Katz Meow: Turtlenecks, Terrifying Yet Trendy

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Ella Katz If you were anything like me as a kid, you never picked out your outfit for school— ever. In the mornings, you would slowly open your eyes as your mom browsed your closet, and maybe laid out some options for you, or at least suggested what type of outfit you should wear that day. In my case, on a normal morning, I went to school in a nice dress, a floral skirt, or maybe a patterned sweater with corduroys and some boots—oh, and we can’t forget the big, bright bow. Then there was that day, that day (or days) of the school year that I dreaded most, those days that came only once in a blue moon, those terrifying, cringe worthy days that I would have to wear the dreaded turtleneck.   Saying I hated them is an understatement. As crazy as it may sound, I was basically scared of wearing turtlenecks. Straight up petrified. I don’t know if it was the fear of being stuck in a hot classroom at the end of a long school day feeling like my neck is suffocating, or not wanting to be teased by my classmates, but something didn’t feel right about them. My mom would try to get me to wear them everyday. “Ella how about this one today?” she would ask me. She would try as hard as humanly possible to get me to put one of those wool, tight necked thingies on, but I wouldn’t budge. She was so desperate for me to wear them that within a year or so, I had every color of the rainbow—in turtlenecks. Nevertheless, by the 3rd or 4th grade, I was picking out my own outfits, and turtlenecks became obsolete. I could have sworn I would never wear a turtleneck again—it was amazing how free my neck felt in a regular sweater. I could never go back, or so I thought.   So a few years go by. I’m walking to and from classes on my own, I no longer think that boys have cooties, and I have even played for the middle school girls softball team. It’s August of 2014 and I am about to start high school. Now, after having given up turtlenecks, my style became very preppy – Blair Waldorf-ish. But I knew that wearing button downs and striped sweaters wasn’t going to give me the ultimate high school experience. I mean, as a freshman, I obviously didn’t want to stand out more than necessary. I knew if I got an unlimited supply of lulus, some ripped jeans, a few plain colored v-necks, and a vest of some sort, I would be just fine. My mom encouraged me to wear what I wanted to wear, not what I thought I had to wear to be “normal”, but of course, like any other freshman girl, I didn’t listen to her.   When we were at Bloomingdales, we came across a selection of turtlenecks. My mom convinced me to try a few on. I ended up liking the way they looked. They were flattering, trendy, comfy, and classy all in one sweater. So I bought a few, never intending to wear them to school, only on other occasions.   Come sophomore year, I was more comfortable with who I was, rather than being focused on conforming to Latin’s social norms. I realized that people liked me for me, and that I didn’t need to try and be someone that I was not. One morning, I was running pretty late for school– like, wake-up-at-7:50-late-for-school. I quickly popped out of bed and went right to my drawer, solely focused on making it to school in time for my 8am Chem quiz. My drawers were messy, so I pulled out the first shirt that wasn’t inside-out which, of course, was the Chestnut turtleneck I had bought with my mom the previous year. I threw it on without even thinking twice— I was basically still asleep. It was only when I got into my car that I realized I was doing the unthinkable. I was wearing a turtleneck to school.   All throughout the day, I received tons of compliments on my turtleneck, some from people I had never even talked to before. Nobody made fun of me, or did anything that I presumed they would have. To my surprise, there were even other students wearing turtlenecks too. As I lay in my bed that night and reflected on my day, I realized that wearing turtlenecks wasn’t so bad after all. A frequent turtleneck-wearer, senior Ethan MacCumber exclaims, “Turtlenecks! What can I say! Unlike most sweaters, mine maintain their merino pullover, a subtle opposition to the norm and the classically desirable. I have so many options for just one turtleneck! I can roll it down, fold it halfway, or let it rise to the bottom of my jaw.” I began to wear turtlenecks more frequently, and quickly moved past my traumatizing childhood turtleneck days.   Although many younger kids have issues with turtlenecks, nowadays, it is one of the most popular trends at Latin. Whether the turtleneck is loose, skin tight, or shoulder-less, there are turtlenecks for every body type and individual. Senior Eleanor Ruscitti had a similar experience as I, as she reflects that, “When [she] was younger, [she] despised turtlenecks. [She] started wearing them again freshman year and [has] been an avid supporter ever since.” Another passionate supporter of turtlenecks, sophomore Julia Kinder, tells the Forum that, “There’s not a week that goes by where I don’t wear at least one turtleneck. Although everyone jokes about how I wear them all the time, I still love them. I think the style is really classy and I like the way they look. Not to mention the fact that they are super comfy!”.   At the end of the day, there really are turtlenecks for all of us. I know it’s unsettling to imagine your neck enclosed by a sweater as you meet with a teacher or sit in Gathering, but it really isn’t as bad as it seems. So I guess all I’m saying is, take a risk, push yourself out of your comfort zone. Buy that turtleneck that is screaming your name on the rack. I can assure you, you won’t regret it. ]]>