A turtleneck can be tricky to wear. But the turtleneck can also be super stylish. And, it can be a great way to add warmth for transitional dressing. So, how to wear a turtleneck? And what are the most flattering turtleneck outfits for women over 40?

Below, you will find lots of inspiration for styling your turtleneck in different ways, as well as some of the best turtlenecks to choose now.

What is a turtleneck?

First of all, yes I know it sounds like a silly question, but what exactly is a turtleneck?

Depending on which part of the world you live, you may call it by a different name. Perhaps you grew up calling your turtleneck a polo neck, a roll neck, a skivvy or a mock neck (although a mock neck doesn’t tend to go quite so far up your neck).

Whatever you call it, a turtleneck is generally a sweater, although you’ll also find this neck style on other tops and on dresses, with a high neckline that folds over on itself.

Pros of wearing a turtleneck

How to wear a turtleneck - Patricia in a blue turtleneck sweater and jeans | 40plusstyle.com

A turtleneck tends to be one of those divisive items of clothing that you either love or you hate to wear. But there are plenty of benefits to wearing a turtleneck:

  • It can be very flattering if you have a long neck
  • The turtleneck can make your bust look bigger
  • A high neckline will keep you warm as well as stylish
  • It’s a classic style that will never date
  • It makes a great layering piece for transitional weather

Patricia (above) wears her turtleneck with similar color jeans.

Check out this similar sweater, jeans, tall boots, top handle bag, gloves, beanie and sunglasses.

Cons of wearing a turtleneck

However, if you do want to add a turtleneck sweater to your outfit, it makes sense to be mindful of any disadvantages too:

  • If you have a shorter neck, a turtleneck can draw attention to this
  • If you’re large busted, this sweater style can make your chest look even bigger
  • You might get too hot if you’re prone to overheating

Famous women who love their turtlenecks

However, despite any “cons”, rules are made to be broken. Just because you are larger busted, it doesn’t mean you can’t look fabulous in a polo neck.

As with all of your outfits, you simply need to consider the balance and silhouette of your whole look. So, you may want to wear wide legged pants or bootcuts, for example, rather than skinny jeans so you don’t look top heavy.

If you do love turtlenecks, or you decide to give them another try after reading this article, you’re in good company.

Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Jackie O, Gwyneth Paltrow, the Duchess of Cambridge, Rita Hayworth, Diana Ross and Twiggy have all been pictured looking incredibly stylish in a turtleneck.

So, what is the best way to wear yours?

Below you’ll find turtleneck outfit ideas to suit you no matter what your style is…

With wide-legged pants

Vanessa wears a red turtleneck and matching pants | 40plusstyle.com

Wide legged pants can look fabulous with a turtleneck.

Vanessa (above) opts for an all red outfit with a pink outfit.

Recreate her look with this similar sweater, jacket, wide leg pants and booties.

Sweater with wide leg pants | 40plusstyle.com

Ted Baker London stripe mock neck sweaterAnne Klein crop wide leg pantsLinea Paolo slingback flatKate Spade New York toteShopSNA trapezoid earrings

Oversized with leggings

Nikki in a turtleneck sweater dress | 40plusstyle.com

If you have a long turtleneck tunic or a turtleneck dress, then this can be a good option to wear with leggings.

Nikki (above) wears her cableknit turtleneck dress with her leggings and chunky boots.

Get her look with this similar sweater, leggings and lace-up boots.

Oversize turtleneck sweater with leggings | 40plusstyle.com

CHARTOU suede moto jacketCaslon turtleneck tunic sweaterLyssé high waist suede leggingsP448 high top sneakerKate Spade New York toteShopSNA trapezoid earrings

With a formal skirt

Katharina in a turtleneck and skirt | 40plusstyle.com

A turtleneck sweater is a good transitional item for your closet. You can wear your lighter weight skirts with your knitwear.

Katharina (above) wears her black turtleneck, picking up the background color of her skirt.

Check out this similar sweater, printed midi skirt (here is a plain option), tights and pumps.

Sweater worn with a formal skirt | 40plusstyle.com

BP. ribbed turtleneck sweaterClub Monaco metallic midi skirtMichael Kors ankle strap sandalsCOACH foldover crossbody clutchRIAH Fashion tassel earrings

As an underlayer

Kim wears a turtleneck under her slip dress | 40plusstyle.com

Do you have a slipdress in your wardrobe, but tend not to wear it either because of the weather or because you prefer not to show your upper arms? You could wear a turtleneck as an underlayer.

