The £18 top that’s transformed my winter wardrobe

A plain roll neck might not be groundbreaking but it's one of the most useful things you could own. Hannah Banks-Walker explains

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By Hannah Banks-Walker on

If I told you that a single item of clothing had changed my life, would you want to beat me round the head with a Birkin bag until the fashion cliché fell out? Well, get yourselves down to Hermès, because I am here to tell you that this is indeed the case. No eye-rolling, I think you’re going to want to hear this. 

I am not the sort of person who dresses pragmatically. I've worn black-tie into the office and always put on the wrong shoes, simply because they’re too great not to wear. (I have been known to end up on a country walk in gold ballet pumps, much to the amusement of the locals – it was 2006, before you ask.) Anyway, I am not one to put practicality over style, let’s put it that way. But I have been locked in a love affair for the past three winters with one of the most practical items of clothing one could possibly own. It’s my black, long-sleeved roll neck that I bought three years ago from M&S, which goes with everything. The fact that the brand is still selling it is, I believe, testament to its versatility and all-round usefulness. 

It’s the ideal accompaniment for any sort of sleeveless dress because, quite frankly, who wants exposed arms in the depths of winter? Not me

The crux of the matter is that it opens up so many different outfit opportunities. I like to wear mine on its own, tucked in to high-waisted trousers and skirts,  or under an unbuttoned shirt, tucked in to a pencil skirt for a cooler twist on workwear. I also like to layer it under pretty much every dress I own. From tea dresses to strapless styles, this roll neck honestly works with them all. In fact, the other morning I as I peered into my wardrobe and cursed the giant neglected pile of washing next to it, I threw on the only clean thing I had – a distinctly summery maxi dress, which I’d heretofore only worn on the beach. Taking a gamble, I threw it on over my roll neck, added black tights and a pair of knee-high boots and was pretty pleased with the result. I also layer my roll neck under T-shirts, blouses, jumpsuits and shift dresses. In fact, it’s the ideal accompaniment for any sort of sleeveless dress because, quite frankly, who wants exposed arms in the depths of winter? Not me. 

I’m aware this is not the sexiest or most exciting item to be banging on about, however I can promise that this little roll neck will make getting dressed a lot easier. It will also, obviously, keep you warm. Practical and stylish? Now that is groundbreaking.





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Hannah Banks-Walker
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