ask a cool person

What’s the Best Black Turtleneck?

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

That “perfect” black turtleneck is different for everyone. There are the traditionalists, who worship only the most perfectly fitted ones (à la You’ve Got Mail’s Kathleen Kelly), while nonconformists are on a quest for Quinn from Daria’s cropped beatnik cosplay. Variety makes The One so much harder to find. So we did the hard work for you, putting together a panel of opinionated turtleneck obsessives — including stylists, jewelry designers, boutique owners, and several of our own Strategist staffers — to find the best black turtlenecks. (Hint: Lots of Heattech was involved.) There’s something for everyone — from the fitted to the oversize, with some cutouts along the way. And although we’re focused on black turtlenecks, we’ve noted which options are available in other colors.

Best overall turtleneck

When we polled our panel, this was the single most mentioned turtleneck. (The Uniqlo Heattech vote was split among several versions.) Many of the women we spoke to had the same opinion as Strategist writer Chloe Anello, who calls J.Crew’s Tissue T-neck the “only black turtleneck worth buying.” Anello adds that she has “cheated on it before” — with ones from Madewell, Theory, and Rag & Bone, to name a few. But none “hold a candle to the Tissue Turtleneck.”

Like Anello, Dominique Porter, founder of sleepwear line the Glad Hours, has been wearing the turtleneck since she was a teen. “I had uniforms in school, and we were allowed to layer turtlenecks underneath our uniform, so it was just the turtleneck that everyone had,” Porter says. “Old habits die hard.” Imane Fiocchi, owner of Neon Lace Company, currently has around 20 turtlenecks in her closet and has been buying this one in bulk for years. She likes that the tissue-thin turtleneck is just ever so slightly sheer.

The founder of the Brooklyn-based jewelry studio Catbird, Rony Vardi, hates layering — “it makes me feel like a squished sausage” — but this turtleneck is the only exception to that rule. The turtleneck fits just like a T-shirt — she even pairs it underneath past-their-prime vintage tees. She recently skied for the first time in a decade with this turtleneck (underneath a sweater). “It’s cotton, which works well when you’re going from the cold outdoors to the overheated indoors,” she said. It comes in 17 other colors — the most of any turtlenecks on our list — including “warm taupe” and “burnished barn.”

Best fitted turtleneck

“I have words,” is how illustrator and Quartz art director Alexandra Citrin-Safadi started our correspondence about this turtleneck, boasting that she owns four of them at the moment. It’s “the black turtleneck you’ll want (demand!) to be buried in,” she says. Citrin-Safadi prefers her turtlenecks to feel thick rather than tissue-thin: “Picture the kind of turtleneck that toddlers hate being stuffed into.” Kotn’s Fitted Turtleneck is “thick and soft without feeling dowdy” with a neck that doesn’t “wilt,” as she describes it. And on her five-foot-four frame, the turtleneck isn’t “cropped per se, but it does happen to hit at the perfect spot.” The turtleneck stands up so well against “a whole winter’s worth of washing” that she just keeps adding more to her collection. It has even replaced her former favorite (the Everlane Micro Rib, below). She adds, “Physically, it feels like a hug. Mentally, it feels like I have my shit together.” You can choose among four other colors, including “dijon” and “seaglass.”

Best oversize turtleneck

Fitted turtlenecks tended to be the most popular among our stylish women. But Everlane’s is just the opposite: very much oversize. This turtleneck checks off all the boxes for Joyce Lee, founder of lifestyle brand Her Place: a cropped cut and a straight silhouette that’s decidedly not as close to the body as most of the others on our list. She appreciates the “in-between neck height,” which shows a hint more neck than a true turtleneck would. It has become her go-to fall-slash-winter top that she constantly travels with, especially since the cashmere keeps her feeling cuddled up. It’s available in five other shades, including camel, espresso, and a color called “sand dune.”

Best stretchy turtlenecks

“Soft, sensuous, stretchy” is how Lucy Weisner, co-founder of avant-garde shop Café Forgot, describes this turtleneck. It has exposed seams all along the arms, cuffs, hem, and torso. The torso seaming even creates a trompe l’oeil of an hourglass. It’s made mostly from cotton but also with som