The Best Fabrics for Women’s Ribbed Turtlenecks

The turtleneck, sometimes called a mock neck or a polo neck, is a staple item in any well-dressed closet. It’s classic, cozy, professional, and surprisingly versatile.

But not all turtlenecks are created equal. Some are too thick, too thin, or too casual. Others are too expensive or too scratchy.

Merino Wool

The ultimate in performance fabrics, merino wool’s fibers are tiny, softer than human hair, and super-strong. The material also has natural crimps that make it stretchy and hygroscopic, meaning sweat is drawn away to the outside of the garment, where it evaporates, cooling the air between your skin and the material.

Merino wool is also odor-fighting and temperature-regulating, which is excellent for cold and warm environments. Plus, it’s a renewable resource, as the animal sheds it naturally, and the wool is harvested sustainably from sheep that have been ethically treated.

Porter bought a Merino wool turtleneck for a ski trip, but “it’s becoming something beyond utilitarian.” She loves that it keeps her warm but isn’t heavy or bulky. The fabric is also soft enough that she doesn’t need to keep rolling up her sleeves (which she hates doing). She recommends a ribbed turtleneck sweater with a slim fit and a self-finished cuff and hem. It’s one of the brand’s best sellers for a reason. It’s a great layering piece under sweaters and jackets and can be worn independently.


Cotton is one of the world’s most abundant crops. It’s also a versatile fiber that can be used for various clothing and textiles. Cotton fabrics come in multiple styles, from lightweight voiles and laces to thick-piled velvets. The yarn can be dyed any color and napped to create different textures.

When talking about a thick ribbed turtleneck, cotton is the go-to. This is because it’s soft to the touch and comfortable to wear. It’s also breathable, so it can keep you warm without overheating.

Another reason turtlenecks made from cotton are a wardrobe staple is that they pair well with high-waisted pants and skirts. The fabric also drapes beautifully, perfecting for a fitted style that hugs the body.

When shopping for a cotton turtleneck, look for options that blend spandex and elastane to provide added flexibility and stretch. This will help to ensure a form-fitting fit and prevent the top from stretching out of shape. This is especially important for women with larger chests, who might struggle to find a suitable turtleneck.


As fall and winter approach, every wardrobe needs a staple turtleneck that can take you from work to the weekend in style. Whether you’re looking for something fitted, cozy, or sexy, a ribbed turtleneck can be the piece that pulls your outfit together.

The ribbed turtleneck is soft, stretchy, and made from 95 percent organic cotton and a little elastane. It’s also an excellent purchase for the planet and your wallet, as 90 percent of profits go to BRAC, which provides scalable solutions that lift people out of poverty.

An owner says she has a love-hate relationship with turtlenecks because of her childhood experiences with ones that were too tight and impossible to get over her head. She prefers high turtlenecks that can “literally swallow her head” and is crafted in wool that gets softer with each wear.

Alpaca is a domesticated breed of camel-like ungulates (sheep and llamas are also similar) valued for their fleece. The fiber is used in blankets and ponchos in South America and sweaters, socks, and coats elsewhere. It comes in more than 22 natural colors, ranging from a true-blue black through browns and fawns to white.


A turtleneck can range in weight from tissue-thin to a chunky knit. It’s essential to know how thick you want it, as this will impact how the garment fits and wears. A wool turtleneck will keep you warm in cold climates, while cotton styles are great for layering.

A personal and celebrity stylist recommends a “soft, versatile, and comes in several colors.” She says it’s “perfect for layering sweaters or wearing on its own,” it also has a straight hem for your perfect fit.

She says this is just as good if you want a more affordable option. It’s soft, stretches, and has a ribbed texture that skims curves for a smooth look alone or layered under a coat. Plus, it’s knitted using old-fashioned fully-fashioned construction by artisans who’re paid a fair wage. It’s also available in 11 colors to quickly build an entire fall and winter wardrobe without exceeding budget.


While polyester and acrylic go through the same polymerization process, they have different monomers, which give them distinct qualities. Acrylic is typically thicker and has a more synthetic texture than polyester, while polyester tends to be lighter and more fluid in shape.

While Hepburn may have been the queen of turtlenecks, modern styles are just as chic and comfortable. The fitted style looks great when tucked into high-waisted pants or dresses. It’s a practical staple worn for work or a casual outing.

The fabric you choose can also make a difference in fit and comfort. For example, a heavier knit will feel bulky and be difficult to tuck in. However, a lightweight, stretchy knit will be easy to pair with slim-fitting trousers or mini skirts.