Can I Wear a Turtleneck With my Suit? Your Questions Answered

When the weather gets colder outside, you probably wonder what you can do to create a stunning cooler-weather wardrobe that has a stylish look and is on-trend. A suit and turtleneck can be a great way to spice up a business casual look, but it has to be done right. Today the Oliver Wicks team brings you some top tips on pairing a turtleneck and suit, so you look smart and put-together no matter where you go.

How to Wear a Turtleneck With a Suit

Man Wearing a Suit and a Turtleneck

We get it. A turtleneck can be a little intimidating, especially if you’ve only been used to ratty tees and your comfortable jeans. But, pairing it with a suit? That feels a step too far. 

Yet this creates a perfect autumn/winter transition look that’s smart enough to wear in a more formal setting and has a relaxed vibe that’s perfect for coffee dates and life around town. If you’re hoping to upgrade or expand your wardrobe to a more sophisticated look, then the turtleneck suit outfit needs to be on your radar. 

Turtleneck Basics

Firstly, what is a turtleneck? It’s a style of upper body garment with a rolled neck. Because the name refers to the style, not a specific fabric or construction, you get lots of things that call themselves ‘turtlenecks.’ This could be a cotton shirt, almost like a cool weather tee shirt, right through to chunky knits. So there’s a lot of room for style. Here are some key things to keep in mind:

  • The thinner the fabric or knit, the easier it will sit under a garment. So plan accordingly. Save chunky knit turtlenecks to wear without a jacket or with a coat.
  • Dark colors look seasonal and sleek. Lighter colors are tougher to wear, as they look a little out-of-place in cool weather unless you have very dark skin. Burgundy, sage green, gray, blue, black, and dark brown suit most people. 
  • Put your turtleneck on before styling your hair or using products on your face, as it will pull over the head and muss up anything else.
  • Realize this is an oddly divisive look for men. It’s rather like the gray suit or blue suit shoe pairing debate in men’s fashion. It will be beneficial to be aware that a turtleneck sweater with a suit will always look more business casual than formal and match events accordingly.

Transitional Piece, not Eventing

Smirking Man Wearing Sunglasses and a Turtleneck

Turtlenecks are seasonal transition pieces. They’re perfect for cooler weather, and under a blazer, they make for a perfect smart-casual look. While some men worry that it will feel bulky on the neck, bear in mind it’s no more intrusive than a tie when properly fitted and means you don’t have to wear a scarf.

Styling a Turtleneck Shirt and Suit

So, how to wear a turtleneck with a suit?
Firstly, embed the phrase ‘simplistic elegance in your mind. You don’t want to overpower this look. It’s already got a focal point of interest with the neck roll. You don’t need to add more and more.

So we’d suggest stepping away from the patterns. Rather pair two nice color contrasts. Make your turtleneck a warm jewel tone and your suit a cool neutral. Or pair a black turtleneck with a suit that’s a little lighter (say a lovely soft gray) as a way to lift black and make it work better as a day-to-day look. Matching your suit and turtleneck color also works well, although it can look a little too much of a good thing on some men, so play to your taste.

A blue turtleneck with a suit will take you anywhere as a casual day look. While we don’t typically recommend black suits, as they’re hard to wear, this is also one exception. Instead, you can use a looser, more informal black suit with any number of bold turtleneck shades underneath, and for once, escape the ‘undertaker’ look that so often mars black suit styling. So if you ever fancied a smart-casual black suit, this is your chance! 

If you’re looking for smart-casual day wear, a turtleneck with a blazer rather than a full suit is always going to be a good choice. And remember, while turtlenecks for suits are a great look, turtlenecks are also a fantastic way to explore blazers of more intriguing, textured fabrics. Think tweeds and corduroys. 

Whether or not you wear a belt is up to you, but if you’re planning on pairing a turtleneck and blazer, you might like to go with one to act as a finishing accessory. Turtlenecks can also be a nice way to show off pleated pants, whether you’re wearing a suit separates or a full suit.

The Double-Breasted Suit and Turtleneck

This is a match made in style heaven. The double-breasted suit brings a little more formality to the table, while the turtleneck creates a chic and sleek look that's hard to beat. If you ever wanted to cultivate a fascinating personal look, it’s one well worth considering. Of course, we’d vote for the best turtleneck for a suit look you can create. Just remember- this is already a ‘fussy’ combination. So, while a good pair of shoes and watch go with everything, don’t overdo the accessories for this one. 

Matching Fabrics and Turtlenecks

You don’t want to put on a bold color turtleneck with a loudly patterned suit. However, if you prefer a retro look, the exception is a bold color turtleneck and a crisp white-and-black pinstripe.

Suppose you’re after a sleek transitional autumn/spring look and want to wear either a suit or blazer. Instead, lean towards either a cotton turtleneck or a very tight, thin knit.

Breathability is always a plus. You stay warm but not overheated. If you want to play with texture and fabric types, save that for the jacket itself. Let the turtleneck serve as a solid, bare canvas to showcase your suit jacket

The Don’ts of Wearing a Turtleneck with a Suit

Man Wearing a Red Turtle Neck and Black Jacket

So, what can’t you do with a suit and a turtleneck sweater? 

  • This look should not be used somewhere a tuxedo is the dress code, and you cannot put a bow tie or tie with it (well, unless very avant-garde fashion is your thing).
  • You also would not pair a turtleneck under a suit with a vest. It’s a garment for use with two-piece suits only.


A turtleneck with a suit does have its place in the men’s fashion world. While you wouldn’t take it to the boardroom, it’s a great way to broaden your wardrobe and transition your favorite suits into different seasons. Men trying to cultivate an elegant aesthetic, it’s a good way to clean up your fashion without relying on a shirt.