The Fitting Room Chronicles: Wearing a Turtleneck (Like Marilyn Monroe)

We still may be in the middle of crisp fall here in New York City, but occasionally, that sudden frost of winter gives an unwelcoming preview of what’s to come. Such is life here on the east coast.

Turtlenecks. They’re perfect for keeping warm and cozy. But they’re called turtlenecks for a reason.

This is Lulu, my red-eared slider. He looks great in a turtleneck, of course. But this isn’t a look for everyone. Trust me on this.

I remember past winters where my neck disappeared in a too-chunky turtleneck my mother found in some shop somewhere, and all you saw was a floating head. Yeah…no.

Luckily, there is still a way to stay warm this winter with a turtleneck and not look like, well, a turtle. A prime example? Marilyn Monroe.


Alright, I know the woman could make a potato sack look tres chic, but this blonde bombshell (and my absolute favorite old Hollywood star) made turtlenecks look seductive. According to


On the Spring of 1953, Alfred Eisenstaedt paid Marilyn Monroe a visit in her Beverly Hills home to do a portrait shoot for a LIFE Magazine assignment. “Eisie,” as he was known by his friends and colleagues, photographed the 26-year-old Hollywood star in her patio; she was stunning even in her simple black turtleneck top and white pants (checkered pants in some photographs). It was certainly not a glamor-filled photoshoot yet the intimately casual portraits Eisenstaedt took — both in color and black and white — became some of his best known work, as well as Monroe’s most sought after photographs to this day. 


Inspired by Marilyn Monroe, I found this turtleneck sweater dress in H&M and I felt both warm and fabulous. No floating head to be found here!



How can Marilyn Monroe inspire you to wear a turtleneck? Here are some of my tips:

  • Marilyn was a fan of wearing tight-fitting clothes to enhance her figure. Based on the photos above, we can tell that her black turtleneck was also body-hugging. Try to stay true to your size and avoid anything too over-sized. Those can be comfortable yes, but they can also add unwanted weight and fluff.
  • You can honestly never go wrong with black. It’s a slimming shade, works for day or night, and you can easily jazz up this color with the right accessories. I went for gray to spice up my wardrobe, which works just as well.
  • Red lipstick. This is the easiest way to add glamour to your wardrobe and honey, there are hundreds of red shades to choose from. Have fun and try on some different reds. Believe me, there’s a red for everyone, including you. Marilyn reportedly used a mixture of different red lipsticks to create a color she liked best. She also was a fan of coral shades. And if you really want to go super glam, cat eyes do wonders. Remember, the turtleneck is drawing all eyes to your face.
  • Again, think about your curves. Marilyn opted for hip-hugging pants to further accentuate her shape – nothing baggy to be found here. Since I’m not big on pants, I made sure my sweater dress wasn’t bulky and was true to my size. You don’t want to look like you’re wearing a massive sock.
  • Seriously, go to the fitting room. When I first saw this turtleneck dress, I was very hesitant. But when I tried it on, I felt great. Don’t be afraid to try on different looks, especially those that you normally wouldn’t go for. You might just surprise yourself. Even Marilyn experimented with different types of turtlenecks:
By John Vachon filming “River of No Return.”




How will you be rocking a turtleneck this season?

9 thoughts on “The Fitting Room Chronicles: Wearing a Turtleneck (Like Marilyn Monroe)

  1. You look fantastic in your sweater dress! I love your insights into Marilyn’s style and how you use her tactics to get a stylish and classic look. Marilyn understood how to accentuate her curves and shape in great ways, it’s no wonder she was appealing and still is after all these years!


  2. I use to hate turtlenecks as a kid, they felt soo restrictive, but now that I’m older I’m all about them. Especially if you can find one that’s thin enough to be layered under things but thick enough to wear solo. Great post!
    xx | A


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