Polo neck

Polo neck
A man wearing a folded turtleneck

A polo neck (UK) or turtle neck (US) or skivvy (Australia) is a garment—usually a sweater—with a close-fitting, round, and high collar that folds over and covers the neck. It can also refer to type of neckline, the style of collar itself, or be used as an adjective ("polo necked").

A simple variant, the mock polo neck (or mock turtle neck), 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.

Casual wear

Seamen and menial workers began adopting polo necks as workwear at the turn of the 20th century. Over time, polo necks became acceptable casual wear -- though usually for men only -- and clothing designers began to make a range of light polo necks in a variety of colors. Their adoption by Noel Coward in the 1920s turned turtle necks into a brief middle-class fashion trend, and feminists made them into a unisex item. In the 1950s the black polo neck became a distinctive mark of existentialists.

Absorbed into mainstream American fashion by the mid 20th century, the turtle neck came to be viewed as an anti-tie, a smart form of dress for those who rejected formal wear. Senator Ted Kennedy, pianist/conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy, conductor Seiji Ozawa, singer Barry Manilow, scientist Carl Sagan, and Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs were among those often seen in turtle necks.

Women's wear

Woman in an unfolded polo neck.

Over time it grew and as a women's wear, it become a fad, amongst 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 1950s the "tight turtle neck" had been adopted as part of the preppy style amongst students, a style emphasising neatness, tidiness and grooming. This would become an important aspect of the turtle neck's image in the United States. The look would filter through to Britain and Europe in a watered-down version.

See also

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • polo neck — polo necks also polo neck N COUNT A polo neck or a polo neck sweater is a sweater with a high neck which folds over. [BRIT] (in AM, use turtleneck) …   English dictionary

  • polo neck — n BrE a shirt or ↑sweater that has a high collar that folds down and fits closely around the neck American Equivalent: turtleneck ▪ a polo neck sweater …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • polo neck — noun 1. A pullover collar fitting the neck closely and doubling over, as orig in the jersey worn by polo players 2. A jersey with such a collar • • • Main Entry: ↑polo …   Useful english dictionary

  • polo neck — polo ,neck noun count BRITISH a TURTLENECK …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • polo neck — ► NOUN Brit. ▪ a high, close fitting, turned over collar on a sweater …   English terms dictionary

  • polo neck — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms polo neck : singular polo neck plural polo necks British a sweater with a high neck that folds over. The American word is turtleneck. Derived word: polo neck adjective a polo neck sweater …   English dictionary

  • polo-neck — noun a sweater or jersey with a high close fitting collar • Syn: ↑turtleneck, ↑turtle • Hypernyms: ↑sweater, ↑jumper, ↑jersey, ↑T shirt, ↑tee shirt …   Useful english dictionary

  • polo neck — noun (C) BrE a shirt or sweater with a high, close fitting band around the neck that is rolled down; turtleneck AmE polo neck adjective: a polo neck sweater …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • ˈpolo ˌneck — noun [C] British a SWEATER with a high neck that folds over ˈpolo ˌneck adj …   Dictionary for writing and speaking English

  • polo neck — noun Polo neck is used before these nouns: ↑jumper, ↑sweater …   Collocations dictionary

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