Skivvies are back

The turtleneck, skivvy and roll neck have enjoyed their odd moment of glory in history of fashion, but not everyone can carry off the rising neckline with grace.

While it's true that an oversized knit with a falling rolled neck line is one of the sexiest things a woman can wear, men must think twice about extending their use of this garment beyond the ski lodge.

These days, a skivvy has become laden with the essence of dagginess, not so much of a time forgotten but of a complete lack of style.

I associate it strongly with one of my primary school teachers, who lacked certain social skills but could teach a helluva religious education class.  (Close your eyes and think beige or mustard, teamed with corduroy).

But in spite of all of this, I am starting to warm to the idea of getting all high-necked this winter  - as long as some important fashion rules are observed.

Raf Simons has been spruiking the skivvy for years now and if you really want to look like a member of the Olympic team, his version in black or white with the small embroidered 'R' could be the way to go.  It will help if you bring your gym physique too - skivvies aren't all that forgiving of the bulge (unless you are Semi-Pro's Jackie Moon and can distract us all with a lurid plaid suit).

Basketballer Charles Barkley may be sartorially challenged, or just plain colour blind, but his approach to the skivvy isn't all wrong, because a jacket is exactly what you need to complete the look. You should also try to keep the whole thing on the right side of casual.

Don't dress it down, but unless you are an architect or high-tech engineer (the one with the original Audi TT, bought because of the purity of design and focus) keep it under a coat or you risk scaring off your co-workers.
If  you don't have the clothes-horse ability of a Raf Simons runway model,  I would suggest subtle shades or colours, and add a scarf to avoid the uptight appearance this garment can sometimes imbue.

Also consider the roll neck knit, which can flatter a wider variety of body types and personalities.

How about teaming a pea coat and a heavy cable knit for that lighthouse keeper look? Warm, practical and classically stylish, the rollover neckline suggests an air of distinction.  A beanie and full beard will convince anyone of your credentials in this regard, and for 100 percent authenticity, check out the knits from SNS Herning. This company of nearly 80 years is still manufacturing the way they did when they started. And they still use wool the way the fishermen of the Nordic Sea prefer.

It brings to mind my Dad in the '70s, loading his car after a surf at Surfies Point, Phillip Island, and the men of the North Sea pulling in their catch - the natural water repelling abilities of the wool working as the weather does against them.

SNS Herning often use over a kilo of wool to weave their idiosyncratic knits. You'll never want for anything more, unless you're after team colours to wear on those cold afternoons at the footy.

I am starting to think that the right jumper or roll neck knit would be a great garment for winter.

Roll up too, if you dare.

Oh yeah and this too.

This article Skivvies are back was originally published in The Age.