March 20, 2019

"'For men, the black turtleneck did it all. This garment was supposed to indicate the kind of freedom from sartorial convention demanded by deep thought...'"

"'... or pure creation (usually poetic)—with overtones, always carried by masculine black clothes,' fashion historian Anne Hollander wrote in her book Seeing Through Clothes. In spite of its long history, a backlash to the turtleneck followed [Elizabeth] Holmes’s explosive downfall. Will we think back to Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs when we think of the black turtleneck? Or will seeing Jennifer Lawrence scamming millions in the look forever taint it? As Vanessa Friedman wrote in the New York Times: 'In the same way that Gordon Gekko’s suspenders and Michael Milken’s toupee became symbols of their greed, Ms. Holmes’s black turtleneck is starting to seem less a brilliant frame than a false front; a carefully calculated costume that fooled everyone into assuming she was more brilliant than she was; a symbol of hubris rather than success.'"

From "Why the Black Turtleneck Was So Important to Elizabeth Holmes's Image/It has a long and symbolic history" (Esquire).

ADDED: Here's the most memorable opinion about turtlenecks:

101 comments:

cubanbob said...

Personally I never found turtlenecks to be evocative of anything and for me uncomfortable.

Chris of Rights said...

I don't think of Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs when I think of black turtlenecks. I think of Steve Jobs as Steve Jobs when I think of black turtlenecks. And I also think that turtlenecks are uncomfortable and make my neck look weird, so I stopped wearing them once I became old enough to pick out my own clothes.

Phidippus said...

When I worked at a high-tech company in the city in the 2010's, I would often see these young guys wearing the uniform: black collarless shirt, black sportcoat, skinny black-rimmed eyeglasses, and shaved heads. I referred to them as "Bald Nerdlings".

It was always an effort to avoid staring or smirking when one of them stepped into the elevator.

Ficta said...

As far as I'm concerned, there's only one black turtleneck that matters.

AlbertAnonymous said...

Black Turtlenecks: Men can wear them and the patriarchical world sees them as empowered/strong/capable. Women wear them and the sexist pigs see them as scammers/fakers/incompetents. Embarrassing and downright insulting to wymmin.

Or maybe just one woman is seen that way. YMMV

roesch/voltaire said...

As I get older I still occasionally wear the one black turtleneck I own more to hide my aging neck, which indicates a rather superficial thought come to think of it.

rehajm said...

I get the Einstein/Jobs/Holmes idea of not having to decide on the wardrobe every morning. As Forrest Gump said, one less thing. It is problematic if you're using that free time to cheat on your wives or not remembering to go to the doctor to cure your cancer or to defraud investors, however.

Ann Althouse said...

@Ficta

Consider the album cover for Julie is her name, vol. 2.

Ann Althouse said...

I wear turtlenecks in winter solely because I wear wool sweaters and cannot tolerate wool touching my neck.

Mike said...

This reminds me of a recent favorite tweet:

'When I see the phrase “emerging scholar” I have a very specific image of a head slowly creeping up over a turtleneck.'

https://twitter.com/dora__zhang/status/1106217120197562370

SDaly said...

A person wearing a black turtleneck is saying 1 of 2 things:

1. I don't have dandruff; or

2. I don't care if everyone knows I have dandruff.

ndspinelli said...

Mitch Hedberg was one of my favorite comedians and I was more sad of his death than Belushi.They both died from the deadly heroin/cocaine cocktail.

Amadeus 48 said...

Julie is Her Name II— whew! Maybe even phwoar!

Re: the Theranos lady, you get famous faster if you always wear the same thing.

Darrell said...

I wear turtlenecks in winter solely because I wear wool sweaters and cannot tolerate wool touching my neck.

Sweaters always touch my neck when I wear a turtleneck. Do I need a different neck?

Ficta said...

That album is a year after Funny Face, but I don't know if it was a general fashion of the time or a direct influence (before my time). The turtleneck is presented as part of an " "intellectual" (not to mention "liberated") look in the big "existentialist" dance number in the movie, so, when I see that black turtleneck on a woman I usually assume some Audrey influence, it just carries so many connotations.

