The mock neck
I’m not sure about the mock neck.
It’s been having a resurgence recently - everyone is doing one, from Camoshita to Loro Piana, Margaret Howell to Inis Meain. I can’t remember the last time a style of knitwear became so ubiquitous so quickly.
But it’s a slightly weird style. And by weird I necessarily mean unusual, as in you don’t see many people wearing them. It also means I don’t own one, so I don’t know whether it looks good or not.
Without that experience, you turn to your style references: the people that have worn them through history, and as a result the people that other people will think about, when you wear one.
For me those references are golfers (Tiger Woods in particular) surfers (starting in the 1960s) and Steve Jobs. Apparently there were some breakdancers too, but that wasn’t something I was aware of.
I don’t mind the surfer reference, but I’m not sure about the other two. And only Jobs’ version was long-sleeved. Plus it was black, tucked into pale jeans. Pretty shapeless jeans too.
Being unusual can be a reason enough for clothes to appeal to some.
But it’s not usually what we’re aiming for with Permanent Style. We’re more interested in elegance and taste: in looking simply well dressed.
So let’s try to break this down from a PS point of view. What are the advantages of a mock neck?
Well, that higher neckline (than a crewneck) frames the face, which is usually good. It’s certainly the reason a roll neck (or polo neck, or turtleneck in the US) is flattering on many men.
But you’d have to say a roll neck does it better. The only advantage of the mock neck is that it can be more comfortable. I know some guys don’t wear roll necks for that reason, although I do also think it takes time to get used to it - I used to be the same, and now it’s one of my favourite things to wear.
You can also wear a shirt collar under a heavier roll neck, and avoid that issue without the shirt collar showing through. Or if you’re feeling very flamboyant, you can flip up the shirt collar and have the points sticking out the top of the roll neck, wing-collar style.
The other nice thing about a mock neck is warmth, as it covers more of the neck. And that’s certainly a reason it’s popular in functional clothing, from wet suits to base layers.
It’s also how I see the mock neck best worn - under an overshirt or similarly loose outer layer. Not on its own, and not necessarily with a tailored jacket.
Although I wouldn’t wear the colour combination, I do think it looks nice on Aleks Cvetkovic in that manner, in this video we did together.
Still, when it comes to warmth a roll neck still does it better. That might be too restrictive for surfing, or for climbing (ref. Drake’s) but not for just wearing around town under a coat.
Also, if the mock neck is being worn as a base layer, you really want a really fine knit, not the regular sweater weights most brands are offering.
No, it feels like the only reasons to favour a mock neck, are that they are unusual and therefore interesting, or that you can’t wear a roll neck.
Actually, one more - flipping the point about cultural associations on its head, I know there are some people that dislike roll necks for what they are reminiscent of (beatniks, philosophers, French people, French philosophers). Most of those people are women, actually, which should maybe worry heterosexual readers.
So if you can’t wear a roll neck, or don’t like its associations, wear a mock neck. Plus maybe as a base layer.
I don’t especially like how the mock neck looks on me in this shoot, though that’s perhaps unfair for two reasons.
One, my Adam’s Apple seems to be make it look oddly pointed at the front. Never seen that on anyone else.
And two, the jacket I’m wearing is from Anderson & Sheppard, and they always have a high collar. Which means the roll neck is sitting slightly underneath collar line, rather than above it. Were this a Neapolitan jacket, there would be a good half inch of clearance - more the line of a good shirt.
The mock neck worn, by the way, is from Colhay’s, and is a lovely version for anyone that wants a mock neck. Beautiful deep, dark brown, neat cut. Though given it’s to be worn over a T-shirt, rather than a shirt, I would have liked it in cashmere rather than their lambswool.
I do like this colour combination though: mid-grey checks, charcoal flannel, brown knitwear, dark brown shoes. It’s exactly the kind of sombre, subtle mix that particularly appeals to me right now.
Perhaps I’ll try it next time with a polo-collar sweater, buttoned up to the top. That’s another style we’ll be looking into in an article soon.