Kim (above) shows how to pattern mix by teaming her square-print top with her animal print dress.

Steal her look with this similar turtleneck top, slip dress (plus size option here), croc embossed boots, clutch and earrings.

Turtleneck top as an underlayer | 40plusstyle.com

FLORIA slim turtleneck top Chi Chi London colorblock slip dressMichael Kors ankle strap sandalsCOACH foldover crossbody clutchCEALXHENY acrylic hoop earrings

Also take a look at more ideas for covering your upper arms.

With a long vest

Mejacal wears a long vest over her turtleneck | 40plusstyle.com

Wearing a long vest over your turtleneck can create a flattering column of color.

This creates long, lean lines and can be effective in making you look taller and slimmer (if you want to).

Mejacal (above) opts for a fur-neck long vest with animal print vests.

Check out this long fur vest that you can wear with this similar sweater dress, vest, knee high boots, earrings, tights and purse.

Turtleneck top worn with a long vest | 40plusstyle.com

Bellivera printed trench coatFLORIA slim turtleneck topFrye lace-up bootsTopshop croc embossed crossbody bagCanvas Jewelry multi chain layered necklaceBony Levy twit hoop earrings

with a blazer

Fonda in a turtleneck and jeans | 40plusstyle.com

A blazer always looks good with everything, and is a great way to elevate any outfit.

Fonda (above) matches her scarf to her burgundy turtleneck.

Recreate her outfit with this similar turtleneck sweater, blazer, jeans, boots and scarf.

Sweater worn with a blazer | 40plusstyle.com

LookbookStore notched lapel blazerClub Monaco wool sweaterWit & Wisdom bootcut jeansMarc Fisher LTD block heel pumpTHE MARC JACOBS leather crossbody bagSterling Forever hammered pearl drop earrings

With a long, v-shaped necklace

Joy wears a turtleneck with her suit | 40plusstyle.com

If you’re worried about your neck looking short in a turtleneck, one way to counteract the effect can be a wear a longish, v-shaped necklace over the top. This helps to create the elongating effect that you would usually get from a v-neck top.

Joy (above) looks very elegant in her monochrome outfit with long, tassel necklace.

Check out this similar sweater, tuxedo blazer, pants, pumps, clutch and tassel necklace.

Sweater worn with a long, V-shaped necklace | 40plusstyle.com

Joules wool blend coatHerou Women’s pullover turtleneck topLulus crop flare faux leather pantsFrye lace-up bootsTHE MARC JACOBS leather crossbody bagKendra Scott tassel necklace

As a dress

If you like to wear dresses during the cooler months, a turtleneck sweater dress can make sure you stay warm and stylish.

Sweater dress, moto jacket and tall boots | 40plusstyle.com

BLANKNYC faux leather moto jacketLulus sweater dressSteve Madden pointed toe bootCOACH leather toteVince Camuto geometric hoop earrings


If you like the look of turtlenecks, but you really don’t find them flattering on you, another option could be to opt for the cowl neck, which is similar to a turtleneck, but because it is draped, and lower down on your neckline, it is easier to wear.

Jenny (above) wears a draped turtleneck with her jeans and lace-up boots.

Steal her look with this similar sweater, jeans, boots and crossbody bag.

Draped sweater worn with coat and cigarette jeans | 40plusstyle.com

Wantdo double breasted pea coatLulus turtleneck sweaterFRAME crop cigarette jeansKate Spade New York toteAquatalia pointy toe loaferSterling Forever hammered pearl drop earrings

Turtleneck inspiration for you

Take a look below at a turtleneck capsule closet. You can see you could easily swap the tops and bottoms around to create different outfits.

Turtleneck capsule wardrobe | 40plusstyle.com

Continue reading:

  1. 13 Ways To Style Winter Sweaters And Fall Sweaters For Women Over 40
  2. Where To Shop For The Best Cashmere Sweaters
  3. How To Layer For Transitional Weather

Do you have a turtleneck in your closet? How do you wear yours?

Like this post on how to wear a turtleneck? Share it on Pinterest!

How to wear a turtleneck: chic turtleneck outfits for everyday | 40plusstyle.com

Feature image by Vanessa


Sylvia is 40+style’s editor-in-chief and has been helping women find their unique style since 2011. She is devoted to empowering women of any age to look and feel their best. Read more about Sylvia and 40+style on this page.

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