I was a little surprised when I discovered how good a singer Julie London is, since I erroneously suspected the album covers might be the whole point.

Danno said...

I think Esquire is posturing a fake conclusion based on a few limited examples. The techies seem to favor plain colored t-shirts over black turtlenecks based on the pics we see of the staff at Google and such other tech companies.

I am wearing a black turtleneck as I request this post.

rcocean said...

Black turtlenecks were a power play when I first started working. Everyone else was wearing dress shirt and ties. Wearing a turtleneck proclaimed you were a high exec who didn't have to follow the dress code. Frankly, I never liked them, too hot for inside work and I don't like things on my neck. Unless its 10 degrees below zero.

rcocean said...

Yeah, that's right. Audrey Hepburn had a turtleneck in "Funny face" - it was supposed to signify "Beatnik".

mikee said...

Sterling Archer claims credit for discivering the tactical turtleneck.

Hunter said...

These days, I mainly associate black turtlenecks with the Tactleneck.

Martin said...

Holmes was just trying to channel Steve Jobs; had Jobs worn Hawaiian shirts she would have worn Hawaiian shirts.

Thanks for the Mitch Hedburg clip--he was one of the best!

Ann Althouse said...

When I think of wearing the same thing every day, I think of Seth Brundle (who got it from Einstein):

Ronnie: Do you ever change your clothes?
Seth Brundle: What?
Ronnie: Your clothes. You're always wearing the same clothes.
Seth Brundle: No, these are clean. I change my clothes every day.
Ronnie: [looking in his closet] Five sets of exactly the same clothes?
Seth Brundle: Learned it from Einstein. This way I don't have to expend my thought on what I have to wear next, I just grab the next set on the rack.

Jeff Brokaw said...

Never been a big fan of wearing turtlenecks myself — I also hate that “something around my neck all damn day” feeling — but I do think some people look good in them, and if they are comfortable and like the look, go for it.

Yancey Ward said...

Can there be more than 0.00000001% of the public that actually gives a shit about this?

Sally327 said...

I've seen some old Columbo episodes on TV recently, from the 70s, and men in turtlenecks feature prominently, along with the flared pants and the belted jackets. It makes me nostalgic, seeing how men in particular dressed back then when I was in my salad days.

I haven't thought of women wearing turtlenecks as a symbol of intelligence or strength. It's more I guess that I think of Twiggy when I think of turtlenecks as symbolic of something, probably women with facial features that benefit from wearing something that fixes one's eye on the face right away. Plus it's cold weather garb to me. You don't see too many women in the south wearing turtlenecks very regularly I don't think.

Charlie Currie said...

In those couple of free years in the mid '60s, between high school and the draft, turtle necks were my thing. They were the transition uniform from beatnik to folk/Dylan/Byrds/rock to hippy.

William said...

Well, she truly was brilliant. Not so much at designing lab equipment but rather at scamming people out of their money. The scamming money business is much more competetitive than designing lab equipment. Proper respect should be given........Turtlenecks are comfortable outdoors, but then you're stuck with them when you come inside. So you waste precious time evaluating the risk/reward benefits on whether to wear them in a cold day. A scarf is the better solution to this conundrum.....I mostly wear jeans and a blue sweatshirt and have done so since birth. The darker sweatshirts don't show foodstains and are absorbent enough to serve as a napkin in a pinch.

gravityhurts said...

Wait, he said midget. That is thought crime, this video must be eliminated and all reference to it in history.

Mike said...

Holmes is a psychopath. She lied about what her company's tech could do, scammed super-high-profile people into joining her Board of Directors by continually citing metrics that in reality her tech failed to achieve. She affected the deep baritone voice to stand out, and then there's the turtlenecks. She did more than copy Jobs' style, she sought out the designer of his turtlenecks and had entire outfits made by him. All while flying around "promoting" fake technology. Theranos was a scam from start to finish and could never deliver, even after Walgreens (?) put up $150M to roll out "Theranos Centers" in their stores to test blood, which was weird. Because the pharmacy workers had to hire phlebotomists to draw vials -- not the "one drop_ Theranos advertised -- and then overnighted the vials to Palo Alto where Theranos employees would test the samples on banks of Siemens machines. Because their "proprietary" machines never worked.