In fact there seems to be a theme here of neckline-related pieces. Following the Ciardi coat, the new Dartmoor, this article, and two more coming up. Plus there was this feature I wrote for Drake’s recently.
I think it’s the combination of cold weather and a desire to dress down tailoring, by wearing knitwear underneath. As ever, any and all thoughts, points and alternative cultural associations are welcome.
(I count Miles Davis as wearing a roll neck most of the time, by the way, rather than a mock neck. Yes, the collar was low, but it was turned over, folded down. A mock neck does not fold over.)
Clothes worn: Anderson & Sheppard bespoke jacket, Whitcomb & Shaftesbury bespoke trousers in Fox flannel, Cleverley bespoke shoes (ten years old last month - doing well).
Photography: Alex Natt @adnatt
This has always been my favourite jacket of Simon Crompton.
I empathise whole-heartedly with the sentiment that a roll neck would do the things it does much better than a mock neck. The latter just seems like the wearer decided to capitalise on the virtues of a roll neck, but got cold feet at the last minute. Still, if it works for others then I’m glad they’ve found an element of menswear that they can fold into their style.
In any case, this article is an interesting and useful study on how much difference mere centimetres can make, which I believe PS has discussed extensively before and is always a crucial element of finding and settling on one’s personal style.
It appears your issue with it is that it’s just a bit too low for you (I agree the Adams apple V is a bit distracting), the simple solution would be to just find a nice and high mock neck I think the cut of an N. Peal may suit your rather long neck better. On to the topic of neck lengths have you considered it may just not suit your specific body shape? Others with shorter necks and/or smaller heads a roll neck may simply look out of proportion, food for thought.
Yes, very good point – if you have a particularly short neck, a mock neck might work better. Though I still think there’s something a little more elegant about the way a roll neck rolls over, unlike the mock neck.
I think that probably goes to your first point as well – even if a mock neck were higher in cut, I’d still prefer a roll neck, as they’d be almost the same height but to my taste the roll neck looks smarter
Funny how intuitions can differ. For me it’s the mock neck that looks smarter because it’s simpler without the added roll. But of course it’s purely subjective.
In any case, while the collar being too low versus the jacket would bother me too, overall I like this look very much.
I think the smartness of a roll neck may be because of both reputation and proportions, roll necks are a staple in modern tailoring being much less of a trend than a mock neck and the added thickness around the neck creates a more proportional size when used with tailoring emphasising that more masculin V shape, it also frames the face and jawline better because it comes right up to the chin just like a shirt does. A short mock neck on the other hand generally only draws attention to the neck when worn with tailoring.
Nicely put. I feel there might be something in the fact that the roll neck turns over at the top, as well, rather like a French cuff – ie there’s something smarter about not ending in a seam or raw edge
I think perhaps the mockneck is primarily a marketing stratedgy; making something no one particularly wants or needs or indeed that provides any improvement on alternatives. Give me a roll neck anyday.
As an aside, I wouldn’t have been certain that mock-neck was brown if you hadn’t stated it. Possibly an illustration of what you are always saying about cold/warm colours, this being a cold (dark) brown?
Yes, probably. It certainly qualifies as both dark and cold – brown must be particularly tricky, given the range it can encompass
I actually own a think dark green merino mock neck from Inis Meain. I see it as a warmer type of crew neck. I also like it but would never wear it with tailoring. And it is definitely too thick to use as a base layer.
I have never worn one, or really thought about it, but it strikes me that a mock neck might work well with other knitwear layered on top?
Perhaps a shawl collar, yes – as I say above, it’s the way I like them most.
Or do you mean, with a crew neck over the top, for example, and the mock peeking out from underneath?
Another historical menswear reference is the ubiquitous Steve McQueen, who famously wore them in the original Thomas Crown Affair.?v=1564398292
For a while now Mason & Son have made the sky blue version worn in the golfing scene, which I think they’ve done a really nice job with. https://masonandsons.com/products/mock-turtle-neck
Recently they have released the navy version that is seen in the gilder sequence. https://masonandsons.com/products/navy-mock-turtleneck-sweater?_pos=1&_sid=b69e6e887&_ss=r
Thanks, I’d forgotten about that one.
