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How To Wear A Turtleneck Under A Sweater

August 2, 2023
How To Wear A Turtleneck Under A Sweater

It’s widely accepted that both turtlenecks and sweaters are fantastic layering garments individually. But can you wear a turtleneck under a sweater?

As turtlenecks are fantastic layering garments, it’s possible to wear a turtleneck under a sweater. Size up your sweater and ensure your turtleneck is slim-fitting. Consider your sweater’s neckline, consider sticking to neutral colors, and avoid patterns if possible.  

That, however, is just the beginning. There’s a lot more to it.

Let’s explore this topic further.


6 Tips For Wearing A Turtleneck Under A Sweater

Wearing a turtleneck under a sweater is pretty uncommon, so it can be hard to know the best way to do it. Here are six no-nonsense tips for wearing the two together.

1. Size Up Your Sweater

Usually, sizing up clothing isn’t recommended. However, this outfit pretty much requires it.

Wearing your sweater as an overlayer (as you will be here) means that you must take into account the underlayer you’ll be wearing.

The most straightforward way to do this is by sizing up your sweater. 

“Sizing up” means if you’re usually a medium (typically labeled “M”), going for a large (typically labeled “L”) instead.

If you don’t have access to a sweater of the next size up, a baggier shirt that’s labeled as your size will suffice.

The primary reason for ensuring your sweater is larger than usual is that turtlenecks can be pretty bulky garments.

Even thin-fabric, lightweight turtlenecks will add a surprising amount of bulk to your stature.

On top of that, if your sweater isn’t roomier than usual, bunching of your turtleneck underlayer can occur.

Not only is this uncomfortable, but it can also show as an awkward outline through your sweater.

Larger, more spacious sweaters won’t have this problem.

2. Slim-Fitting Turtlenecks Work Best

The previous tip was about sizing up your sweater to allow for the turtleneck underlayer.

While roomier sweaters contribute to the success of this look, they aren’t the whole story.

The other size factor to think about when wearing a turtleneck under a sweater is the size of your turtleneck.

While it may be tempting to go for the warm, bulky turtleneck that’s so often seen, it’s best to steer clear of it for this outfit.

Instead, go for a thinner, more lightweight turtleneck – with as little volume as you can manage.

Doing so will ensure your sweater fits nicely over your turtleneck without any bunching, visible outlines, or discomfort.

As well as this, slim-fit turtlenecks work particularly well as they sit close to the body.

That being said, it’s important to make sure your turtleneck fits and isn’t too tight.

As a general rule, a well-fitted, slim-fit garment will sit close to your body without being overly tight or uncomfortable and without restricting movement.

3. Consider The Neckline Of The Sweater

Sweaters come in many different styles. In fact, there are so many that it can be difficult to know the right one to choose for your outfit.

Despite the vast array of sweater styles available, they can generally be sorted into one of two broad terms.

These are V-neck sweaters and crew neck sweaters.

While the neckline of your sweater is a seemingly minimal factor, it actually impacts the overall look of the outfit quite significantly.

It is, therefore, best to get it right.

V-Neck Sweater

It’s perfectly possible to wear a V-neck sweater with a turtleneck, but bear in mind that they both have unusual necklines. This means that there’s more consistency in the outfit than it initially may seem. 

Make sure your V-neck and turtleneck are in neutral colors if possible. 

While it may seem unlikely, the unusual nature of both the turtleneck and V-neck’s neckline means that it can act as a focal point for the outfit.

However, because of its uncommonness, it’s best to stick to neutral colors and avoid excessive contrast. Doing so should avoid coming across as too extravagant or attention-grabbing. 

Crew Neck Sweater

Crew neck sweaters can easily be worn with turtleneck sweaters underneath. It’s usually best to avoid patterns and loud colors. Instead, stick to light, neutral colors or cream tones such as off-white, khaki, and tan.   

When you think of a sweater, a crew neck is likely what will initially spring to mind.

If you wear a turtleneck under a crew neck sweater, remember that similar colors work best.

4. Avoid Patterns

Patterns can work fantastically with some outfits – particularly casual ones.

However, this isn’t the case when wearing a turtleneck under a sweater.

Because the combination of a sweater and a turtleneck is pretty unusual on its own, adding patterns to the outfit will make it appear overly flamboyant.

Instead, make sure both your turtleneck and sweater are block-colored.

Doing so will avoid any potential extravagance, as well as color or pattern clashing with the items.

Furthermore, turtlenecks and sweaters sometimes have a textured appearance. Wearing excessive patterns with textures can be an eye sore and should be avoided.

The only exception when wearing patterns may be acceptable with this outfit is when wearing a V-neck sweater.

V-neck sweaters sometimes have one or two white stripes following their necklines. These can act as extra visual interest and contribute to the neckline focal point.

5. Stick To Neutral Or Near-Neutral Colors

“Stick to neutral colors” is common advice when layering.

However, this outfit somewhat differs from the norm in that you should not only stick to neutral colors but go for those which are similar, too.

Too much contrast will make this outfit look awkward or stylistically clumsy.

Conversely, similar, neutral colors, such as khaki and tan or off-white and light grey, will give this outfit a sophisticated, elegant look.

Neutral colors are those that don’t appear on the color wheel. 

They have muted undertones and are incredibly versatile – meaning they pair well with most other colors.

While dark colors, like navy, charcoal, and black, can work with this outfit, it’s often easier to go for lighter colors.

6. Keep It Casual

The formality of this outfit can be quite a controversial topic, as both sweaters and turtlenecks can be pretty easily dressed up.

However, the two together create a casual, laid-back look, one that’s not appropriate for formal wear.

You should also avoid this outfit on smart-casual or semi-formal occasions, even when a sweater or turtleneck individually could be dressed up to suit.

The main reason for this casual nature is that it’s an unusual combination.

Often, a turtleneck or a sweater is used as a standalone layering garment, and the unusual combination of the two layering garments is simply not formal enough for such occasions.

This means that, overall, you should keep this outfit solely for casual situations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions to really finalize the topic.

Can You Wear A Turtleneck Under A Sweater Vest?

Wearing a turtleneck under a sweater vest makes for an excellent preppy-style outfit. Because more of the turtleneck will be visible, contrasting your turtleneck with your sweater vest looks great. Also, diagonally-patterned or cable-knit sweater vests can work to really enhance that classic preppy look.

Patterned and textured sweater vests look fantastic with this outfit, as it’s much more obviously a layered outfit.

Remember that both V-neck and crew neck sweater vests are options.

Can You Wear A Turtleneck Under A Cardigan?

Wearing a turtleneck under a cardigan is entirely possible. Depending on personal preference, you can leave your cardigan buttoned or unbuttoned with this outfit. Also, remember to consider the different cardigan styles available. Contrasting colors work particularly well. 

There are many different styles of cardigans on the market, from light, V-neck cardigans to chunky, cable-knit shawl collar ones.

Generally, the lighter, thinner ones work best with a turtleneck, as they help get that elegant, sophisticated silhouette.


Now that you know the ins and outs of wearing a turtleneck under a sweater, you’ll be able to pull it off effortlessly each and every time.