How Men Roll

If you’re curious, yet not-quite-convinced about the roll neck, you’re not alone. The knitwear style often poses a sartorial dilemma for the modern man. For starters, it’s notoriously tricky to style – if done badly it can be nerdy and unflattering. But if done well, it can be staunchly masculine and convey a look of man-about-town. Here’s how to make sure it’s the latter.

Unlike the cardigan, the roll neck manages to be sophisticated yet still gives off an air of pragmatic, no-nonsense masculinity. No wonder it was favoured by alpha icons such as Steve McQueen, Ernest Hemingway, and Mick Jagger.

These days, it’s adding a debonair touch to the off-duty looks of A-listers such as James Franco, Tinie Tempah, and many a street style star.

If it’s been a while since you rocked a roll neck, see our inspiration and style tips on how to wear the retro classic.


Rollnecks3Shop this edit: Cable knit roll neck jumper – Red Herring, Merino roll neck jumper – MantarayLight grey roll neck jumper – Jeff Banks, Black merino roll neck jumper – J by Jasper Conran
Browse all men’s turtlenecks


  1. If you’re of a larger stature, a lightweight roll neck will be flattering. Smaller frames should opt for thicker knits with chunkier detailing
  2. When accessorising, keep it simple with a watch. A chain over a roll neck is a look exclusively reserved for mobsters.
  3. Roll necks should be worn with jeans or chinos, but never with tailored trousers. It’s the great outdoors-meets-the office vibe that just doesn’t work.
  4. Although it’s a traditional shape, the roll neck is still a statement piece for men, so best to stick to classic colours such as grey, navy, black.
  5. Do use the roll neck as a transitional base layer. A lightweight roll neck looks great under a jacket – a tweed one if you’re brave.

Do work a stylish roll neck into your knitwear repertoire this winter. Because it’s a debonair nod to the 70s. Because it’s warm. And because men need their version of cosy-chic too.


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