Having noticed Will’s three-post streak of grey the other day and deduced that he appears to have brought his bedtime reading to work, I will attempt to save us all from 47 more such posts by introducing some color to this blog. If you must go tieless this winter, avoid the open-shirt-with-suit look which has replaced the untucked striped shirt with pants as the outfit of choice for the unimaginative peripherally stylish man. While Mark Cuban can sort of carry it off if we are not being critical, the rest of us, not having acceded to his role as successor to Richard Branson’s role of charismatic billionaire, shouldn’t try to ape him. Instead, try a turtleneck, like one of the stack of single-ply cashmeres in a spectrum of colors pictured here by Caerlee Mills or something from John Laing. They’re light enough to wear under a jacket or sportcoat and soft enough to be miles more luxurious than luxury fine-gauge wools (whose makers’ constant arms race to come up with higher and higher, barely comprehensible, yarn fineness numbers benefits their marketing more than it does the wearer). And, of course, they’re warm. Warm enough to wear without a jacket indoors and under a coat outdoors in brisk weather without the additional fussiness of a scarf. For, despite the love Will and I share for neckerchiefs, I’ve found that I just don’t want to deal with the extra thought (cue “O RLY” from the peanut gallery) of remembering to wear a winter scarf, knotting and unknotting it passing from outdoors to in, the preciosity of wearing it around indoors if the place I happen to be is underheated, and, especially, remembering not to forget it somewhere. (Of course, if you must wear a scarf, you can’t do better than the cashmere scarves by Begg, as sold by Will – and I say this as someone who acquired his long before writing for this site).
Besides, in addition to providing a blessed infusion of glorious color, a good solid-colored cashmere rollneck provides a suitable (pardon the awkward metaphor) canvas to play with pattern and texture in the rest of what you’re wearing without the risk of the sort of self-conscious busy-ness that bedevils some of my sprezzatourist camwhore e-friends on the internets. I had debated whether to address concerns that turtlenecks are in fashion right now and thus risk being dated and unfashionable in a few moments. But I realized I’ve been wearing them for 20 years, fashion or not. Like a military-style greatcoat, a good shearling, a Chelsea boot or an RJ cat pocket square, turtlenecks are one of those perennially good-looking fashion touchstones that get cited and interpreted by designers no matter what the fashion trend of the moment is. And, as with the above, there is a variety of different style icons whose influences you can draw on in sporting one: think of John Saxon in Enter the Dragon purring louchely, “I like his style” or Lord Snowdon’s bespoke turtleneck formal shirt that was too hip for a doorman in the 1960s, the late playboy Gunther Sachs, Steve McQueen in Bullitt, Marvin Gaye regal in a royal blue one on Playboy After Dark, Manfred Mann in the 1970s, Peter Saville any time. Only please avoid those strangely circumcised-looking mock turtlenecks unless it’s Dress Like Haircut 100 Day.
You can even wear most of the colors pictured with most shades of grey. Just don’t write any addled Twilight-based fanfic about it.