We’ve all made hideous fashion missteps. Peace chokers? What was I thinking? Low-rise jeans down to there? Thanks, Britney. My multitude of fashion faux pas still rankle, often years later, but nothing more so than the dreaded turtleneck. Mother dear, as many a conscientious mom, forced her young daughter to wear a turtleneck underneath all of her clothing—from September to April. (And I grew up in sunny California!) Whether it was beneath a taffeta ruffled dress for a choir recital or a bulky cable knit sweater for 2nd grade picture day, the turtleneck reigned supreme in my wardrobe.

When other elementary-aged girls wore pretty cardigans over smart pleated dresses, my insides coiled with jealousy. I regarded my well-intentioned mum as a fashion saboteur. Until this fall, that is. What a visionary! Some twenty years on, I finally realize she was on to something. Turtlenecks, in all their geeky glory, are back on the fashion radar. Designers showed them for fall 2012 layered underneath mod tops, filmy dresses and voluminous outerwear; and fashionistas soon followed suit.

This season, try incorporating the minimalist chic of a turtleneck into your own wardrobe, whether it’s as a key layering-piece worn under your spring dresses or a stand alone top when you want more coverage. Read on for three smart ways to sport the style:

 On its own
A lean, black turtleneck tucked into slouchy wool or leather pants not only looks modern, it’s also slimming. Keep your accessories sleek and minimal like a shoulder flap bag and pointy pumps.
Beneath a top
Layer a long-sleeved white turtleneck under a crewneck pullover for a bit of 60s chic. Make sure several inches of white sleeve peak out from underneath so the look reads as intentional. Pair with skinny pants and delicate heels for the most current feel.
Under a dress
Perhaps the most unexpected way to wear a turtleneck is beneath a dress. To avoid looking like a cheerleader, wear a sheer high neck under a drapey, short-sleeved dress that skims the knee. Keep the look sophisticated with tall black boots and an envelope clutch.

And if you have a young fashionista-in-training of your own, get her started early on the turtleneck trend. She might gripe and moan, but she’ll be en vogue— and as bundled up as any desi mom could hope for! Just ask mine.

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