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Monday Musings – Neck Deep In Confidence

I love the sleek look of a turtleneck. They look classic and modern at the same time. I wear turtlenecks often in the winter, but not as much as I used to. Granted, I live in a milder climate, but that’s not the only reason. It’s my neck and how it looks all scrunched under that tight fabric.

In truth, it’s not just my neck. It’s also the extra skin between my chin and my neck, which some not so affectionately refer to as a wattle. My granny had an epic one, so I’m coming into it naturally. My mom had a full facelift which removed hers. Mine is a bit lopsided because my head tips to the right most of the time. I tried Ultherapy last year. It’s a simple office procedure that uses ultrasound waves to target facial and neck tissue. It’s supposed to strengthen and tighten skin by stimulating new collagen production. Sadly, it did nothing for me.

Many of you have commented that you no longer wear turtlenecks because of how they feel and make your neck look. I admit turtlenecks that are too tight feel like they’re strangling me and I hate that feeling.

On Saturday we talked about oversize turtlenecks which are in effect, cowl necks. I like them a lot! Their gentle folds resemble what’s happening on my neck.  Just as wearing texture reduces the look of texture (wrinkles) on your face, wearing loose folds around your neck reduces the look of folds on your neck. The stark contrast of something smooth against wrinkles makes the wrinkles stand out. So a tight, smooth turtleneck is not flattering on me these days.Nora Ephron book on her neck

Have you read, “I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts On Being A Woman” by Nora Ephron? It was humorous in my 40’s, now it’s more poignant.

Many women over 50 hold themselves to a standard that is unattainable and the media just adds fuel to that fire. Oh sure, we can have facelifts, neck lifts, lip injections, you name it, but it won’t turn back the clock that much. I’m not ruling those procedures out, but it’s not in the cards right now. However, neck creams are holding much more allure these days and I’m sampling a few.

My goal is to look the best I can at my age. I refuse to give up turtlenecks so my new versions will be scrunched. I like an unfolded turtleneck that gets scrunched down because it’s softer and less constricting. And then we get to the whole topic of confidence. Is my neck affecting my confidence? It’s a close call.

I’m going to choose turtlenecks that are softer and more forgiving. Heck, at this age I need lots of things that are forgiving. Including me. I’m going to work on cutting myself more slack when I see my neck and feel blessed to be healthy.

On the topic of health, I saw my hand doctor last week. My surgery did not go as well as we’d hoped and I may need another one.
As I left his office, almost in tears, I looked up to see a lady walking across the lobby wearing capri pants and two prosthetic feet. Bam, just like that, I felt blessed to have my hand, even though it doesn’t work like it used to.

How do you feel about your neck?

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68 Comments

  1. Evelyn Bailey
    November 8, 2020 / 1:54 pm

    My neck, jowls, and double chin do affect my self-confidence. Please return to this topic when you have more information about new products and procedures. I got a medical eval for a facelift and it was so expensive and so many hours under anesthesia that I just couldn’t do it. For me it is mostly genetics, but I have to take a little blame. I do like homemade desserts which I do not make often!

    • Jennifer
      Author
      November 8, 2020 / 8:43 pm

      Time under anesthesia is frightening, I agree. A friend of mine had a lower facelift under a local anesthetic and was very pleased with her results. I will continue to visit this topic because many of us are in the same boat.

  2. Lynn Estrada
    November 4, 2020 / 10:25 am

    Hi Jennifer, I have been following you for awhile now. I enjoy all of your posts, because they hit home especially this one. I have lamenting about my gobbler that I went to 2 plastic surgeons on getting neck lift. When I had decided to go through with it, I went & had physical and because of my age over 65 they decided to EKG, the doctor said he thought he saw something on the back side of my heart so another test for the next day was scheduled. At that point I decided to cancel. Two years later I had a heart attach. So now I have decide to live with my gobbler.

    I love turtle necks but like most of your ladies we have moved on, however give me a beautiful cowl neck I am in.

    Take care will keep you prayer.

    • Jennifer
      Author
      November 4, 2020 / 7:43 pm

      Wow, that is so scary, Lynn. I’m so glad you’re OK now. Your neck seems pretty unimportant compared to your heart!

  3. Lisa
    November 3, 2020 / 1:57 pm

    I love this post Jennifer. Were you inside my head 🙂 Turtlenecks were a staple but I’ve now moved to crew and v neck lines. I also noticed the same issue with some lighter weight ‘scrunched’ scarves so have moved to bigger, wider options that work. And I have one faithful loose turtleneck (heavy weight) jumper that I wear year in year out. Thank you for my morning boost and all the very best with your hand.