The "uniform" probably helped her get away with this slightly longer than she would have dressed otherwise. She'll be in orange now, which I'm assured is the new black anyway.

tcrosse said...

The black turtleneck, with a goatee, a beret, sunglasses, and bongo drums were the stock beatnik costume. I knew people in my age cohort who would insist that they were beatniks, not hippies.

William said...

My labor saving device is binge worthy tv series. You can spend more time choosing what to watch next rather than actually watching a show. I take comfort when I can find an extended series that I can settle down with.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Hedburg was so great. Ahead of his time, too--he got addicted to heroin/opiates and died way before these modern day posers (like the 72,000 Americans who died that way last year).

Bob Boyd said...

Black turtle necks always remind me of Mike Meyers doing Dieter of Sprokets on SNL.
"Would you like to touch my monkey?"

Fernandistein said...

Learned it from Einstein.

Google image search on Einstein kinda says otherwise.

Fun fact: Levis released a tobacco-scented leather Einstein jacket, since that's one of the things and brands he wore.

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

They look good on an attractive, slender woman. Not everything has a deeper meaning.

traditionalguy said...

Turtlenecks of all colors emphasize the wearer's neck. Some women have a very beautiful neck that seems childlike. Some men have wrestler's neck and they find it hard to find their collar size.

But as for Julie London, no man ever notices her neck.

glenn said...

All those old guys who gave Elizabeth money were following the age old male plan. Give good looking young women something and you might get lucky. The tragedy is how easily she conned so many people who thought they were smart. Read John Carryou’s book “Bad Blood”.

Mac McConnell said...

Esquire ceased knowing anything about clothing decades ago. Esquire dry humps skinny jeans for men. Esquire doesn't know the difference between a real turtle neck worn by Holmes and the mock turtle necks worn by Jobs and Kutcher. One has class, the other is fake.

glenn said...

All those old guys who gave Elizabeth money were following the age old male plan. Give good looking young women something and you might get lucky. The tragedy is how easily she conned so many people who thought they were smart. Read John Carryou’s book “Bad Blood”.

tim maguire said...

Interesting the way the author moves between fictional characters and real people without any apparent awareness of what she is doing. Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs? How about Steve Jobs as Steve Jobs?

When I think of black turtlenecks, I think of Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) in Christmas Vacation.

narciso said...

Or carl sagan, who was part of the ttaps nuclear winter fraud, as the later mr tretyakov of the fsb noted,

Mac McConnell said...

The Professor,

"When I think of wearing the same thing every day, I think of Seth Brundle (who got it from Einstein):"

When I thing of wearing the same thing every day, I think of IBM workers of the past, gray suits, white shirts, navy ties, black shoes. Suits actually simplify a man's wardrobe.
I also think of prep schoolers in blazers, school ties.

Today though everyone wants to look like refugees.

Darrell said...

Some of my favorite memories of women in turtlenecks are pokies. I can't figure our why.

Birches said...

Never worn a turtleneck. I always figured it would make my round face look fat.

Bad Blood is a fantastic book.

Kevin said...

I never paid any attention to this story, but she's super cute so my level of interest just went way up. And you can't say that isn't relevant because the entire story is about her appearance.

Amexpat said...

Black or gray turtlenecks used to be in my wardrobe. They were good for occasions where a sports jacket was needed. Preferred them to a shirt and tie. Also good in the winter for extra warmth.

My main beef with the turtleneck is that the neck portion loosens up and gets floppy after use (from the stretching that occurs when your head goes through the turtleneck when you put them on). That bothered me more than having them cling to my neck.

tcrosse said...

Carmen Ghia, Roger De Bris' servant in The Producers.

Curious George said...

I found that turtlenecks were uncomfortable, especially if you were not clean shaven.

Curious George said...

"But as for Julie London, no man ever notices her neck."

Not even Titus.

tits

Christy said...

Althouse, I wear wool sweaters and cannot tolerate wool touching my neck. If you iron wool that touches the flesh, it relaxes the fibers. Soft instead of scratchy.

