfit further, a single-toned matching blazer will be ideal.

Printed turtlenecks give you a variety of mixing-and-matching options. So, allow your creativity to come to life when dressing up in a printed turtleneck. Everyone lives for stripes, right? You can easily incorporate stripes into your turtleneck outfit. You can do so by simply wearing a striped turtleneck or a printed tee and wrap a striped scarf around your neck. You can also opt for a cute floral turtleneck and pair it up with leather jeans. This will let you achieve a pretty, girly, and sexy look in no time. If it’s freezing outside, you can throw on a matching leather jacket. The point is, you can alter your clothing according to your personal preference and weather demands.

6. Denim Turtleneck

Friends Wearing Denim Turtlenecks

Are you big on denim? If yes, then denim turtlenecks will please you more than you can imagine.

The most distinguishing quality of denim turtlenecks is its pleasant blue color. Turtlenecks usually come in typical colors like black, cream, white. That being said, they are also available in a pretty shade like blue. Get yourself a high-quality denim turtleneck, and you’re good to go.

Denim is a super strong and durable fabric. Unlike other textures, it does not snag or tear. What’s better is that it is breathable and can be ironed out at a high temperature without getting burned. While some turtlenecks may crease after a couple of hours, denim turtlenecks are meant to be worn for a longer time. Hence, you can expect the fabric to stay strong for an extensive amount of time. Owing to their heavy fabric, denim turtlenecks are best worn in winters. They will keep you cozy and make you appear stylish all at the same time!

Denim-on-denim is a fun way to make the most of your denim love. The downside is that it is slightly tricky to pull off this look. A small error can result in a big fashion faux pas! To ensure that you do not commit any fashion mistake, avoid picking your top and bottom in a similar shade. If you wear a lighter colored turtleneck, choose dark pants and vice versa.

With denim-on-denim style, your ensemble may be at the risk of looking bland. To add visual interest to your outfit, go for distressed denim jeans or shorts. For a distressed look, invest in faded bottoms. If these pants aren’t available in nearby shops, don’t worry, because you can create your very own distressed pants at home. All you have to do is mix 1 part of bleach with 1 part of water. Then brush the mixture over denim with a paintbrush. Let it dry overnight and wash the denim the next day. You can also make rips in your denim using a scissor. Doing so will help you get the distressed style that suits you best.

7. Cutout Turtlenecks

Stylish Woman in a Cutout Denim Turtleneck

Who said that turtlenecks can only be worn in winters? You can rock ever-so-trendy turtlenecks in summers as well! How so? By choosing cutout turtlenecks.

Cutout turtlenecks are designed specifically for summer wear, which means that you can find them in a thinner fabric. The main feature of these modish garments is their unique cutout designs. From a fringed cutout to a v-neck cutout, to a peek-a-boo cut out and plenty more, you can find this neckline in several designs. At the end of the day, it all comes down to the kind of style you want to sport.

Unlike wintry turtlenecks that aim to give a cozy and warm feeling, these types of necks will make you feel sexy and confident. You can always take this style a notch higher by pairing it up with appropriate accessories.

When dressing up for a fun night out with your gals pals, opt for high heels or ankle boots. If you are pairing your cutout turtleneck with a short skirt, bring the look together by wearing knee-length boots. Make this look more girly and stylish by putting on statement earrings and rings. To ensure that your cutout design is prominent, tie up your hair in a top-knot bun!

You will be surprised to discover that many turtleneck sweaters come with a sexy cutout, too. The most popular one is a fitted turtleneck sweater with cutout sleeves. This is the kind of garment that you can consider wearing in the fall season. Team it up with a pleated mini skirt and heels for a fun, sexy vibe. Be sure to tuck the sweater inside to define your thin waistline.

8. Lace Turtleneck Top/Dress

A Woman in a Lace Turtleneck Dress

Turtlenecks usually fall on the casual side of the clothing style spectrum. It is usually when you are going out for a casual lunch or get together, that you think of wearing a turtleneck. But what if we told you that turtlenecks can be worn to fancy events as well? Don’t believe us? Ladies, you can make an entrance to a cocktail party in a showy lace turtleneck. Just get a lovely turtleneck top or turtleneck dress, making sure that it is draped in lace.

A lace turtleneck is always a good option when you want to look pretty and elegant. It gives off dreamy and romantic vibes, and therefore, you can consider wearing such an outfit on your date night, or any special occasion for that matter. If you want the look to be slightly sexier, you can go for turtleneck shirts in sheer lace.

You can also wear lace as a layering piece. Go for a light-colored lace turtleneck in full sleeves, then slip on a dark-colored velvet jumpsuit on top of it. Not only will it be ultra-stylish, but cold weather appropriate, too. What could be better than that? Style and comfort in a single package!

While lace gives off a feminine vibe, you can bring down the girl-next-door appeal a bit by pairing it up with boyish blazers and suits. A fun example is layering a nude lace turtleneck under a tuxedo-styled blazer!

9. Pullover Turtleneck Sweater

A Woman in Turtleneck Pullover Busy Using a Phone

This is the kind of turtleneck you will love to wear every single winter day. While classic turtlenecks come with fitted a neck and bodice, pullover turtlenecks are slightly loose in structure. This makes them easier to pull upward, hence the name “pullover”.

Pullover turtlenecks usually feature in an oversized shape, providing the utmost comfort and warmth to the wearer. Although these preppy garments are available in plenty of designs and fabrics, the cool knit cashmere ones are considered the best of all. It is super simple to style this kind of turtleneck; go with skinny or boyfriend jeans or denim shorts for the perfect laidback look.


If we have to tell what we love the most about turtlenecks, it has to be (hands-down) their versatility. Besides being available in a wide array of designs, fabrics, and patterns, turtlenecks can be styled in endless ways. You can make them runway-worthy by dressing them as a single piece or incorporating them into different layers of clothing. Feel free to try out different garments with turtlenecks; you never know what may do the trick and achieve the look that you want!

Scroll to Top