Are you a lecturer or a criminal? Then why are you wearing a turtleneck?
Put it back in the drawer
If you’ve been following The Tab’s important and exciting coverage of what clothes people wear in nightclubs recently, you will no doubt have borne witness to the return of the turtleneck (also called a roll-neck or polo neck).
Thanks to Steve Jobs (peace be upon him), it has become the thinking-man’s jumper of choice. Formerly the preserve of diamond thieves, Eastern European mob bosses and prostitute stranglers they’ve now become the weapon of choice for the guy in the group who’s really into things.
One evolutionary leap beyond geek chic, it’s a conscious attempt to appear cultured.
But they’re worn by Essex lads, who coordinate them with school blazers as they neg women at the Sugar Hut. They mean business. They’re no nonsense. They’re Paxman. They’re Simon Cowell.
The moment the turtleneck really cemented its return as the intellectual symbol of 2014 was when Daniel O’Reilly appeared on Newsnight. To evade the firing line of thousands of think-piece blogs he wore a black one and sat in front of a speckled eighties backdrop while he “killed his Dapper Laughs persona”.
He looks like he’s in a Duran Duran video, but this was the moment the turtleneck inspired a thousand aspiring intellectuals who wanted to show just how grown up, mature and earnest they are.
Now I have a confession. Sometime before Christmas in my first year, in a perfect storm of receiving a very delayed student loan and a brain eroded by too many nights out, I went House of Fraser and spent an eye watering amount on a Ralph Lauren turtleneck.
I don’t really know why I did it. It could’ve been the Christmas cheer. Whatever it was, I wanted to get my money’s worth.
What nobody tells you about turtlenecks is just how hot they are. Your bid for effortless cool and sophistication as you breeze across the dance floor is destined for failure once you start sweating profusely within two minutes of entering the club.
In your mind you imagine your night stood at the bar, looking intellectual, as the women flock and laugh. In reality you find yourself wiping your brow and spluttering out anecdotes whilst you are drenched it sweat, much like Lee Evans.
But no one was ever kind enough to mention that I didn’t actually look like a renaissance man, that I was just another pretender.
What I did learn, is that you may find people looking at you a little differently in the street. But it’s because you look ridiculous, not because they’re tempted to ask you for suggestions for mid-price Merlot.
Just as neon boots don’t suit on your average Sunday league footballer, pixie haircuts don’t look good on anyone but models, turtlenecks don’t look good on anyone but lecturers or criminals.
So follow my lead, fold up that turtleneck and pack it away in your bottom draw and don’t take it out until you either need the added warmth or to take ironic photos for an article that you’re writing.