A more accurate account of As Vanessa Friedman wrote in the New York Times: 'In the same way that Gordon Gekko’s suspenders and Michael Milken’s toupee became symbols of their greed, Ms. Holmes’s black turtleneck.... would be For us option leaders at the Times 'In the same way that Gordon Gekko’s suspenders ....

readering said...

I thought Holmes was trying to channel Young Audrey Hepburn. But I never heard her speak.

Big Mike said...

Holmes thought she could imitate Steve Jobs by dressing as he did — right down to imitating the famous “Steve Jobs reality distortion field.” But Jobs could get people to believe that they could accomplish unreal goals and then they accomplished those goals!. Holmes seemed to think she could get people to ignore the laws of physics, and it just didn’t work. I don’t know what the California equivalent of the Texas saying “all hat, no cattle,” but Holmes was certainly it.

Geoff Matthews said...

Turtle necks rub against my neck stubble too much, so they're out.

And glad to see that other people noted the Archer Sterling connection.

Dave Begley said...

No, the money did it.

If her machine worked, it would have totally disrupted and transformed a giant industry. Big money. First mover advantage. Patent moat. Think Tesla but on a smaller scale.

Jeff Hall said...

Our vibrant free press was too lazy to question or even mention her physically improbable claims when they threatened the health of her customers or the profits of people who invested in her business. But, by golly, at least now they're resolved to follow the sartorial aspects of her life wherever they lead.

narciso said...

here's a question, what happened to the people who relied on Elizabeth holmes testing regime?

RNB said...

For people who work in the fashion business, everything is about fashion. For normal people, not so much.

(It may be useful to substitute any political or social obsession for 'fashion' in the above statement.)

Rick said...

The entire episode shows how image (meaning the lack of substance) dominates the industry especially now that there is no underlying performance requirement. Facebook (et al) attracts customers with image so why shouldn't that be the companies' top priority as well. Trade media suffers from the same thing but typically the more distant the connection the less mass media is effected. Until it resonates with SJW desires of course, then they're just fangirls.


"As Areola explained"

They talk? I think I've missed out on something important here.

Char Char Binks said...

There was Steve McQueen in Bullitt, but that sweater was navy, not black.

Sam L. said...

I've worn turtlenecks, but no black ones. That was roughly 40 years ago.

Anthony said...

I went through a turtleneck phase for a few years, preferring the black. That was well before I ever noticed Jobs wearing it. I wore them mainly to keep my neck warm during the winter, but they also look good with a pair of decent jeans for work (when you can be somewhat casual).

I don't think I accorded any sort of "look" to them although I did suggest to a friend that it was my "English Lit Professor" look. Actually, slap a gray tweed jacket with it and it's a very classic look, IMO. I wore that ensemble to my father's funeral and, seeing photos from then (2005), I still think it worked well for that occasion.

Perhaps not in the same pantheon as a white button-down Oxford shirt (with button-down collars, natch), but I think it can be a fairly timeless look, when not overdone.

Ralph L said...

No one so much as mentioned foreskins.

They laughed at that comedian, but I can't wear crew neck Tee shirts or sweaters. Button dress shirts are OK, because the pressure is further up my neck. This winter, I have had to leave 2 buttons undone with my flannel shirts.

Henry said...

The grey crew neck sweatshirt is the new black turtleneck.

Henry said...

How about the black turtleneck with cowl?

mccullough said...

A turtleneck is just an uncircumcised sweater

Infinite Monkeys said...

mikee said...
Sterling Archer claims credit for discivering the tactical turtleneck.

3/20/19, 10:09 AM


The tacticalneck in black or in slightly darker black.

Tomcc said...

I'm not a student of fashion, but my personal opinion is that a dark turtleneck on an attractive woman is understated elegance. I watched a 20/20 episode on Theranos a couple of nights ago. Several weeks ago, I also watched (on my daughter's urging) the Netflix documentary on the Fyre Festival. The parallels were very interesting. Some people just can't bring themselves to admit that their brilliant ideas are not at all practical. All the while, their underlings are working like mad until the SHTF.

Megaera said...

