You probably noticed, in numerous occasions, the fact that the simplest clothing items are also the most frequently worn, the most practical, and the most sought after, the dearest: white T-shirts, denim shirts, a certain pair of jeans, a decent pair of black thighs, a simple overlapped dress… We are not going to insist on these items, they are not the one that could create an “impact”, but there are high chances that if we were to talk about getting stranded on a deserted island, to choose precisely these items. I believe that high neck pullovers fit easily in this category as well. They aren’t too glam, but they fit with a variety of styles, outfits, and occasions.
Their origins are connected to lingerie, but it appears that they began being fashionable about the 20s. Noel Coward, the famous dramatist, composer, actor, and singer, turned them into an integral part of his style and used to wear them colorful, with a lot of joy and self-confidence. Greta Garbo, Audrey Hepburn, Juliette Greco, Marcello Mastroianni, Andy Warhol, and the Beatles boys appear in numerous photos wearing various turtleneck models – and the 60s and 70s period established them as the must-have pieces of the beatnik style.
Let’s swivel slightly outside cinematography and remember that the brilliant Steve Jobs always wore a high neck black pullover (they were Yssey Miyake’s), and did Steven Hawking and Carl Sagan, who were also two amazing minds. The philosopher Michel Foucault was a fan of high neck pullovers and, closer to our days, so is Vladimir Putin. Turtlenecks and lose pullovers featuring a rolled neck was highly popular during the 90s, just to strongly reappear in 2014, together with the NormCore trend (can you remember that?).
That was then, today things are different. We take a look at the apparel history and notice that this trend, but how do we explain its longevity? How can we explain the transformation of this pullover and, especially, the omnipresence of this clothing item? Why, this winter, everybody wears high and rolled neck pullovers?
I blame it all on Phoebe. I make reference to Phoebe Philo, the former creative director of the fashion house Céline. Phoebe is the one we owe the fact that we’re wearing all those Adidas Stan Smith versions, being also the one that taught us that white sneakers with thick platforms can transform almost any attire.
Phoebe is the one that introduced the oversized shoulder bags, with a soft texture. Without a doubt, Phoebe is the reason we all buy these high neck pullovers. Grey, cream, dark blue, black, which must be worn with loose masculine trousers, grey, dark blue, and black as well. If you look for her photos in the past 2-3 years, you will notice that this was her stylistic signature. And when Victoria Beckham introduced the same outfit formulas in her autumn collections, followed by Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga, and Joseph, the deal was sealed.