Fun Fact Friday: The History of Turtlenecks

Hello again, and welcome to Friday, the Fun Fact kind! I was originally going to write a post about the Amish (again, the result of spending too much time with PBS) but I decided that they can keep their secrets for at least another week in lieu of the dire need for something about turtlenecks to grace the pages of a site named after them. So, this week will be about the history of Turtlenecks! (I’m kind of excited, I’m not going to lie).

And, as a salute to the occasion, I am wearing my burgundy Ralph Lauren turtleneck, and feel distinguished.

Alright, let’s get started.

FACT: Turtlenecks date back to at least the 15th century AD.

FACT: They are called ‘Polo necks’ in the UK and ‘skivvy’s’ in Australia.

FACT: They were popularized in the late 19th century, where they were originally worn by menial workers, navy sailors or officers, and athletes.  But into the 20th century they became associated with academics, philosophers, intellectuals and artists.

Should have been wearing a turtleneck.

FACT: In the 50’s the black turtleneck became a distinctive mark of an existentialist, and also became a way to rebel against traditional formal wear (ie. Black tie).

FACT: Women adopted the look and feminized it after the 50’s, and eventually it became a marker of preppy tidiness among students.

FACT: The look has been watered down since then and is now common among all classes in society and types of fashion.

And for your enjoyment, here are some awesome people who sport turtlenecks!

The 'Always Classy' Audrey Hepburn

The 'Scratch-Pie Making' Carl Sagan!

The 'Floofy Haired' Barry Manilow

Italian Film Star Marcello Mastroianni

The 'Though I don't believe in Apple products' Steve Jobs.

Oh wait..that's me...

Vladimir Putin, when he's not busy killing wildlife.

The Gorgeous Miss Marilyn Monroe

The Lonely Island

And for you younger readers, the fictional Draco Malfoy.

My apologies, I may have gotten a little carried away with the pictures, but Turtlenecks are fun and awesome, so it clearly doesn’t matter.

Again, I hope you learned something interesting. Interesting things that you can bring up at the next family reunion to baffle the people with whom you share genetics, using your wealth of useless knowledge!

Bye for now! And Happy Friday!

-Miss Hailey Jane

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11 responses to “Fun Fact Friday: The History of Turtlenecks

  • Nat

    I love that you wrote about this and that “turtlenecks” is part of your title as turtlenecks DEFINITELY make me think Hailey!!! I can’t pull them off quite as well as you can, but certainly an essential item in your wardrobe. 🙂

  • Cee

    I love them too and wear them 7-8 months of the year 🙂

    I was surprised when you stated they originated in the 1400s. I would have guessed they only went back as far as the 1870-’80s.

    Where did you get that information, Hailey ?

    • haileyjw

      Hey Cee, I am with you wholeheartedly in your love of turtlenecks, they are the best thing to wear, hands down. And the blacker the better 🙂 I got the majority of information for that post from good old Wikipedia, on the article about polo necks, which took reference from “The humanities and the modern world” by Mary Ann Frese Witt in 2000.

      • ceeamm

        I’d read it was a garment only worn by men until some feisty ladies started borrowing the hubbie’s or boyfriend’s sweater on a cold morning.

  • Corey Frye

    Wasn’t Colin Firth sporting a mean turtleneck in Bridget Jones’ Diary? Or was it just the reindeer sweater I’m thinking of?

    Thanks for stopping by blog today and commenting. By the way, love the layout! We have similar (awesome) taste! 🙂

    • haileyjw

      Woot Theme buddies! You’re right! He totally was! The reindeer jumper was also a turtleneck. I don’t think I could pull off that particular genre of turtleneck to be honest, but I swear that man would look good in anything. Thanks so much for visiting me too! I really liked your post, congrats on being freshly pressed! I look forward to reading more of your writing.

  • Brett

    Any post that references Carl Sagan is a favorite of mine. Interesting post, groovy topic.

  • | Fall in Love With…Turtlenecks

    […] Photos: Stockholm Street StyleSource: Miss Hailey Jane […]

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