Not sure I like the style that much, but it might be the golfing association.
I always internally roll my eyes to the back of my head when I hear Steve McQueen being referenced as a style icon. The guy was a good-looking prick popularizing a toxic idea of “coolness” that I guess appeals to the same kind of people who also think that GQ liquor ads represent the “gentleman” lifestyle (not suggesting you are one of them, Anonymous).
Steve McQueen’s much ballyhood “cool” was a combination of near-antisocial hyper-individualism and brooding self-destructiveness. It somehow resonated with the ethos of the late 60’s in the US, but, if we look at the same time period, I much prefer Sean Connery’s equally masculine but less conflicted brand of cool. Besides, Connery as Bond seemed to be having fun and enjoying life, while most of the characters McQueen played didn’t seem to be having much fun!
I love the idea that any clothing of Drake’s clothing would be used as hiking attire. Mock necks remind me of a particular kind of 50s beatnik style, which is fine if that’s the thing you’re going for but to me makes it very hard to wear it without looking terribly affected. I suppose it holds a certain utility if your neck is particularly short and therefore would be swamped by a roll neck?
Yes, true – see comment higher up
Something I tend to only wear as a base layer but in general I wonder if mock necks suit shorter necks and roll necks longer necks (in reality a question of the height to the style, but roll necks seem to usually be higher – although that might be my very limited experience).
Michael Browne wears a mock neck very well. But then he has a shorter neck and has practiced for many years. E.g. Michael at the Rake’s Summer Party in 2014 wearing a Smedley: https://postimg.cc/yk7888Nz
(picture copyright The Rake)
As said by other commenters, it all depends on your neck line & physique. If you really have a longggg neck, I found the ladies do compliment you wearing a roll neck 🙂
Good point, Mikey’s doing some nice ones under his own brand now as well.
Not surewhy golf per se should be a negative.
Sure, modern golf wear is shocking stylistically, but if you go back in time there was some real style. My aunt emigrated to the US and sold Italian and Scottish knitwear into country clubs and ski resorts. We still have some pieces, and the quality and style is incredible.
Snead and Palmer looked great in their golf kit.
Agree with all your points, it’s a weird style that suits only a particular body type (that would still look better in a crewneck or turtleneck). I know you’re probably friends, but I also don’t think Aleks Cvetkovic dresses well, I always find it off-putting when men so obviously care too much about their clothes being “interesting”, almost like a costume and somehow effeminate (no bad feelings here, I found his podcast very entertaining and appreciate his work).
I couldn’t find any better article to place this question: What do you think about rugby shirts? Do you ever wear them and how?
I don’t really wear rugby shirts, no. I see the appeal as an unexpected partner to tailoring, and they’re certainly comfortable in good qualities. But it feels too schoolboy-like to me. Perhaps it’s just the fact I wore one at school for so long.
Interesting association. Mine is the opposite – I had never seen them until I went to graduate school in glasgow, and so my associations are with a really enjoyable, if chilly and damp, part of my life. I wear them quite often in casual outfits where a sweater would be too heavy. I also find having a collar helps smarten it up just a tiny bit
It does, you’re right. I can see the style appealing, perhaps if it was in a different material. Not that different in many ways to the collared, half-zip sweatshirts you get from some Japanese brands like Full Count, which I love.
I have an average length neck, neither particularly short nor long. I prefer the look of roll necks for much the same reasons as you, Simon, it dislike the feel of the wool, or cashmere against my skin. I have one mock neck pullover from Sunspel in a mid-grey tweedy sort of wool, that’s quite nice, but have never been tempted to buy any others. However, I have a mock neck, long sleeved t-shirt that is great under a roll neck pullover. It’s just high enough to provide an effective layer between the neck of the pullover and the skin, but short enough not to show above the roll neck, so the mock neck t-shirt is perfect in that context. (Alternatively, I use a silk scarf as a layer between the pullover and my neck, which works equally well).
