For those of you who know me well, you will probably find this hard to believe. In fact, I find it hard to believe myself, but it’s true. Here goes.
Back in my 20s, I had an unnatural obsession with the turtleneck. From November to March, my wardrobe consisted mainly of every type of turtleneck: turtleneck sweaters, mock turtlenecks and just plain old turtlenecks. During this time in my life, I was having a contest with myself to see how thin I could become. The natural result of this effort was that I was always freezing cold.
I realized that I wasn’t quite normal one day when I actually wore two turtlenecks to work. In case you found that last sentence confusing, I mean that I wore one turtleneck and then wore another one right on top of it. I am not kidding.
Like any addiction, my love for turtlenecks started out gradually. I don’t think I even realized how serious my problem had become until one day when I was in my early 30s. I was watching the TV show, “What Not to Wear.” I remember so clearly the moment when the host of the show said these words to the poor, unsuspecting person who had been nominated for the show: “You are addicted to turtlenecks.”
Those words hit me right between the eyes like one of those suction cup bullets my kids shoot from their Nerf guns. To say that moment was life changing would be an understatement. My eyes were opened for the first time to the fact my love for turtlenecks was not normal. Oh sure, it started with an attempt to stay on top of a fashion trend in the 1990s.
But it had grown beyond that. What I always saw as a natural way to keep myself as warm as possible by wearing a shirt that covered my neck had grown into a decade-long addiction. I couldn’t stand to go out of the house with my long, pale neck exposed to the cold air. I was obsessed with keeping it covered.
That moment began for me what was a long and difficult process of ridding my wardrobe of turtlenecks. I would be lying if I told you that breaking this cycle of addiction was easy. I tried little by little to choose something other than a turtleneck on a cold winter day. It probably took me at least a year to reduce my weekly turtleneck consumption to only a few a week, rather than one — or more! — a day.
But once I finally got myself to a place where my neck was bare on a regular basis, I think my friends noticed something was missing. I believe it was the Christmas of 2004, when my friends had to do what only good friends are willing to do. They bought me a necklace for Christmas.
It was a simple silver pendant on a thick silver chain. Up until that point, the only time I wore a necklace was to a formal dance, as a bridesmaid in a wedding and, of course, on my wedding day. I don’t think I even owned a gold chain, a string of pearls or anything else to wrap around my neck.
I wore that silver chain nearly every day. I loved how it filled up that blank space between my collar bones.
It wasn’t long until I was so at home in my silver chain that I purchased another necklace. Now, I actually had a choice of which necklace to wear. One necklace led to another. And the necklaces themselves grew larger and bolder. For those of you who know me now, you know that my necklace collection has gone completely overboard.
I love necklaces! I rarely leave the house without one. Some are cute and simple. Others are obnoxiously large. I feel naked if I don’t have some type of colorful pendant dangling around my neck.
Only recently have I actually expanded my array of neckware to include the scarf. This was tricky at first. I had to watch a YouTube video to figure out what to even do with the scarf. I also had to accept the fact that I couldn’t wear a necklace AND a scarf at the same time. The necklaces would have to stay home for a day and relax while I ventured out of the house with a large, long colorful cloth poofed up around my neck.
All of this leads me to a simple question. What is your signature accessory? Do you have one accessory that you can’t leave the house without? Maybe it’s ear rings or a bracelet? Could be a necklace? Or are you into scarves?
Or is it possible that you need to confess right now that you have are having a love affair with a turtleneck? I’m here to tell you that there IS hope. I’m living proof.
Although, I must warn you. If you give up your turtlenecks, there’s always another accessory waiting to wrap its pretty little self around your neck.