Forget the Milk Tray man, forget cheesy models wearing rollnecks outdoors to signal wholesome, mail-order family life.
A polo neck , roll-neck ,  UK , turtleneck US , Canada , or skivvy Australia , New Zealand is a garment—usually a sweater —with a close-fitting, round, and high part similar to a collar that folds over and covers the neck. It can also refer to the type of neckline , the style of collar itself, or be used as an adjective "polo necked". The term polo neck , common in British English, is thought to derive from garments with similar necklines worn by Lydia O'Callaghan.
A simpler variant of the standard polo neck is the mock polo neck or mock turtleneck , that resembles the polo neck with the soft fold at its top and the way it stands up around the neck, but both ends of the tube forming the collar are sewn to the neckline. This is mainly used to achieve the appearance of a polo neck where the fabric would fray, roll, or otherwise behave badly unless sewn.
The mock polo neck clings to the neck smoothly, is easy to manufacture, and works well with a zip closure. Polo neck-like garments have been worn for hundreds of years, dating at least to the 15th century. From the late 19th century on, polo necks were commonly worn by menial workers, athletes, sailors and naval officers. Since the middle of the 20th century black polo necks have been closely associated with radical academics , philosophers , artists and intellectuals.
Greta Garbo often wore polo necks and trousers privately, as later Audrey Hepburn would do in official photographs. Vladimir Putin  of Russia and Andreas Papandreou  of Greece are two examples of European statesmen fond of wearing polo necks.
Their adoption by Noël Coward in the s turned polo necks into a brief middle-class fashion trend, and feminists made them into a unisex item. Absorbed into mainstream American fashion by the mid 20th century, the polo neck came to be viewed as an anti- tie , a smart form of dress for those who rejected formal wear. Over time it became a fad among teenage girls, especially in a lightweight form that emphasised their figures.
It was not long before Hollywood was also exploiting this image as part of the sweater girl look. By the late s the "tight turtleneck" had been adopted as part of the preppy style among students, a style emphasising neatness, tidiness and grooming.
This would become an important aspect of the polo neck's image in the United States. The look would filter through to Britain and the rest of Europe in a watered-down version. Very elegant polo necks of silk or nylon knit, especially made with French cuffs for formal dress affairs, have also seen success in American fashion.
Polo necks have historically and controversially acted as substitutes of the traditional and dominant shirt-and- tie look. John Berendt wrote in Esquire . It was the picture of masculine poise and arrogance, redolent of athletes, sportsmen, even U-boat commanders. The simplicity of its design made neckties seem fussy and superfluous by comparison. When Taylor Swift wore a black high-necked, long-sleeved sweater for her performance on The X Factor in November , it felt like a statement in relation to the Blurred Lines-gate raging around women and pop music at that moment.
The polo neck has risen in tandem with the star of Leandra Medine, writer of the Man Repeller blog, who takes a consciously feminist stance on fashion. Look it up for detailed guidance on how to perfect tucked-into-your-sweater hair. To get the polo neck right for now, wear it as a layering piece. This puts instant distance between you and the wholesome, catalogue-model school of knitwear.
For tips, watch Annie Hall: Or think of Jackie Onassis, snapped striding out of Claridges in , in a black polo neck under a trench. A fine-cotton charcoal one that has brought back to life the plain-grey crew neck sweater that felt a bit over. But then I went to Paris for the haute couture shows, and Natalia Vodianova was front row at Dior wearing a pristine white one. So simple, but so quirky. I need one, now. And you do too. Order by newest oldest recommendations.
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Ladies Womens Cable Knitted Polo Roll Neck Jumper Long Sleeve Stretch Dress. $ Free shippingSeller Rating: % positive. Find great deals on eBay for polo neck dress. Shop with confidence. A polo neck, roll-neck,, turtleneck (US, Canada), or skivvy (Australia, New Zealand) is a garment—usually a sweater—with a close-fitting, round, and high part similar to a collar that folds over and covers the neck.