How layer a thin turtleneck?

Some would say I am one year behind the trend. Others would appreciate my dedication to observing the evolution of a trend before rendering a complete advise guide.

The best part? By looking at the last fashion-week collection the trend is faaar to be over and I predict it a glorious career.

Of course, high necklines as a base layer of outfits is not a new thing.

Déjà-vu in Belle époque

And in the seventies

Maybe you already own one or several thin turtlenecks, chimney neck or high necks in your wardrobe?

Maybe you are considering purchasing one?

Here is how to make the best out of them by layering creatively.

I/ Which turtleneck to choose for layering?

A/ Shape

It does not matter if turtleneck, chimney neck or else as long as the collar is high.

The thinner and the tighter the turtleneck, the easier it will be to layer it.

Parallelly, the looser and the stiffer the outer layer, the bulkier you can go as a base.

For easier pairings, go for a plain simple shape.


To add some refinement around your face, dare trying more sophisticated collars.

Draped collars, ruffles, embellishments all is possible…

B/ Color

Black and white are the ultimate classics to maximize your pairing options.

Neutral colors like nudes (your shade of it), beige and cream are also top choices.

On the opposite, you could make your turtleneck the color pop of your outfit by going super bold (there is a niche neon trend going on at the moment).

Or add a hint of color more subtly with subdued and dark shades.

As the high neck frames your face, it needs to be complexion flattering.

C/ Fabric

Smooth and tights fabrics will be easier to layer.

If you want to be creative, why not opt for transparency, shine, lace, rhinestones…

D/ The clinging issue

Some fabrics will make the upper fabric “cling” to them, creating some unwanted folds and maybe (gasp!) creating the illusion of a fatter you.

I just tried to layer a Belle époque style lace high collar under a gangsta local T-shirt (yes, I own both, questions anyone?) BUT as fun was the style combination, the result was horrible as the soft cotton was clinging on the synthetic lace.

I switched for a deep V oversized thrifted cotton sweater and was much more convinced by the result.

My advice? Try and see for yourself.

The looser and the stiffer the outside fabric, the easier the layering.

If the turtleneck and/or the layer are gliding, you got it easy. The other day, I layered a silk shirt of a cotton necklace and the result was ultimate smoothness.

E/ Bodytype concerns

If you have a short or large neck, this trend won’t be the most flattering as it attracts the eye on this area.

Women with big breasts can get away with the turtleneck trend by layering.

II/ Turtleneck layering options

The turtleneck

A/ Colors and prints

a. Monochrome layering

Massimo Dutti

b. Neutrals layering

Notice how Olivia’s turtleneck picks up the color of her pants? Which is an excellent option but not the only one of course.

c. Statement over neutrals

How about pairing leopard with white like I do here?

d. Neutrals over statement


THE big trend of the moment has been seen everywhere on shows. You do not have to go as bold as neon yellow of course. A beautiful pink or saturated blue would do. Even subdued shaded as long as they are the color grabbing piece of your outfit.

e. Colors combinations

I must admit that I haven’t any picture to illustrate this.

But picture the usual color combinations. Neighbor colors, opposite colors, camaïeu, etc…

As I always recommend a shade shall be softer than the other… or both shall be soft. I am not too much into using saturated colors next to another.

  • Red turtleneck layered with baby pink
  • Lilac turtleneck under tangerine
  • Prairie green under navy blue

f. Print matching

Pick one color contained in the print for your base layer

B/ Shapes

a. Opened shirts

The most seen option lately. The opening of the shirt is up to you!

And an all neutral pairing that rocks

b. Closed shirts

This combination is giving me sexy priest vibes (love it).

Net-à-porter stylists added a pin for that extra revisited Belle époque vibe.

c. Crew neck sweaters

I haven’t found any pictures mes chéries, but you can picture it can you? Look at the T-shirt pairing below for visual crew neck/ high neck pairing.

d. V-neck sweaters

Sexy grandma meets grumpy grandpa.

Net-à-porter killing the styling game again.

Or cardigans

e. Dresses

There are all kinds of dresses out there.

I love the idea of combining high collars with a rather closed dress for a sexy Mormon vibe (turtleneck inspire me all kinds of unusual ways to be sexy as you can see).

Some like to use turtlenecks under delicate dresses… which usually I am not into because of the fabric clinging issue… But you can try it!

English fashion hero Victoria, wearing Victorian-inspired high collar for a queen’s proof outfit. And also look at this print matching skills!

f. Jumpsuits

Black base + cream layer +burgundy and gold accessorizing = perfect style

Ok, I am not 100% sure it is a jumpsuit but it’ LOOKS LIKE ONE OK?

f. T-shirts

Who knew Big Bang’s theory’s nerd Sheldon’s favorite combo could be stylish?

Unlike Sheldon, this beauty rocks the layered T-shirt’s style thanks to the accurate choice of an oversized model. Also sporting a perfectly matched metallic high neck under her Metallica print. Next post: words matching.