I think the koreans make and style mockneck knitwear the best.
I am seriously considering ordering a few from Iolo Korea, this is the owners instagram and I really like how he wears them.
The other common association with turtlenecks is that you inevitably look like you’re trying to cover up a hickie, which is something a mock neck wouldn’t be very good at doing.
For me, this neckline is just too reminiscent of dentist’s or physician’s smock. And there’s a hint of sadistic villainy about the look when worn with tailoring. In a rollneck, one can imagine oneself as a master cat burglar out on one last job before retirement to the Riviera. But a mock turtle top emits a powerful keen amateur torturer vibe which could well be a turn off for some.
Blimey. Talk about associations
Haha brilliant and agreed
Just as you’ve written about shirt collars, a rollneck might be better suited to people with longer necks and mocknecks better suited to people with shorter ones. Gobi is currently offering what they call a “high neck” (https://www.gobicashmere.com/us/products/mens-high-neck-sweater-navy) with a neckline that appears to be lower than a rollneck but higher than a mockneck.
True – something touched on in a few comments above.
That looks quite similar to a mockneck to me, but maybe it’s the model or angle.
The collar height issue kills mock necks for me. The shot of the jacket collar above the pullover collar just feels wrong to me, and actually makes me “feel” uncomfortable to look at in much the same way, I imagine, as you have suggested people can “feel” uncomfortable at the sight of woollen knitwear worn directly next to the skin. I really dislike jacket or coat collars in direct contact with the back of my neck – which now explains why I have never liked the mock neck. Rollnecks, or a proper collar, every time!
Simon, when want to wear nicer quality Chinos with a blazer or odd jacket, do you have recommendations on rise and leg opening? More importantly, should such chinos have a crease? And if they don’t come creased can or should one be added?
If it’s something you’re going to wear with a jacket, I’d probably use the same proportions and fit as you’d have on any other tailored trouser.
The big issue with chinos is that fabrics are pretty much either good for tailoring (and so more tailoring cottons, finer) or for more casual wear (coarser, or garment washed). There’s nothing that works across both, in my view. And so, the tailored trousers should have a crease, the casual ones shouldn’t.
Thank you! Would you say an 8” bottom on cuffed and creased chinos is too large on a short guy (5’7”)?
I wouldn’t say it was too large or too small. It’s perhaps above average today, and your height should be a factor – but so should style, whether you like the style and it’s a look you want to pursue or not.
I think you don’t look good in these photos because the DB jacket covers most of your torso, making the mock neck look unproportioned. A turtleneck would make everything better. Or maybe a mock neck + SB jacket could work as well, that’s why I think Michael Brown looks good in the picture posted in another comment here above. Anyway, I admit I never knew/cared about mock necks until now… I just thought they were “odd turtle necks” 😀
Thank you Simon for the article. What do you think about a roll neck vs mock neck for short men? Have you heard or seen anything on the subject? I’m 5-7” and have always avoided them because I thought they weren’t flattering for a short man. Thank you in advance for your advice.
I think it’s worth looking at some of the comments above. A mock neck might work better if you’re shorter, perhaps
“No, it feels like the only reasons to favour a mock neck, are that they are unusual and therefore interesting, or that you can’t wear a roll neck. ”
I don’t think they’re unusual at all, it’s simply a question of what you feel like wearing at the time. I have a mockneck and a rollneck from the same brand and both in pima cotton. One reason I lean a bit more toward the mockneck is that it looks sharper within most combinations I put it with (as another post has noted). The rollneck contains more material and weighs down a bit on the upper part of the front, such that it’s often not smooth immediately below the seam. The mockneck always looks smooth and clean across the upper part and thus more elegant as an element in most combinations I wear.
(sidenote – I searched and couldn’t find any coverage of pima cotton on PS. I think it’s a revelation in terms of how it can drape with almost a silk-like quality, and how luxurious it feels against the skin – would be interested in your view).