Guess I'm the only one who remembers Seiji Ozawa, who affected The Look (possibly stolen from Leonard Bernstein in his later years) to demonstrate what a tradition-breaker he was.

Henry said...

Seth Brundle: Learned it from Einstein. This way I don't have to expend my thought on what I have to wear next, I just grab the next set on the rack.

My mom claimed that if she didn't move the suits around in my dad's closet he would have worn the same one every day.

Jim at said...

You couldn't pay me to wear a turtleneck. Of any color.

DKWalser said...

In the late 1990's I was with Arthur Andersen and was told we were changing our dress standards. Now, we were no longer supposed to wear suits and ties. In, for partners, were sport coats and turtlenecks. I had to go out and buy a bunch of turtlenecks and sport coats. I really think that was the beginning of the end for the firm.

Robert Cook said...

"The black turtleneck, with a goatee, a beret, sunglasses, and bongo drums were the stock beatnik costume. I knew people in my age cohort who would insist that they were beatniks, not hippies."

People claiming themselves to be "beatniks" were advertising what obtuse poseurs they were: the term that was used was "beat," or "beats," as in "the beat culture," "the beats," "well-known beat poet Allen Ginsburg," etc. The term came from Jack Kerouac, who claimed it meant "beatific." Others associated with the beats claimed it meant existentially weary and beat-down from the horrors of life. Kerouac later said he got the term from Times Square junkie, hustler, and low-life Herbert Huncke, who used the term, a bit of street slang, basically meaning down-and-out.

Most of the writers to whom the term was applied rejected it, (just as many of the bands instrumental in the development of what came to be called "punk rock" rejected the term "punk" as having little or nothing to do with them. Several said the earlier term, "New York Underground rock" was more fitting).

"Beat-nik" was the mainstream culture's somewhat mocking take on the beatniks, (think Maynard G. Krebs, a brilliant comic creation). The "nik" derived from "Sputnik" and the term was invented by newspaper columnist Herb Caen.

Jon Burack said...

"a carefully calculated costume that fooled everyone"

Not everyone. Perhaps those were fooled who now write about and read about how everyone was fooled. My nephew is a doctor. LONG before this travesty even began to unravel, while "everyone" the New York Times knows was falling all over themselves about fashion and black turtlenecks and a supposedly FEMALE Steve Jobs, he stated forcefully his view that the entire thing was a total fraud. He has been basking of late in accolades within my family anyway for seeing through this b.s. from the start.

The Vault Dweller said...

Black Turtlenecks always conjure an image to me of snooty artsy Germans. Something like SNL's Sprockets. I imagine the wearer with glasses, slicked back hair, and both ends of their digestive tract tightly pursed. It feels like someone trying to be avant garde, but just being odd.

Jim Howard said...

In the U.S. Air Force every flying squadron has an associated color. You usually can see the squadron color as a stripe on the vertical tail of the airplane.


Pretty much all USAF fighter crews everywhere wore scarfs with the color and often logos of our squadrons under their flight suits. I think this is still the case, it's a throwback to the silk scarfs wore in WWI.

When I flew fighters for the USAF, many of the American squadrons in Europe substituted turtle neck T-shirts (yes these exist) for scarfs in the color of our Squadron in the winter. I don't this is common any more, but it was nice on a cold day.

My squadron scarf:

http://f-111.net/patches/scarves/42ndECS.jpg





JohnAnnArbor said...

Carl Sagan was who I thought of first, too. He thought that the 1991 Kuwait oil fires would create a mini-nuclear winter downwind. To his credit, he admitted his prediction was wrong.

madAsHell said...

Levis released a tobacco-scented leather Einstein jacket

Just think of all the Einsteins that would cough-up $1,200 for a tobacco-scented jacket.

Maybe that's all that remains after being rejected from Mensa.

Patrick said...

I have found that a duck's opinion of me is influenced by whether I have bread.

William Chadwick said...

I love turtlenecks, especially black turtlenecks. They say, "F*ck you, Yuppie scum."

James K said...

The tragedy is how easily she conned so many people who thought they were smart.

