It sounds boring I know, a polo-neck as a forever piece. Most women would probably opt for a Chanel bag, Laboutin shoes or a Valentino dress. But from my youngest days, I’ve always adored the chic understatement of a polo-neck. Admittedly when I was in my twenties, it was as much about disguising the line of my foundation, which so obviously didn’t match my skin tone, as it was about the Audrey Hepburn-style vibe a polo-neck suggested.
This season, polo-necks happen to be the neckline du jour. Designers from Victoria Beckham and Michael Kors to Christopher Kane and Pringle included them in their AW collections. Beckham herself since ditching the busty tops is a fan of both skinny ribbed and chunky oversized polo-necks, both of which she wears beautifully.
For me, they exude understated glamour. Remember that exquisite image of Marilyn Monroe wearing a black cashmere roll neck and capri pants? Ironically, she’d never looked sexier, yet there’s a softness and subtly to her in this photo that was rarely captured. A polo-neck is the epitome of the “less is more” fashion mantra. Monroe’s cashmere roll neck hints at her “assets” rather than flagrantly announcing them.
There’s a plethora of options on the high street right now, from silk knits to boyish styles. I have two different looks that I rely on in winter. The fitted roll neck (which I always find in Zara) worn with either high-waisted, wide-leg trousers or with a fluid dress or skirt, and the chunky polo-neck knit, which makes skinny jeans feel a little more luxurious and pairs beautifully with cropped pants for a really relaxed and languid look.
I have several polo-necks in my fashion arsenal, but can never resist adding another each winter. Here are the pieces I have my eye on right now.
I love how fine the weave of this Zara knit is. It hugs in all the right places. Subtly sexy.
The button detailing and slashed sleeves of this Mint Velvet polo neck add a nice finishing touch. These kinds of subtle details can really elevate your look from standard to special. This neckline is not quite so high which will appeal to those of you who feel a bit smothered by a full-on roll neck.
There’s something so retro, and comforting, about this patchwork sweater, but styled with a pair of athleisure-style pants, it looks so fresh and modern.
This style of polo is my winter failsafe. These days, I love to pair a chunky knit over a delicate skirt for a strong, impactful contrast. But this piece will always work with jeans. To prevent looking bland, throw a statement bag or boot into the mix.