• by Admin Account
  • 16 Nov, 2016

Steve McQueen, James Dean, Michael Caine and every spy ever. Just a few names that spring to mind when thinking of a roll-neck. All names relating to coolness and style, which should tell us something.

The humble roll-neck is one of only a few garments that are in style forever, never breezing in and out on the winds of fashion. Not only this, but it is just as stylish as it is functional, leaving the wearer toasty against the elements whilst looking like one of the great style icons of the past and present.

How to wear a roll-neck

As well as the aforementioned points above, the roll-neck is also a multi-purpose garment that can be dressed up or down at will. Some ideas are as follows:

Causal: Paired with an equally humble pair of dark blue jeans, a pair of canvas trainers (Converse or Vans are always a safe bet) and a leather jacket or Harrington, the roll neck adds extra warmth to your neck and the opportunity to add a splash of colour. With monochrome shoes and a darker jacket, a deep forest green roll-neck will add a classy autumnal element to the look. Great for general day-to-day casual wear.

Smart-casual: By changing the canvas shoes to a smarter brogue and by swapping the jacket for a single-breasted coat, the look shuffles up the smartness scale. Keep the dark jeans and try an oxblood brogue matched to a burgundy roll-neck. The matching colours add extra detail to the look and by wearing a charcoal coat; the ever-safe monochrome element is added. More appropriate for a casual party or a trip to your local.

Smart: Change out the jeans for a pair of smart trousers (flannel or worsted wool in particular will add warmth and texture) and either keep the brogues or swap to a lace-less boot for less detail and an even smarter look. Keep the coat, or even swap to a double-breasted equivalent for a warmer and smarter option. A simple example; black leather boots, charcoal worsted wool trousers, a black or white roll-neck and a dark coat.

Formal: For a great way to nail casual Fridays in the office, pair your roll-neck with a suit. Mid-greys work particularly well with a black shoe and roll-neck combo, or try adding more colour with a burnt orange roll-neck and navy flannel suit. As ever; a double-breasted suit will be the most formal version of this look, with a miss-matched suit jacket and trouser look being the least formal version.

Roll-neck options

For your more formal looks, a lighter and thinner roll-neck is advisable. This is to mimic the thickness of a shirt so that your suit jacket still sits correctly on your body, without adding bulk that would otherwise distort the way the jacket sits. Obviously a thinner material will mean compromising warmth, that is, unless you consider parting with the extra cash and buying yourself a cashmere roll-neck. The un-rivaled warmth and softness of cashmere means you compromise nothing in the comfort department – though admittedly one would have to hand wash the delicate cloth.

A cheaper though similar option to cashmere is to buy a merino wool roll-neck. Also very soft and very warm, the merino is the slightly less luxury alternative. It’s price tag is often half that of cashmere, making it a much more friendly option. The only downside to merino is that it too is a delicate cloth that should also only be hand washed.

Finally you have your wool and wool blends. These are best reserved for your more casual looks, as the cloth will need to be thicker in order to achieve the same warmth as the two above options. A thicker roll-neck can give you the option of a cable knit or similar effect, which will add depth and texture to your look. You needn’t worry about distorting a suit jacket with casual looks either, so you can buy the garment in whichever thickness suits your taste.


So there we have it. Available in several styles, thicknesses and cloths; the roll-neck truly is mans best friend (sorry canines – we still love you).

Fielding & Nicholson - Tailored suits - Blog

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