But turtleneck or no, how did she think she was ultimately going to get away with it? I suppose as with any Ponzi scheme, there's a tiny chance the bets will pay off big and enable the schemer to pay off the investors. In this case, maybe she thought the problems with the technology could be solved before the whole thing collapsed. That doesn't absolve her for fraud, but maybe it makes her not completely insane.

bagoh20 said...

I think of that Seth Brundlefly scene nearly every day as I'm getting dressed. My ideal outfit for work or play would be a navy blue pleated skirt and a dark T-shirt - same thing everyday, and of course a fanny pack. I recently got the perfect haircut - the mullet, and I've gone to these shoes as an even better solution to tying laces than the velcro type. I hate tying shoes.

https://www.gravitydefyer.com/Mens-G-Defy-Aurora-Athletic-Shoes

If you suffer from Plantar fasciitis, these shoes cured my two year long suffering in about a week. It never came back and they are all I wear now. I have multiple pairs. New ones for dress up, and old ones for work. They also make you about an inch taller.

Sigivald said...

"a carefully calculated costume that fooled everyone into assuming she was more brilliant than she was"

They wanted to be fooled.

Lots and lots of people were skeptical of her claims from the start.

Rick Turley said...

I am stunned we are this far into the thread and no one appears to have mentioned "dickies" which were definitely a thing back in the day. For an example:

https://clothesonfilm.com/style-icon-of-the-season-cousin-eddie-in-christmas-vacation/



Ralph L said...

Where's mockturtle to talk about mock turtlenecks?

Phidippus said...

Megaera @12:52 PM: I am one. In fact I remember him wearing one with love beads on one of his PBS BSO concerts.

I had abandoned such attire many years before, and felt embarrassed for him. But, he's Japanese, so one must make allowances.

Regarding The Vault Dweller @1:17 PM, as I said earlier, try being in a slow elevator with those types and trying to maintain businesslike decorum. I am still recovering from the trauma.

[shudder] Time for another beer.

Phidippus said...

OK, Ralph L wins.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

I am interested in why she dyes her hair blond. It's part of her look and her shtick but it looks so fake and cheap. Taking good care of the brown hair that most childhood blond hair turns into looks dignified and classy. Looking at Google Images pictures of her, I notice the puffy, dry bleached hair way more than I notice the black turtlenecks.

FullMoon said...

She was a criminal genius. You have to admire that.
Not familiar with the details at all.
Was there any way she could have explained her way out of it, leaving everyone disappointed but still ignorant of being scammed?

reader said...

Black turtlenecks mean Mervyn’s to me because that’s where I bought them. They were affordable, I could were them to work, and they looked great with chunky stone jewelry (it was a thing in the 90’s).

Sheridan said...

In 1966 at the age of 48, my outwardly straight-laced dad started wearing black turtlenecks (with dark blue blazers)when he started going to jazz clubs in SoCal. His favorite haunt was Donte's jazz club in North Hollywood. All three of us kids were shocked! But not our mom. Turns out that she had also started walking a different path as she'd secretly written a number of jazz songs that were arranged and recorded by a Norwegian jazz singer who remains close to the family to this day. Dad's turtlenecks and mom's music were physical reminders that through desire, persistence and strength of will the socio-cultural inertia that seemingly controls the lives of people can be overcome. The gyroscopes can be reprogrammed. So black turtlenecks remain a happy memory for me and my siblings.

Aunty Trump said...

You have to have the jawline for one or you end up looking like an actual turtle.

Aunty Trump said...

Do you think that she believed that it could be done? Jobs was grounded in the technology, if not limited by its current state.

Tomcc said...

One's choice of clothing can convey a variety of things: gravitas, sensuality, elegance, slovenliness (see also: hungover-ness), etc. I don't see how one's choice of clothing can make you any more (or less) a grifter.

Tomcc said...

Fullmoon asked: "Was there any way she could have explained her way out of it, leaving everyone disappointed but still ignorant of being scammed?"
I wonder about that, too. If you tell your investors "we CAN do this" and come back in a year and tell them "hey, we tried and failed, sorry" as opposed to "we're THIS close...more money please!" I'm certainly not a securities lawyer, but people (VC's) lose money on investments that don't pan out on a regular basis. It's not always fraud.

