A suit with a turtleneck in place of a dress shirt can be an incredibly sleek look. It’s somehow very retro and modern at the same time, manifesting a trendy style.

When done correctly, you will be the most suave man in the room. Of course, it requires a little more than just grabbing the first turtleneck you see.

Turtlenecks may have been dorky in grade school, but fortunately, you are more sophisticated than that now.

You know that almost anything can look great with a little bit of polish.

Wearing a Turtleneck with a Suit: The Basics

The most critical element of wearing a turtleneck with your suit is a well-fitted turtleneck.

how to wear a turtleneck with a suit

If your turtleneck is too baggy or loose, it ruins your entire aesthetic. It must lay flat against your torso and not have any stretched-out spots on the neck or sleeves.

Turtleneck Styles

Be aware that turtlenecks are never a formal look. While they help you stand out from the usual crowd of button-ups and ties, sweaters lower the formality of your full suit.

Turtleneck sweater type

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t wear a suit with a turtleneck for dressy occasions; consider this style business casual.

Mock neck turtlenecks are another sweater style that’s appropriate to wear with suits. The mock turtleneck collar is shorter and stands around the neck without folding it.

mock neck sweater

Turtlenecks come in all thickness levels. Some are very heavy and chunky; these are closer to ski sweaters and are not intended for layering.

The thinner the knit of your turtleneck is, the easier it is to add it to a blazer or suit jacket.

Matching Fabrics & Patterns

In keeping with the idea that turtlenecks are seasonal, they are best paired with a suit that matches the season.

brown corduroy suit, grey turtleneck, and brown boots

For example, you would never wear a warm turtleneck under a breezy linen suit; they don’t make sense together.

Instead, wear your turtleneck with a wool suit.

wearing turtleneck with a wool suit

Some wool suits are appropriate for year-round use, while others are heavier and clearly meant for cold weather. A turtleneck would work well with either.

What about a patterned or checked suit? It’s amazing to pair turtlenecks with pinstripe suits, but it should be done with some care.

For instance, a turtleneck is acceptable with a pinstripe suit only if the stripes aren’t too loud. They need to be subtle.

The same goes for the weave of the turtleneck. Some have a wide ribbing; to make a turtleneck suitable for pinstripes, it must have a fine weave.

Different Ways to Wear a Turtleneck with a Suit

The good news is that you have great flexibility with turtlenecks in your wardrobe!

Through the use of color and texture, you can create a variety of fashionable looks. In addition, you can mix and match light and dark colors for variations in formality.

Monochromatic Turtleneck and Suit Colors

When done right, the monochromatic look can be head-turning.

burgundy suit, burgundy turtleneck, and tan suede loafers

It might seem like an easy way to pull together an outfit, but there’s more to it than just picking the same color items.

It requires the right shades and textures to ensure that your outfit works, especially when working with a light-colored suit and turtleneck.

white suit, white turtleneck, and white sneakers

On the other hand, dark colors are also great for this style because they come across as sleeker and dressier than lighter colors.

A charcoal suit with a grey turtleneck is a sophisticated combination. The turtleneck can be lighter than the suit, creating a nice depth to your outfit.

wearing a charcoal grey suit with a grey turtleneck

For a different feeling, go with a black suit and a black turtleneck.

This is the most effortless monochrome combination to pull together because there’s no worrying about if you have the proper color tone.

black suit, turtleneck, and shoes

It’s also a great outfit for large men and a superb way to make a black suit more casual.

Similar Turtleneck and Suit Colors

You can also play with color combinations to create balance in your outfit. Wearing colors that are close to each other in tone has a very harmonious effect.

how to wear grey suit with black turtleneck and black chelsea boots

A black turtleneck will have many options for suits to pair with that are appropriately dark.

For example, think of a dark brown suit with a black turtleneck. They are both dark and neutral but have different hues.

dark brown suit and black turtleneck

A navy suit with a black turtleneck has a similar effect, as does a charcoal suit. For a more bold and modern twist, it can even be a great pair for a dark green suit.

dark green suit and black turtleneck

Also, these are rare instances where you should wear black shoes to complement your black turtleneck.

But analogous colors are exceptionally good to pair a turtleneck and a full suit. Few such instances can be blue and purple or burgundy and orange.

burgundy suit, tan turtleneck, and tan Chelsea boots

Earth-toned turtlenecks work incredibly well when matched with analog-colored suits, creating a cohesive outfit that’s perfect for the fall and winter seasons.

Opposite Colors Turtleneck with a Suit

To make this approach work, the colors need to be quite obviously different from each other.

brown suit, beige turtleneck, and brown loafers

The colors don’t need to be literally opposite each other on the color wheel, but they need to be far enough apart that there’s no doubt that they’re different.

A navy suit with an orange or even white or beige turtleneck is a lovely deep-hue combination to mix and match warm and cool colors.

navy suit and orange turtleneck

If you pair an earth-tone brown or burgundy turtleneck with a blue suit, you can create a modern appearance with the same effect.

blue suit, burgundy turtleneck, and burgundy loafers

Try a brown suit with a gold turtleneck for a very different feeling. The suit will accent the dark tones of the gold.

Wearing a Turtleneck with a Double-Breasted Suit

Pair a turtleneck with a double-breasted suit jacket for a very bold take. It looks incredibly smooth.

double-breasted charcoal grey suit, orange turtleneck, black oxford shoes

Double-breasted suits are incredibly debonair, so adding a casual turtleneck creates something entirely unexpected.

A turtleneck will slightly lower the formality of this suit, but because the jacket is so stylish, it will slightly elevate the formality of the turtleneck.

navy double-breasted suit, white turtleneck, and brown loafers

However, the bold combination of these two garments is all you need for your look. Keep it simple; avoid accessories and allow your clothing to take center stage.

Turtleneck with a Separate Suit Jacket & Pants

Suits aren’t the only way to dress up a turtleneck.

A sport coat or blazer and a pair of trousers are an excellent way to create a laid-back, low-key, casual image.

Navy blue blazer, brown turtleneck, grey pants, and brown loafers

Feel free to experiment with a patterned suit jacket. If your pants are solid, that will help ground the look so your pattern doesn’t overwhelm your turtleneck.

Separates are perfect to match with a turtleneck for business settings as well. Stick to more neutral colors for a dressier look.

navy blazer, grey dress pants, black turtleneck, and black chelsea boots

This combination is also great for mixing textures. For example, a corduroy blazer with a soft cashmere turtleneck is a luxurious combination.

What NOT to Wear with a Turtleneck & Suit

Certain fashion approaches require a light hand. It may be tempting to take this sophisticated style and add your own twist to it, but you need to avoid a few definite combinations.

Don’t ever add a tie to your turtleneck and suit. Sure, a suit may feel like a tie is required, but it isn’t. A tie over your turtleneck is awkward. Ties are only suitable with collared shirts.

A tuxedo is never appropriate to match with a turtleneck. Tuxedos are formal; turtlenecks are casual. These two worlds should never mix.

It may be tempting to put a vest over your turtleneck, but this isn’t a good look.

It’s a very buttoned-up look over a high-necked shirt; it’s simply too much fabric. So skip the vest.

Keep in mind that the narrow opening of the turtleneck is bound to mess up your hair, so put it on before you style your hair.

Alexander Stoicoff

Author: Alexander Stoicoff

Hi, I’m Alex, and I’ve studied and specialized in styling in Rome. Through my writing, I want to help men dress well and learn the purpose and significance of suits and other formal attire. My final goal is to make men more confident in their wardrobe choice and life in general.