No one was more surprised than me when I bought this turtleneck. I was home for the holidays when my mother and I decided to take a trip to the local mall, because that is what you do in the suburbs after the first day of boredom sets in. My mom wanted to exchange a gift she had received from Talbots, a store that I’d never think to set foot in because, like J. Jill and Chico’s, I’d always written off as a “mom store.”
Walking inside, it wasn’t lost on me that I was at least 20 years younger than the average shopper. But as I trailed behind my mom, I kept finding myself admiring different pieces, picking up a cherry red “ski” sweater or a pair of blue and green ankle pants in petite sizing (if you are under five-foot-three you know this is important). Before long, my arms were full of clothes — and then a turtleneck caught my eye.
The navy tartan, with stripes of red, mustard, and green, was technically part of the holiday collection, yet it was somehow subtle enough to wear long after the Christmas decorations disappeared. It looked like it belonged on the body of an early ’90s Ralph Lauren model tasked with selling a very nice bottle of perfume in a magazine, not on a rack of shapeless turtlenecks in a suburban mall. And when I yanked it over my head under the unflattering light of the Talbots dressing room, I knew I needed to own it.
Since purchasing this highly specific novelty turtleneck, I have been impressed with its versatility. I can wear it with high-waisted jeans if I’m really leaning into the “mom” look, or I can wear it under a denim jumpsuit paired with chunky gold hoop earrings while putzing around my Brooklyn neighborhood. (One friend was so taken by the turtleneck — and the source — she told me she immediately visited Talbots.com after we parted ways.)
The turtleneck wasn’t my only find, though; I’m pleased to let you know that I also purchased the aforementioned plaid pants and this delightful cardigan sweater, which has gold buttons, is covered in horses, and could easily pass for vintage Gucci.
The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.