The turtleneck, or polo neck, has long gotten a bad rap. The most recent example is that of Jersey Shore’s the Situation being mocked in the media due to a family portrait filled with the distinctive collars. Okay, I admit that photo is pretty hilarious but that’s not the point. In and out of style (often out) since about nineteen-fifty, many now see them as somewhat of a fashion curiosity. The turtleneck originally arose to prominence, interestingly enough, as somewhat of a counterculture statement. The turtleneck was incorporated as office wear for people who chose to forego ties. Others began to adopt the style and the rest, as they quip, is history.
5: The xx
This Mercury Prize winning band first broke on the scene in 2009 and their self titled debut made waves in the independent music industry. In addition to their minimalistic tunes the band also brought a dark aesthetic, infectious hooks, and most importantly: turtlenecks.
4: The Beatles
Don’t Get the idea that all of these entries are bands but this is a very important entry (remember, counterculture). Many Americans first encounter with the Fab Four was buying the album With the Beatles. The cover of which displays the group making a strong and distinctive fashion statement
3: The Beatniks
The hipsters of the fifties, beatniks have been stereotyped to an extreme. Although they created an important and influential culture, we often think of beatniks in simple terms: people in coffee shops, listening to jazz, wearing berets, and enjoying turtlenecks. Maybe stereotyping isn’t so bad after all.
2: Steve Jobs
Apple has become known as the hipper, more creative, and more innovative brand of computer in recent years. Some of this may stem from the fact its CEO Steve Jobs has always identified with 60’s era counterculture (mentioned above). Steve Jobs has long foregone traditional business wear in favor of, you guessed it, turtlenecks (and Levi’s 501s). He also has (or had) a taste for LSD, and a distaste for shoes.
1: Carl Sagan
The well known popularizer of science isn’t the most well known turtleneck wearer, but I gave him the nod for one reason: he was always wearing one. Although all the entries above wore turtlenecks, they also wore a variety of different clothes (save maybe Steve Jobs). If you Google Carl Sagan, however, you’ll see he loved the polo neck like none other. Did I say popularizer of science? I meant popularizer of turtlenecks.