4 Strikingly Simple Ways to Style a Turtleneck

Without looking like you stepped straight out of Talbots catalog.
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The running joke during the fall collections (at least among this party of one) was, "Every time a designer sends a turtleneck down the runway, an angel gets its wings." And while it's always kind of silly to declare that basic articles of clothing are suddenly in style -- Pants are back! Dresses are back! Jeans are back! -- it truly is the case with these funnel-neck knits. In fact, it would be easier to list the shows where they didn't make an appearance, but if you're curious they popped up at the Row, Proenza Schouler, Derek Lam, Balenciaga, Stella McCartney, Ralph Lauren and so on.

The good news is that they're as versatile as they are ubiquitous. Ribbed, thin styles have especially magical metamorphic powers, shifting from studious to slightly sexy with just a few easy pieces. But since this is such a classic staple, we find it's best to just go with the heritage thing when putting things together -- think rich colors, simple silhouettes, not a lot of prints -- instead of getting too crazy. That said, a few extra flourishes are key to avoid looking like you stepped straight out of a Talbots catalog. Here, our four favorite ways to wear the sweater of the season.

If you’re headed to work, try layering it under a dress, which will allow you to go nuts with all manner of copious cutouts that you'd otherwise have to invest in complicated lingerie to pull off. This particular sheath has crisscross straps in the back that are reminiscent of a schoolgirl uniform in just the right way (i.e. not too twee). Soften the lines and lighten the palette with an oatmeal wrap cardigan -- better than a blazer here -- and pick a heel with some pattern. The final touch: a minimalist gold choker to highlight the neckline (or rather lack thereof).

Not to peddle in clichés, but this outfit is perfect for the literary girl who has a subscription to Kinfolk and prefers a terrarium over a bouquet of lilies any day. Get a little experimental and add a wool vest or T-shirt on top, just be sure and leave the turtleneck untucked so it peeks out from the bottom for an elongating effect. Black-and-white checked trousers bring energy to the solids but look tidy, and chunky loafers lend a nice boy-meets-girl vibe. Important note: You must wear any bracelets over the sleeves. It's a styling trick that Dhani first noticed at Steven Alan's presentation, and we've been obsessed ever since.

For '60s meets '70s sex kitten appeal, go monochrome with an A-line mini. Choose one in a patent finish to break things up, and throw on with a substantial herringbone blazer for a little of what fashion people call "interest." Cinch the jacket to highlight a waist and get in on the season's wide belt trend (fashion PSA: Topshop has a strikingly similar version of Louis Vuitton's knotted style for $35 if you're interested). As for an extra-long circular pendant? So Jane Birkin.

And now for the fashion blogger special. That means cozy, luxe-looking pieces chosen with a tasteful eye. This bright blue and burgundy boyfriend coat offers a cool, modern take on traditional tartan. For a comfortable but polished match, pair it with jeans that have the crisp look of raw denim but come with a bit of stretch. And since we still can't get Caroline de Maigret's red, white and blue Adidas high-tops from last year out of our heads, we had to sneak in a similar style.