Fashions, however, will always lend themselves to parody, and with that, an undignified slide into the gutter. The 1970s saw the turtleneck worn in a range of garishly bright colors that killed any illusion of cool that it might have previously bestowed on its wearer—take Leonardo DiCaprio’s wardrobe in this year’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, for instance—and, what’s more, the standard black variant came to be seen as a laughable emblem of pretension in the years that followed. In the 1997 movie Tomorrow Never Dies, Jonathan Pryce’s character, a Murdoch-like media mogul, sports a black turtleneck in almost every scene; the look stands in for his hubris, megalomania, and fatal overestimation of his intellectual abilities. Presumably, Elizabeth Holmes was not paying attention.
Yet the turtleneck was always too useful, too practical, too cool, to ever be consigned to the dustbin of history. If in doubt, look at those classic monochrome photographs of the Velvet Underground, or Steve McQueen in Bullitt (1968),or Angela Davis in full-on radical garb circa 1969. The list could go on.