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Knitwear & Sweaters

Can I wear a rollneck?

Can I wear a rollneck?

Ron Burgundy is hopefully not your go-to style icon. But San Diego’s favourite anchorman has one wardrobe secret it’s worth stealing – the rollneck. “It’s a great autumnal piece,” says Thread stylist Millie Rich. “Some people don’t think of them as stylish, perhaps because of the likes of Captain Birdseye. But Mick Jagger and Steve McQueen were also big fans. And they should be your inspiration.”

The rollneck is proof that it’s the little things that count; that slip of extra fabric plays an optical trick that broadens your shoulders but slims your body, particularly in finer fabrics. “If you have a short neck, just make sure you go for a shorter roll,” says Millie. “A mock-rollneck, which only has half as much fabric, is also a good idea. Otherwise it can look bulky.”

The other genius of the rollneck is that you look interesting and stops you worrying about accessories. “It does away with the need for a scarf, but you still stay warm,” says Millie. A rollneck adds some loucheness to a blazer and means no stressing over your tie, or whether your collar and lapels match. It makes denim feel even more rugged – cable knit versions have always been worn by fishermen, so look great with workwear. “The options are limitless and there’s a style to suit everyone.” Here’s how to wear a rollneck well, at work and the weekend.

The smart rollneck

Smart rollneck

Photographed: Oliver Spencer merino rollneck (£165); Grenson Archie brogues (£210); Braun BN0032 watch (£119); Reiss slim tailored trousers (£125); London Undercover telescopic umbrella (£65)

Outfit: Fine-gauge rollneck, formal trousers, brogues

Why it works: “A lightweight fabric is most flattering and smarter, so look for materials like cashmere or merino. The rollneck is a less formal swap for your usual shirt and tie, so you're after something that sits perfectly under a blazer – that means a fit that’s slim, but not skintight.

"Dark and neutral colours like grey, navy or black work best. The style is slightly bolder, so you don’t want to double down with wild shades. If you do want to experiment, think muted, autumnal tones like mustard, forest green or burgundy. Then anchor it by keeping the rest of your outfit fairly muted.”

The casual rollneck

Casual rollneck

Photographed: A.P.C. x Louis W. Svein rollneck (£285); Fracap M120 Scarponcino Boot (219); Anderson's woven belt (£79); MVP jeans (£40); Marks & Spencer leather gloves (£25)

Outfit: Chunky rollneck, dark jeans, hiking boots

Why it works: “The heavier your rollneck is, the more casual it looks. Which also means that you can be a bit more rugged in everything your pair it with. With the cold creeping up, now’s the time to start adding them to your wardrobe. Because they’re warm enough for frozen nights on the North Sea, you can wear one instead of a coat throughout autumn and on winter's warmer days.

"Plus, a ribbed or cable knit rollneck will add a lot of visual detail to your look even in restrained colours. So you can wear it by itself or with an overcoat and keep the whole look interesting, without being over-the-top.”