On pima cotton – it depends a lot on how it’s made up. In a regular T-shirt, perhaps knitted more densely, you wouldn’t see much of a difference even if you felt it. But in something knitted it’s more noticeable. Also see superfine cottons in the shirt fabric guide for views there
I had both in the 60s. The necks of the cheap rollnecks I wore back then tended to sag very quickly. The mocks stayed tight because of the different knit.
I’m sure the better quality rollnecks worn by the readers here don’t have the same problem.
Regarding Felix’s comments on Steve McQueen, whilst I wouldn’t have expressed
them in that manner, I could never see him as a style icon. Perhaps I’m wrong, but if you compare Thomas Crown films 1& 2 I don’t think he wears clothes as well as Pierce Brisbane in number 2
I meant Pierce Brosnan.
I personally think Steve McQueen dressed well, entirely separate from being good looking or an unpleasant human being. I also liked the clothes better in the first movie. I think I’d have to watch them both again to judge which wore them better though, if that makes sense?
Normally, I am not attracted to the mock neck on its own. But I think the best use of the mock neck, which I have not seen mentioned here, is with an ascot or silk scarf, as was worn by Cary Grant in TO CATCH A THIEF. The mock neck comes up just high enough to hold the ascot in place, but not so high as to cover it. I bought my own mock necks specifically for this purpose. Some men, like myself, feel a bit self-conscious wearing ascots with open-neck shirts, whereas with the mock, the ascot only ‘peeks’ out a bit at the top. It adds a nice touch of elegance to a garment which, depending on your build, could make you look like a nightclub bouncer.
looks sleezy! good thing or bad thing? not my call
Lovely article, very much enjoyed the somewhat more informal writing style!
The mock neck feels to me too much like a compromise. Being from Holland, you might expect I’d like that about it, but in this case unfortunately not so much..!
Keep up the good work!
To me, a mock neck lends itself to a minimalist or even futurist style. The clean lines and high neckline look a lot like the top half of every “space unitard” costume from 70’s and 80’s movies. I don’t mean that in a bad way, haha.
In this sense, it diverges from the rollneck as a less-traditional option, freed from the stereotypes you observed with rollnecks. While a rollneck fits your dressier aesthetic much better (and would hide your Adam’s apple), I see mocknecks occupying a more casual lane. It’s likely to look better with unstructured top layers or no layers but a very clean silhouette.
Funny to run across this article after accidentally purchasing my first mockneck last week (I was online and did not look closely enough at the photos). I’m pairing it with no-break tapered trousers and tasselled loafers, and am pleased by my rather experimental results. I’ve always preferred roll necks, but now I sort of understand the appeal of a mock neck, even if it isn’t quite in alignment with my overall style.
I love wearing mock-neck sweaters with tailoring, it really is the best of both worlds: you don‘t get as steamy as you would in a roll-neck, but you still get a collar that protects the back of your jacket from getting stained with sweat, and you don’t have to constantly readjust said collar like you would on a roll-neck.
I bought a jumper from Drake’s during the factory shop sale which I thought was a crew neck but is a bit of a mock neck, although less prominent than the ones shown here. I took inspiration from your video about knitwear under sports jackets and tied a silk scarf underneath, I quite liked it although the scarf occasionally slipped down and needed readjusting a lot.
As for mock necks generally, I did develop a bit of a hankering for them whilst watching Star Trek Deep Space 9 and Voyager, but thankfully I resisted buying any thin cotton ones.
One more reference for us! Thanks Aaron
That was my immediate association, Aaron.
I call first dibs on the golden brown one shown in the link below for Simon’ s next readers’ dinner at Huntsman!
And I’m pretty sure the look Adam C. was going for above was: discerning shopper of Starfleet surplus stores who plays in a 23rd century rockabilly band.
(I jest, I jest. He looks great.)
‘Son of a Tailor’ have for the last few months been doing mock neck long and short sleeve T shirts in both supima cotton and merino wool. I’m a big fan of theirs as I think the quality is great for the price, the products wash well and the website algorithm really does work, resulting in a decent tailored fit.
