‘Today the ensemble I wore was pretty much as colourful as the weather at the moment - shades of grey featuring a bit of black.The day was quite a basic day in the office with a couple of meetings, so I opted for a light-weight wool sports coat by Lubiam combined with the lighter grey flannel slacks (part of a suit) from Sauma and a mid-grey woolen tie, copped from Berg & Berg winter sales a few weeks ago. Even though I rarely wear black shoes for the office these days - for this combination these black oxfords by Alfred Sargent were the optimal choice.
Sports coat: L.B.M 1911 Shirt: Eton of Sweden Trousers: SaumaTie & PS: Berg&Berg Shoes: Alfred Sargent
The French Connection and the Golden Age of the Turtleneck
When you think of the representative wardrobe item from 1971′s The French Connection, you probably think of Popeye Doyle’s (Gene Hackman’s) porkpie hat, allegedly a signature of the real-life New York narcotics detective Popeye is based on. And it’s a cool hat. But the real stars of the movie are the turtlenecks, worn by pretty much everyone but Hackman. Black, navy, cream, even yellow, they’re worn primarily under sportcoats, by cops (Roy Scheider as Cloudy), criminals (Fernando Rey as Charnier), and those in between (Frederic de Pasquale as Devereaux). In the blustery fall/winter settings in New York and coastal France, these guys look comfortable and continentally cool.
I like the Hemingwegian ruggedness of a fisherman-style turtleneck, but for sportcoat wear you’re better off with something with a smooth hand and fitted shoulders, in cashmere or a finely knit wool (I’m not ready for cotton turtlenecks yet). With a plain-ish sweater, a heavily patterned or textured sportcoat (like Scheider’s in the first photo above, or de Pasquale’s in the last) works best. Navy is maybe the easiest (and most forgiving) color to wear, but grays, burgundys, and greens are good matches for fall-toned sportcoat fabrics as well. Lighter colors like oatmeal or cream can look great but can be less flattering and a pain to keep clean.
Uniqlo—For those unsure if they’re ready for the turtleneck, Uniqlo’s $40 version is a relatively painless way to give it a shot. The price belies a pretty decent sweater.
Berg and Berg—I like B+B’s Italian merino turtlenecks, which are a good value at $89. B+B adjusted the fit this year so you should be able to go true to size (I bought one sized up last year).
Vintage—Ebay, Etsy, and consignment stores are good bets for well-made vintage turtlenecks. I often see cashmere versions going for $50. Search for brands like Brooks Brothers, or by country of origin like “made in Scotland.” Check measurements and be wary of vintage sizing, which was slim in the 70s and 80s but big in the 90s; plus some sweaters have been washed and shrunk. And as with any vintage wool clothing, keep an eye out for moth damage.
Suitsupply Napoli Blue Plain wool suit $399
Attolini light blue shirt €348
Shibumi Hardy Minnis wool/mohair handrolled navy Tie €99
Trianon 18-Karat white gold, topaz and sapphire cufflinks $2,450
Montblanc Stainless Steel Tie Clip $235
Meermin chestnut calf oxfords €160
Berg & Berg Va…