Happy young woman wearing a yellow turtleneck
Dean Drobot/Shutterstock
Q: I know that turtlenecks make your chest (breasts) look bigger. What other positive or negative effects can a turtleneck have? Who should avoid wearing them? Would a buttoned blouse or shirt with the buttons buttoned up all the way to the top have the same effect as a turtleneck?
A: Turtlenecks are great, classic looks that can be very versatile, practical, and comfortable. Many people love wearing them, and the feeling of the collar around your neck is super cozy. Of course, a turtleneck can have drawbacks too, depending on who is wearing it.
A turtleneck can be very stylish, sophisticated, and sporty all at once and can be combined in many ways: with a blazer, cardigan, sweater, blouse, dress, etc. It is a great piece of clothing to pair with scarves and necklaces. This makes it a wonderful basic, a great layering piece, and once you experience the feeling of turtlenecks, you will love them even more.
Roll necks are not necessarily very warm to wear, because they come in different materials. Wool turtleneck tops are warm and wonderful for very cold weather. Cotton or acrylic versions are slightly less warm. Then you also have the less warm, but sometimes expensive, silk turtlenecks. And finally, the smooth and shiny turtlenecks in polyester or polyamide. The latter are fairly inexpensive to buy, feel quite refreshing on the skin, and are ideal for pairing with other garments.
As you mentioned yourself, a turtleneck makes your chest look bigger. For some, this is an advantage, and for others, this is a disadvantage. It can also have a slimming effect by creating a continuous line from the neck to the chin, which elongates the neck and makes the face appear slimmer.
Turtleneck paired with a shiny silk blouse
Turtlenecks draw attention to the face and hairstyle and can be very flattering for people with long necks, defined jawlines, and/or high cheekbones. However, if you have a short neck and/or a round face, you may want to be careful about wearing a turtleneck without a mitigating garment, such as a blazer or a partly unbuttoned blouse or shirt, to help counter the likelihood of the turtleneck making the neck appear non-existent.
If the blouse you have in mind for replacing your turtleneck is of the "Russian- or Mandarin-collared" variety, meaning that it has a high collar that is not turned down and has no tabs or buttoned-down points, then you would get the same benefits as a turtleneck. In fact, in many cases, such tops can be even more appealing to some people because they include button plackets that further enhance the vertical line focus.
The regular blouses or shirts with a pleated down collar will not quite have the same effect as a turtleneck because the collar is not high enough and does not usually fit tightly against the neck. But a blouse that is buttoned all the way up to the neck can look stunning! Remember the saying "Cute as a button"? That says a lot! The buttoned-up collar looks neat and preppy, but only slightly has the same effect as a turtleneck.
woman who is wearing a shiny blouse with a buttoned-up collar
A button-up blouse has advantages that a turtleneck does not have. Some people find turtlenecks too tight and claustrophobic around the neck. For them, a blouse buttoned all the way to the neck with a slightly loose, and therefore not too tight, collar is a better choice. You can still button up the collar, but it does not tighten around your neck, and you still look neatly dressed. When you get a little too hot or just feel like it, unbutton one or more buttons, pull the collar away from your neck, and enjoy the feeling of nice, fresh air.
Even if a turtleneck doesn't make you feel claustrophobic at all, a button-up blouse or shirt may be a better option. With a turtleneck, you're stuck with the collar around your neck until you get a chance to change. A button-down blouse allows you to wear the collar buttoned-up or loose according to the needs of the moment.
Why not alternate between turtlenecks and blouses with buttoned-up collars and enjoy the best of both worlds? They both have their own pros and cons, and alternating between the two may bring you the most pleasure.
See also:
The neckline language decoded
Style tips for small busts
How to make your hair look longer