I only wear Mocks and never a Roll Neck. Why? Two reasons. First, I have a short neck and Roll Necks simply bunch up under my chin. Second, I am (to put it delicately) perhaps a little more mature in age than many of those posting. As a result the effects of time and gravity on the skin under my jaw makes me look like I have 3 double chins when I have tried a Roll Neck. The problem largely disappears with a Mock. I would love to wear Roll Necks – I agree that they look better than Mocks but they just don’t work on me while Mocks look pretty good (if I do say so myself!).
Lee, I was about to say the same thing. A tight rollneck (what we call a turtleneck here in the States) looks very flattering under a sport coat worn by a young, clean-jawed man – see https://www.pinterest.com/pin/455567318534037263/ On the other hand, a well-made mockneck doesn’t push up all the loose skin when worn by an older gentleman. Who was it that said “The face may lie, but the neck tells the tale”?
I wear mocks as an alternative to the crew neck. I’ve always thought crew necks worn alone show too much neck and look strange with a tailored jacket. I wear a crew neck with a shirt which is a look I like.
Though I think I do share your assessment of the shoot, I appreciated the effort to cover a growing trend and look forward to the referenced future articles with a similar theme. I can’t shake the feeling that there must be a perfect mockneck out there somewhere; the Korean brand‘s style mentioned above does look nice. And really, I suppose they the philosophy that a high, close t-shirt neckline à la Warehouse is more flattering than a loose one, and that even a modest attempt to cover a long neck is better than none at all.
Can I also thank you for not presuming the heterosexuality of your readership. Though we often lament the predominance of menswear coverage with a cigars-and-sports-cars fixation, it’s worth adding to the list of gripes that such outlets often peddle ultra-masculine, exclusively heterosexual, antiquated viewpoints, that sometimes read as little more than poorly disguised “pick-up” tips.
Thanks Josh, and pleased it came across as a balanced look at a current trend. I often find too much of style coverage is a simple thumbs up or (occasionally) thumbs down.
Thanks too on the point regarding homosexuality. I would also want to appeal to as wide a range of people as possible, but I do think it’s hard to do that sometimes – you inevitably write from your own perspective, with some of your own presumptions. So it’s helpful to have it pointed out when this broader approach is done well, or indeed badly.
The neck doesn’t look bad on you but it just doesn’t do anything at all. There’s a feeling of go crew or turtle but at least make a decision. It’s too undecided in itself. Tiger is hardly an example to use either. He has no style at all.
Nice jacket. One of your best. But, the mock turtleneck reminds me of either the bouncers or those guys wearing tight mock turtlenecks with short sleeves at the club or bar. That is the type of person you see wearing this. Or weightlifters and wrestlers like the Rock. Also, it is so late 1980s and early 1990s look. Not a good look. Anyway, in the USA not a good look. Maybe you guys in the UK like it.
Definitely prefer a proper turtle neck especially with a bit of cashmere. I think the mock neck works with the wider lapel double-breasted jacket though – it’s quite forgiving but for me the classic turtle always wins. Just bought an Ede & Ravenscroft cashmere turtle neck and it’s not coming off this winter. Always good to try these things though. Definitely, one to try and then maybe not repeat!
I would argue Daniel Craig pulls off the mock neck quite well.
He does look good, but he would look good in most things like that. It’s not necessarily that relevant to other people – even just being very figure hugging. It looks great on a great figure. I’m not sure looking at pictures like this is that useful, for that reason?
I prefer a roll neck because it is (1) more comfortable around the neck, (2) at least for me, more flattering because it helps lengthen the neck, and (3) as you mentioned, roll necks (turtle necks in the US) have certain cultural associations that I’d rather just avoid.
Generally speaking, it’s an attractive quality for a man to have what dancers refer to as a “beautiful back” – i.e. a straight line that extends along the back and up to the nape of the neck. In fact, man male dancers will actually keep their hairline at the back of the head fairly high in order to create the appearance of a longer neck. Of couse, there’s a natural limit if you have too long a neck than that’s not flattering either; the proportions are off.
In short, if you have a very long neck, a roll neck might be preferable for this reason, but if you have either a short- or medium-length neck, a mock neck is more flattering.
