For such an unfussy garment, the history of the turtleneck is a strange one. First worn as a protective layer between chain mail and knights’ delicate necks, it was then adopted by sailors and merchant marines as insulation against frigid ocean squalls. Now, it has become a signifier. Of what? That seems to change as often as the sea wind. The turtleneck has had so many iconic moments that it’s hard to conjure up just one. Steve Jobs comes to mind, of course. So do Audrey Hepburn and Michel Foucault. Ask an octogenarian and they’ll likely weave a tale of some dreamy beatnik with whom they locked eyes in the late 1950s. This story is from Kinfolk Issue Thirty-Eight Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 49 Karin Mamma Andersson Inside the moody, mysterious world of Sweden’s preeminent painter. Arts & Culture Issue 49 Jenny Odell The acclaimed author in search of lost time. Arts & Culture Issue 49 Amalie Smith The Danish arts writer finding clarity between the lines. Arts & Culture Issue 49 Ryan Heffington Meet the man bringing choreography, community and queer joy to the desert. Arts & Culture Issue 49 Nell Wulfhart Advice from a decision coach. Arts & Culture Fashion Issue 49 A World of Difference A fun lesson in cultural faux pas.