In our last “Secrets of Sprezzatura” post, we showed you how to achieve an air of ars-est-celare-artem nonchalance by wearing your shirt collar deliberately messed up while feigning obliviousness to it.
For this installment, we look at the excruciatingly correct way to wear a crewneck, though we’re at a loss to explain how it became correct.
While neatfreaks wear their crewnecks high in the back and rounded in the front, the more nonchalant way is to wear it low in the back and straight across the front, suggesting you hastily threw the sweater on in order to keep warm, with no concern for your appearance.
Crewnecks are worn this way regardless of how they’re cut, with or without a tie. You see this both in historic images and cinematic recreations of the Ivy heyday, such as “Dead Poets Society.”
I asked a number of sartorial sages to shed light on the origins of this custom, but none could offer an answer. If you grew up with your father or peers showing you the “right” way to wear a crewneck, leave a comment and let us know.
The above photo (exhibit A), plus exhibits B and C below show front views, while D shows a side view of a correctly worn crewneck, wonderfully demonstrated by the venerable French teacher in the movie “School Ties.”
Finally, for double deshabille points, combine the high-in-front, low-in-back way of wearing a crewneck with a messed-up-collar oxford. — CC
This article originally posted in January 2010.