Thank you for the interesting article. I like mock necks but, as a man in his fifties, I find that they don’t flatter my neck. The constricted collars pinch the skin and draw attention to the sorts of folds and lines some of us get as we age (and I am not even overweight).
Your observation about the disdain some women have for rollnecks on men makes me wonder if the issue is that women see rollnecks as belonging in *their* wardrobes, given how well they hide aging necks.
The style might be genuinely unisex, but it wouldn’t surprise me if women find the rollneck look more feminine for that reason — Frenchmen and beatniks aside.
Wearing a mock turtleneck in the Bay Area is like wearing a yellow jersey for a bike ride. You can do it, just not advisable.
I regularly wear a mock, mainly because I have a short neck and most rolls are too long for me. I find them quite versatile, either as a base or mid layer under a soft jacket- work shirt or cord.
My tip would be to avoid any colour regularly used as a Star Trek uniform.
I really enjoy reading your blog, instagram pages and am slowly beginning to understand some things and slowly improve my wardrobe with few, quality items.
You say “Though given it’s to be worn over a T-shirt, rather than a shirt, I would have liked it in cashmere rather than their lambswool. ” Can you expand on that?
Good to hear Graham.
I was just making the point that a lambswool knit like this can be a little scratchy if just worn over a T-shirt. But that’s not a concern if worn over a shirt.
Definitely in favour of the roll neck. Simon how likely is it that a) the PS knitwear will be back and b) there is going to be a PS rollneck version of the knitwear.
We have the PS knitwear in the cardigan and collared style, but we’re not bringing back the crewneck or V – there’s just too much similar out there. And no plans for a rollneck either. Sexton does a nice, very fine rollneck if you’re looking for that.
I like roll necks but find them too warm when indoors (and outdoors, too, if the day isn’t very chilly). To me, the mock neck achieves enough of what I like about a roll neck, but with more comfort. They’re established enough to not be gimmicky and the fact that they’re lower than a roll neck makes them a more restrained, more discreet option. There is unquestionably a place for the mock neck in the sartorial wardrobe.
I like the outfit, by the way, and the shape created by your Adam’s apple actually compliments the ‘V’ plunge between the lapels.
I do not believe the mock turtle is at its best with tailored clothing. Worn in lieu of a polo with a relaxed jacket such as the Armoury City Hunter or 3PB is more appropriate in my opinion.
John Smedley has been making very good quality mock turtle necks for a long time and is my “go to” for the colder months.
Uh, definitely not under tailoring.
On the colour combination, I’d have sworn having read you in the past against dark brown shoes and charcoal flannels (like, fine with mid or light grey but not charcoal). Does memory fail me or have you changed your mind?
No, as long as the brown is dark enough, they’re fine with charcoal. It’s just that most shoes aren’t as dark as that. Even if you describe it as dark brown, what most people imagine is not as dark
So that might have been rather against warmer browns e.g. in snuff / tobacco suede maybe?
Absolutely, anything but the very darkest browns. You want them to be almost as dark as the trousers, if not darker
Simon you consider a long sleeve v-neck cardigan as part of a staple to have for knitwear?
If you want a capsule wardrobe and already own a navy v -neck sleeveless cardigan, what color would you choose for your one long sleeve v-neck cardigan? Still navy? Thanks
If you like cardigans and wear that style, then yes certainly.
As to colour, the problem is you’re probably getting that second cardigan because you want it to go with the same clothes, but be a warmer option. So yes it should really be the same colour
I, too, have a love/hate affair with the mock neck. I wore them with regularity at the height of their popularity a few decades ago (had ’em in pretty much every color), often as stand-alone garments or under a sport coat as this was before the advent of the overshirt as a menswear staple. These days, IMHO, the look is a tad passé.
That said, as I see them coming back (somewhat), I share your viewpoint, Simon. My neck is on the thinner side; technically, the mock would flatter me. I’ve picked up the slack with a few high-neck custom T-shirts from Son Of a Tailor. Love the look and feel of these as a first layer.