We are going to talk “I am a bombshell” and “Feminist” prints over there.

g. Jackets

The easiest and most natural layering: blazers, diverse jackets, etc…

Enables you to wear bulkier high necks as a base.

Here a short jacket over a turtleneck in shades of blue. 

Add a long coat and boom, you have a sophisticated third layer style.

h. Third layer

If, as a base, you have layered two thin items, there is nothing easier than adding an outside stiffer layer on top of them whilst leaving the two first ones visible. Here American perfection by Ralph Lauren <3.

III/ High necks and jewelry

A/ Earrings with turtlenecks

Earrings will contribute to framing your face whilst not interacting with the purity of the high collar.

B/ Necklaces with turtlenecks

Combining necklaces with turtleneck and clothes layers requires to have enough “spare” room available in the outfit.

She uses her plain white turtleneck as the canvas for her jewels.

For more complicated pairing, look at the Net-à-porter grandma/grandpa style above.

C/ Brooches with turtlenecks

Because there you have space! As long as the collar is stiff enough not to be pulled.

And for the Belle époque look, put the brooch/ pin on the stiff collar of a shirt rather than on the turtleneck itself.

Layering is risky…

But when well-done it can be hell of (conservative) sexy.

And you? Have you jumped into the turtleneck layering trend? What are your favorite layering moves?

12 Responses to “How layer a thin turtleneck?”
  1. Vivien says:

    I looooove turtlenecks! I recently got a nice eye-catching patterned one, and this article is just right in time! I was layering it in different ways, but still wasn’t fully convinced. Now I have more ideas, and layering is the best thing for me as I run very cold. Thank you for the nice inspiration!
    PS: You also encouraged me to go for the Belle epoque look. I adore it and even have a white lace highneck shirt (and have some others in varying degrees of lacyness and transparency) but didn’t try the look as I feared it would be a bit too bold for my everyday surrounding at work.

  2. Lise says:

    Thanks for the fabulous ideas! I love turtlenecks and wear them for nearly 5 months of the year because of the weather and wind here on the Black Sea. I am going to experiment more now.

  3. MABdePARIS says:

    Le col cheminée fait partie de mes essentiels car j’ai souvent froid au cou…
    Je le préfère au col roulé car il reste net et bien placé.
    J’en ai en laine, en soie épaisse et en coton. et pour les couleurs: des neutres et du vert émeraude, du bordeaux … Pour ceux en coton, je fais attention à ce qu’ils ne soient pas décolorés par les lessives, sinon je les passe à la teinture maison!
    j’ajouterai aux multiples combinaisons évoquées l’utilisation de gilets homme en soie type Hermes vintage dont les coloris subtils permettent de “lier” facilement ceux du col cheminée et la jupe/pantalon.

    • Aloïs Guinut says:

      Je retiens l’idée du gilet d’homme en superposition!
      D’ailleurs il me semblait avoir vu que ce dernier faisait un grand retour dans les défilés. Peut-être le sujet d’un futur article!
      J’en avais un super quand j’étais à la fac, mais je l’ai égaré (dégoutée)

  4. Gretchen says:

    I think this can work on the right person (not very large-busted me), but it’s also got to be physically comfortable, and I feel like I’m smothering in a turtleneck – unless I’m on the ski slope. Which reminds me, if I may put in a request, can you show how to style some of these graphic print t-shirts – the ones with a few words, vintage rock ‘n’ roll, a bold graphic? Merci.

    • Aloïs Guinut says:

      I understand this you are not the only one who needs to “breathe” around the neck.
      About the graphic Tee I wrote something about it in my book and also on my (ancient) T-shirt article.
      But may speak about it again!

  5. Teri says:

    Could you define/explain “sexy Mormon vibe”? Thank you

    • Aloïs Guinut says:

      I was not sure whether I shall do this joke or not, but basically mormon outfits are very covering and often feature wide long dress with high collars. So I felt like this trend chanelled this.
      It’s more of a joke than anything else 🙂

  6. Juhi says:

    I have been eyeing the trend of whisper- thin turtlenecks since some time now and finally took the plunge with a white one from Everlane.

    So far I have paired it with a bejeweled, thick vintage black sweater, a thrifted v-neck shaded wool sweater, and a (thin) black cardigan with sequin detailing. I thought it made them sharper, more graphic and more interesting overall. With blouses, I have not loved it as much, at least the ones I have.

    Regarding your comment about pairing two saturated colors, it was perfectly natural to do that in India. Over the years, my eye has adjusted (shifted?) as a reaction to living in the west or perhaps to reading your blog. Now I prefer my saturated colors softened with neutrals or muted shades, except perhaps in a traditional Indian outfit.

    • Aloïs Guinut says:

      I love traditional indian outfits colorings.
      But it’s true that, in western outfits, pairing two very loud colors together is less easy to do successfully.
      Although, like in everything, there is always a way. The other day at Dries Van Noten’s shop the very stylish salesperson was wearing an ultraviolet suit with a flashy orange camisole and it looked amazing!

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