Is Turtleneck Business Casual?

Knowing the latest business casual trends is essential whether you're back in the office or joining your colleagues online. And winter is always a good time for workwear refresh, with a turtleneck as the perfect choice for staying cosy and chic at the same time. But is a turtleneck business casual? Read on to find out.

Are Turtlenecks Formal Attire? 

At the top of the winter-appropriate office-wear list is the turtleneck. It's undeniably classic, always warm, and transitions day to night easily.

We have all seen pictures of Steve Jobs wearing his trademark turtleneck under a blazer and think it is an Apple CEO's dress code. But are turtlenecks business casual and appropriate for the office? The answer depends on your workplace and the type of turtleneck you wear.

Ultra-casual tops such as hoodies and oversized tees are the hard "no" on the work wardrobe list. The beauty of the turtleneck is its versatility; it can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. 

Depending on the fabric and fit of your turtleneck, it can easily take you from the boardroom to brunch. Stick with merino wool for office days, cashmere for smart-casual events, and a heavier knit for days off. To elevate your look up a notch, you can choose to add a contrasting-coloured top layer like a blazer or wrap coat.

In terms of colour selection, dark colours, such as black, blue, navy, etc., will provide a much more formal look than bright hues like yellow or red, which may appear too casual for sophisticated occasions. You can also wear accessories to complete the look - items like bolo ties, scarves, suspenders, and pocket squares work wonders when paired with turtlenecks! 

Is Turtleneck Smart Casual For Men? 

Regarding smart casual dressing for men, turtlenecks are an excellent choice. They provide a polished, classic look that can easily be dressed up or down depending on the occasion and environment. 

mens navy wool high turtle neck jumper

Turtlenecks come in a variety of styles and materials, so you have plenty of options to choose from. A solid-colour turtleneck is always more professional looking than one with a pattern. For work, opt for something plain and simple with darker colours like black or navy blue. For more casual environments where patterns are acceptable, go for something with subtle stripes or checks rather than wilder or larger-scale prints.

Is Turtleneck Smart Casual For Women? 

Absolutely! Turtlenecks can be an excellent option for women who want to look smart and stylish in their business casual attire. While the business casual turtleneck is often associated with men, there is no reason why women can't rock this timeless classic too.

blue womens high neck cotton sweater

When pairing your turtleneck with other pieces, the key thing to remember is balance and proportion. If you're wearing a fitted turtleneck, pair it with some more relaxed trousers or a suit jacket instead of something tight-fitting. You can also choose different turtleneck colours; simple patterns and pastel hues are perfectly acceptable in business casual settings. However, you should avoid neon hues!

A turtleneck business casual women's look can also be accessorised to add an extra touch of flair. A wide-brimmed hat, chunky necklace, or statement earrings are great ways to complete your business casual turtleneck outfit while still looking professional and chic. 

How To Wear A Turtleneck To Create a Business Casual Look? 

Creating that perfect business casual look with a turtleneck is easier than you may think. Here are some tips on how to get it just right:

  • Look for materials made from luxurious Merino wool, cashmere, or high-quality cotton. Investing in a quality material will ensure you stay fashionable and chic.`
  • If you're searching for something suitable for the office, look for turtlenecks with full or ¾ length sleeves.
  • When picking out the perfect turtleneck, the neckline — and how well it fits around your neck — matters. The ideal fit almost hugs your neck without feeling stifling. Cashmere and Merino wool are popular choices for achieving this comfortable snugness. 
  • When considering colour for your turtleneck, it's best to keep it solid. This will give you a more professional look. Patterns are ideal for more casual situations. So if you choose a pattern, something subtle like stripes or checks is best.
  • Turtlenecks can be dressed up with slacks and skirts or down with chinos or pants.
  • Pair it with a solid-coloured navy, black, or grey blazer for a more contemporary take on business casual. If you want to add some fun flair, opt for a hopsack blazer featuring decorative brass buttons for an exciting style statement that's still professional.
  • Shoes are important for pulling off a polished look, so if you're wearing a turtleneck, consider pairing it with brown or black dress shoes.

Is A Turtleneck A Good Choice For An Interview?

If you're attending an interview for a business casual or more casual role, a turtleneck can be the perfect balance between over- or underdressing. Opt for neutral tones like black, grey, or navy to ensure you leave the best impression. To elevate your look further, pair it with a blazer and smart trousers or dark chinos for a chic feel. You'll be sure to give the ideal impression at your next interview.

What Types Of Turtlenecks Are Suitable For Business Casual Dress Codes?

When it comes to dressing for the office, a variety of turtlenecks can help you create a stylish and professional look. Here are some types of turtlenecks that are suitable for business casual dress codes:

Classic Turtleneck

The office loves this lightweight fabric as it hugs the body, has a slim neckline, and can be tucked into almost any garment.

Mock Neck

If wearing a turtleneck with its high, close-fitting neck all day isn't an option, then mock necks are the perfect solution. Mock necks come in lightweight and thick materials and have a neck that only goes halfway up your body.

Turtleneck Dress

Chunky, loose-fitting turtleneck dresses may be famous for wintertime fashion but should not be worn at the office. Instead, opt for a midi or knee-length cut that looks amazing when paired with tights and a blazer or wrap-around scarf.

Cowl Neck

When styling a cowl neck sweater for the office, creativity is vital. Contrasting it with a collared shirt provides an elegant look. Try selecting a peplum or tunic style to have the bottom of your top show beneath the cowl neck. To complete this professional ensemble, add some form-fitting dress pants and heels.

Are There Any Occasions When Wearing A Turtleneck May Not Be Appropriate For Business Casual?

The only situations we'd advise against wearing a turtleneck is if the dress code is conservatively formal or if you're attending a summer outdoor event. In some seasons (especially in warmer climates), it's simply too hot for layering with a turtleneck — you'll sweat all day uncomfortably. 

So, is turtleneck a business casual? Turtlenecks are a timeless fashion statement and can be dressed up or down to suit any occasion. Whether you opt for a classic turtleneck, mock neck, dress, or cowl neck option, they are perfect for creating professional yet stylish looks that help show off your personality even in the office. Buy your favourite turtleneck from Paul James Knitwear, get creative, and see how much you can do with this versatile piece of clothing.

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