Mock Neck vs. Turtleneck: Choosing Between Two Popular Sweater Styles

Similar styles, different neck lines.

It’s hard not to feel like a classy dude when you wear a turtleneck. It’s like a sweater on steroids: it’s bigger, warmer, and guaranteed to generate more looks.

With that said, there are times when it can seem like a bit much. On warmer days the neck can get itchy, and if everyone around you is wearing sweaters, you can feel overdressed in a turtleneck.

If you still have the urge to wear a turtleneck-style piece, you could turn to a quarter-zip sweater. This will give you the look of the turtleneck with the option of unzipping to cool down. But another option is to simply opt for a mock neck sweater.

Mock Neck vs. Turtleneck: The Difference

Mock Neck vs Turtleneck
The Brdwlk

A mock neck sweater is essentially a turtleneck with a much lower neckline. Instead of the sweater reaching up to your chin, it stops halfway down your neck, or lower. You still get a look similar to that of a regular turtleneck, but it’s all a bit more laid-back and casual.

The neckline of a mock neck sweater is also typically quite loose. It won’t wrap around your neck as much as a turtleneck does. You can see in the image above how the neckline is much looser on the mock neck sweater.

The slightly lower neck also means these sweaters are typically cooler than an equivalent turtleneck sweater. This means they can be more versatile. While I save my turtleneck for the coldest days of winter, I wear my mock neck sweater from fall to spring.

There are Similarities Too

Chunky Turtleneck Sweater Thick Pants
By David Suarez Unsplash

It’s not all differences though. Both mock neck and turtleneck sweaters have plenty in common. They obviously both cover at least part of your neck and you can buy them in many styles and materials. Both styles are ultimately a slightly different take on a regular sweater.

Why is it Called a Mock Neck?

The simple reason is that “mock” can mean something that appears to be something that it isn’t. So a mock neck sweater is named because it appears to be a turtleneck, but isn’t quite the same.

Which Should You Buy?

I think that most wardrobes have space for both a mock neck and a turtleneck. I like to wear my mock neck in casual situations as it’s a more casual sweater all around. A typical turtleneck, on the other hand, will usually be more formal. Of course, it’s possible to buy both casual and formal versions of each type of sweater.

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Duncan Elder

Duncan is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Boardwalk. He's a menswear writer who has spent the last 15 years developing his own sense of style, which lies at the cross-section of mid-noughties indie and Uniqlo-inspired minimalism.

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