Bruce Hayden said...

My partner likes wearing turtlenecks, because she claims that they show off her long patrician neck. Whatever floats her boat is fine with me. Sure she is right, but am not the least bit surprised, since she modeled her way through college. Actually got her in a ball cap for the first time in my memory last week, because her grandsons had bought us matching hats. She had to show us how to professionally wear such a hat (she modeled a lot of them back 40 years ago) - apparently they have to be at a jaunty angle, or some such. Maybe works for gals, but not going to get me to do so - it looks idiotic on guys. And, yes, she got me to try it out for the grandsons who bought us the hats. She really doesn’t like three things that they really loved her modeling (turtlenecks, hats, and gloves), because they constrict her. But she does wear turtlenecks on occasion for the same reason that Ann does - protection from woo sweaters.

Back in high school, growing up in the outer western suburbs of Denver, wearing a turtleneck meant that you were a skier. One girl, in particular, almost always wore a white one. Years later I realized that she was the daughter of one of the most famous skiers in the country during the late 1930s and up through the 1940s. A couple years ago I was clearing out a lot of my ski stuff from the family condo (that my next brother ended up buying) and found maybe a dozen turtlenecks. Probably a majority were white, but had several black ones for when I did volunteer ski patrol work for a ski area maybe a decade and a half ago. The official uniform was all black, except for a jacket in a color indicating job function. Most went to the local thrift store, but kept a couple blacks, a couple whites, and a gray.

Oh, and I wouldn’t be caught dead in the turtleneck and sport coat look. Nice ski sweater, sure. But not sport coat. Always thought that was idiotic. My fTher did it some, but that was from before wearing sport coats and colored shitys without ties had become acceptable.

Bruce Hayden said...

“When I worked at a high-tech company in the city in the 2010's, I would often see these young guys wearing the uniform: black collarless shirt, black sportcoat, skinny black-rimmed eyeglasses, and shaved heads. I referred to them as "Bald Nerdlings".”

So, maybe 20 years ago, I worked for a large semiconductor company as a patent attorney. I was in charge of the IP side of an alliance we had with Apple and IBM. Three way meetings were always interesting. The Apple people would all show up in their collarless shirts and darker slacks. IBM had recently moved to casual dress, which meant that they showed up in either polo or button down shirts and kackis, their new non-uniform uniform. And we would show up in navy pin striped suits. You didn’t need a name tag to know which team each and every participant played on.

daskol said...

I was way too young to see The Fly when I did, but that closet scene is the only one I would recall without horror for years afterwards. Great chemistry. The GAP made the mockneck a big deal, probably inspired by Jobs--had them in multiple colors and even stripey ones--for most of 7th and 8th grade it was all I wore. If you think turtlenecks get stretched out, mocknecks are even worse, but I loved just having to choose which color I was going to wear.

Big Mike said...

Carl Sagan was who I thought of first, too. He thought that the 1991 Kuwait oil fires would create a mini-nuclear winter downwind. To his credit, he admitted his prediction was wrong.

Well he sure had no future as a climate scientist! “We were wrong” is not in their vocabulary.

Be said...

Turtlenecks were a Preppie Thing during my formative years. I hated them: Essentially, the shirt was a choker over a boob bag for me.

Nowadays, find a lot of them in thrift shops. Since I'm a fairly competent seamstress, have no problem disengaging the neckpiece from the rest of the shirt, then cutting out and hemming a vee or boatneck. Sounds silly, maybe, but they fit better.

Mme Ann: I understand the scratchy sweater business. Alpaca is a good alternative to wool for allergic or sensitive people.

glenn said...

I have a Blakey’s turtleneck but I only wear it when I have to associate with a bunch of pretentious yuppie a*****les

Phil 3:14 said...

The Professor said...
“I wear turtlenecks in winter solely because I wear wool sweaters and cannot tolerate wool touching my neck.”

Ditto that. My growing up ski wear

The first time I saw a mock turtleneck I thought “What the...!”

I’ve learned that a turtleneck worn by a thick waisted man with a cover garment (shirt or sweater) is not a flattering look.