How to supercharge a suit
Reach for fifth gear with a rollneck sweater.
There’s much debate in the Esquire offices over what to call that sweater with the long neck. Americans say turtleneck (meh). Brits prefer rollneck (correct). Australians call it a skivvy (don’t ask). There is, however, no argument here about its general rightness. Many otherwise enlightened American men tend to see something untrustworthy, louche, even “European” about the rollneck. Does this stem from its past popularity with lefty beatniks? Maybe. Is the rollneck the mark of the freethinker and the outsider? Certainly. That’s why I like it.
But the rollneck’s greatest attribute is how it utterly transforms a suit. Sub one in for a shirt and tie and the look is cleaner (who needs buttons?) and more athletic. It’s got that whiff of iconoclasm. And it keeps your neck warm. Which is not nothing.
To pull off the look, you need a rollneck made of merino wool, a finely spun yarn that is light, breathable, and supremely comfortable. I buy mine in bulk online every year from Uniqlo for SGD53 each—usually in navy, sometimes in other colors, never in black. I’m not a jazz musician.
Left: Suit (SGD3,622*), turtleneck (SGD464*), and shoes (SGD1,075*) by Corneliani. Above: Turtlenecks by Uniqlo (SGD53*); by Richard James (SGD524*); by Uniqlo (SGD53*); by John Smedley (SGD261*); by Richard James (SGD524*) WINNER BY A NECK If...