Like yourself, I prefer the roll neck, which offers greater versatility and warmth. With the softer merino woolens or cashmeres, I can wear them right against my skin. Factor in the cold Chicago wind, which can be harsh on a fresh-shaven neck, and the roll neck stems the tide while keeping me stylish.
Have you tried the Luca Faloni elevated mock neck in chunky cashmere?It looks to ride as high as a conventional roll neck sweater.Best of both worlds?
I haven’t tried it, but no for me I’d always prefer a normal roll neck. What are you gaining by not having it roll over?
IMHO most mock necks look a bit too casual, a bit too close to a t-shirt, to be worn with tailored jackets. It may just be me, but a true roll neck is better, as the roll more properly takes the place of a shirt collar. Mock necks are a concession to hot weather, but if weather permits, I always will prefer a roll neck.
I’ve got a couple of John Smedley’s mock neck. They look very nicely under a sport jacket in the office. I like rollnecks too, but they might be too warm in an office. I prefer a mock neck above a crew neck. A crew neck might rub and stain the inside collar of a sport jacket, where a mock neck has more material preventing staining the jacket collar.
Love this article. A thought – the mock neck alone with your charcoal flannels looks very elegant to me! I agree it doesn’t quite work with the lines of the jacket here, but I’d love to know how it works with one of your neapolitan or unstructured jackets where there is a lower profile. I’m finding that increasingly I need to “dress down” jackets, so am intrigued by this
Personally I don’t think it works just with the flannels, or with a softer jacket.
I think I’d always rather wear a collared knit, as we showed here, or for something more contemporary, a crewneck as discussed here
What do you think of wearing a shirt under the mock neck? Does this Act as a “break” and make it look more like a stylish high crewneck?
It certainly acts as a break, but to be honest I think it usually looks a little odd, as in it’s strange you’re wearing such a high-cut sweater. But it is certainly easier to wear that way
How would you compare the Private White submariner with the Luca Faloni roll neck? I have two LF cable knit sweaters (one in Dolomite and one in nocciola) which I love, but I’ve never tried their roll neck before.
I have a PW submariner (in navy) which I love, but it is slightly too chunky to wear under a sports jacket – I’m only able to do so if I leave the jacket unbuttoned.
Aside from thickness, how would you compare the cashmere and the design of the neckline?
I think the cashmere is a similar quality, but being Scottish, a denser knit with the Private White. The neckline is also looser and larger – but you can see this yourself, I presume, given you have both?
Thanks. I only just got the submariner on sale (currently 50% off). At the moment, the PW submariner is slightly less soft than the LF (though still very nice) but I wasn’t sure if that’s due it to being new – I’ve only worn it twice.
Not sure why I didn’t think of this but I just tried on the LF sweater sans shirt and it does fit better under a jacket. Presumably, the fitness is the same as the LF roll neck.
Edit: I meant “thickness,” not “fitness”
Hi, Simon! I bought a while back a lovely ‘single thread’ mock neck by Benetton, which is in a lovely and very fine merino. My problem is that it is in a bold colour, like this one: https://www.eggradients.com/color/maya-blue-color. I have been having difficulties wearing it with anything but dark wash jeans or (off)white trousers and a navy Harrington jacket, but sportscoats have been a real challenge. Any suggestions on how to style it? Thanks!
I’m not sure to be honest Stephan, I don’t wear mock necks really or knitwear that colour. Sorry, the only things I’d suggest are the ones you’ve already tried
I would think a mock neck shirt would be good for cold weather as I’m not a fan of turtlenecks. Are there any other cold weather shirtings besides mocknecks and flannels and maybe twill weaves?
Yes there are lots of options. There are different weights of brushed cottons, like a flannel; then there are cashmere/cotton mixes; and also pure wools that can be nice.
Can you wear a shirt underneath and flip up the shirt collar and have the points sticking out the top with a mock neck as well?
I don’t really like that look with roll necks, but it’s worse with mock necks, because you see so much of the collar.
Or at least we can say, it’s a more showy look that way