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Clothing

Rollneck Season

Kamau Hosten

While quite short of groundbreaking, the equal parts style and function tandem of the rollneck sweater makes it one of fall's most welcome choices in a man's closet.

Jacket by Hardy Amies, rollneck by Brioni, trousers by Benneton, loafers by Alden

Jacket by Hardy Amies, rollneck by Brioni, trousers by Benneton, loafers by Alden

The rollneck, or turtleneck, sweater has maintained its standing over the decades for most men. That is, it's a wonderful fall and winter asset for the man with a longer, thin neck. It serves as a shield against the wind in place of a scarf on mild days, and one more layer (under a scarf) on cooler days. Additionally, for the man with a longer neck, it can deemphasize this. Whereas a crewneck or v-neck sweater opens up, further elongating the face a neck, helpful for the man with a shorter neck and more, um, solid face and head.

It's best paired with odd jackets and trousers. Certainly a tweed jacket and a rollneck conjure up images of a college professor, which isn't a bad look to have. The style is less formal than its v-neck cousin, due to the lack of available space for a shirt and tie. Which means, it doesn't lend itself well to use with worsted suits but, certainly more fabrics with more substantial texture.

In cashmere, a blend or merino wool, the thinner the sweater, the dressier it is. Just as with a shirt and necktie, keep in mind harmony, since the focus will be on the sweater. Unless you're going for a militant look, the dark on dark is less flattering than Dead Presidents makes it seem. Plus, if you opt for merino wool, robbery will be less necessary to afford one.

This is high season for the rollneck. Participate.

Photos by Bevin Elias