Bethan Holt on the discreet charms of the polo-neck
Chic yet comfortable, the not-so-humble high-neck jumper is a wardrobe essential
How do I love polo-necks? Let me count the ways. They are the epitome of swanlike chic; when fitted and black, one will make you feel as elegant as Jackie O sashaying through New York in the 1970s or as sweetly beatnik as Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face. But they also manage to be as solid and dependable as the man who buys you crisps on Valentine’s Day (or any other day of the year, when he remembers).
Every woman should have several polos – aka turtle or roll necks – in her life. Some are not big, flirty fashion players, but quiet heroes that will transform certain pieces into something you can actually, y’know, wear. If you have a lovely floaty, flimsy dress that is rarely good for anything other than holidays, wear it over one of Uniqlo’s HeatTech polos, et voilà. Equally, tuck one into high-waisted jeans and you have a refined weekend outfit.
Not all polo-necks are created equal. Of late, there are some much shoutier options just begging to keep your neck cosy with all the subtlety of Elton John’s Gucci retirement tour wardrobe. Two of the edgiest designers of the moment – Raf Simons at Calvin Klein and Demna Gvasalia
Every woman should have several polos – aka turtle necks or roll necks – in her life
at Balenciaga – have embraced tight satin versions (quite Star Trek) and slouchy funnel-necked knits, which could look great with patterned midi skirts. And Raf ’s bright-white jerseys are the perfect way to make the art of layering look modern.
Some say that anyone with a chest bigger than a B cup cannot partake in polo-necks, which is nonsense – as long as you have the right support in place. I often wear mine with one of LNDR’s brilliantly smoothing and supportive sports bras.
A top that covers from wrist to chin might not seem like the sexiest of items at this romantic time of year, but modesty is having a moment. Time to leave a little to the imagination?