  4. Martha
    November 3, 2020 / 8:34 am

    This is such a good post, well worded and exactly how I feel! I hate my neck and it’s gotten worse from losing a little weight. I think we, being women always look at what we think is our worst flaw first, which in turn makes it our focus. You nailed it, instead of hating it, we can turn that into gratefulness that the Lord has brought us to the age it’s a problem and it’s not something serious! Thankfulness is the key. Thanks for this post.

  5. Mary Jane Ballou
    November 3, 2020 / 6:53 am

    I gave up turtlenecks when my hot flashes started several years ago. Fortunately, they would be rarely needed in northeast Florida where I live. My neck is not necessarily prize-winning, but I’ve found a happy solution in scarves of different weights – chiffon, silk, cotton, silk and wool, you name it. And if I start to overheat, I can just whip it off. Harder to do with a turtleneck 🙂

    Love your blog. And I hope you can resolve your hand issues. I had successful surgery for a trigger finger on one hand and left thumb arthroscopy. The latter had a six-month recovery, but it was definitely worth it. I’m a musician – and without a left thumb you’re pretty limited.

    • Jennifer
      Author
      November 4, 2020 / 7:46 pm

      You’ve given me hope!! Thank you.

  6. Elaine @ Following Augustine
    November 2, 2020 / 9:32 pm

    In 2014, I had seven hours of surgery to remove a cancerous tumour from my left parotid gland. As a result, I have a noticeable “divot” below my left ear and a long scar that runs down from behind the ear and curves back up the centre of my neck to just below my jaw. Thankfully, my surgeon was an amazing seamstress and it blends well with the wrinkles on my neck. I could choose to be self-conscious about my neck or I could view it as a reminder of how fortunate I am to be alive. I choose the latter!

    • Jennifer
      Author
      November 3, 2020 / 6:12 am

      You’ve got the best attitude ever! Thank you for sharing, Elaine

  7. Carol O
    November 2, 2020 / 9:05 pm

    This is not about turtlenecks. This is a fan letter.
    I have a group of friends who follow fashion
    bloggers and you are everyone’s favorite.
    So honest, humerous and authentic and not
    preachy or know it all. You make my day and
    other friends every time we read your writings.
    Good luck with your hand. Will be thinking
    about you!

    • Jennifer
      Author
      November 3, 2020 / 6:13 am

      Thank you so much, Carol! That’s so sweet. I’m very glad you’re here with us.

  8. Juliet
    November 2, 2020 / 8:12 pm

    Oh, Jennifer, this is a topic I’ve spent way too much time ruminating on … along with my similarly obsessed friends. My experience with a turtleneck is a bit different than yours. I agree that the light weight fabrics that slouch down are awful. But the cowl neck is the absolute worst for me … it seems to highlight the worst part of my neck by framing it and I can’t wear them. I feel the same about a button down shirt. I have a few heavy sweaters with turtle necks that aren’t tight but do hold their shape so my chin sits right on top. The weather’s turning and it won’t be long before I’ll be pulling them out of the closet. There was a lot more opportunity to wear them the two years we lived in Washington. So sorry about your hand … how disappointing. xo

    • Jennifer
      Author
      November 3, 2020 / 6:15 am

      Excellent point, Juliet! I do love those kind of necklines as well. They’re great.

  9. Pam Sledge
    November 2, 2020 / 5:24 pm

    Thanks for the reminder to be grateful! No turtlenecks for me, but I love cowlnecks. Now, thanks to Jennifer, I know why: it’s because its neck folds minimize my neck folds!

  10. Ellie
    November 2, 2020 / 4:26 pm

    I was walking into work complaining of a back problem with another woman. I found out she had an artificial leg. All I said to myself is “there by the grace of God go I.” you are in my prayers Jennifer

    • Jennifer
      Author
      November 3, 2020 / 6:20 am

      What a powerful reminder for us all.

  11. Kay
    November 2, 2020 / 3:49 pm

    I never liked turtles–I felt strangled. Cowls are a good alternative. My neck isn’t what it was 50 years ago, but so far–knock on wood–it hasn’t gone completely saggy and wattle-like. Genes. My father had a defined jaw and chin into his 70s, when he died. I am due for another steroid injection in my trigger finger. That seems to work for me for at least a year.

    • Jennifer
      Author
      November 3, 2020 / 6:20 am

      I was only helped for a few weeks with my injection. Maybe he put it in the wrong place?

  12. Sara
    November 2, 2020 / 1:16 pm

    When arthritis was diagnosed in my hands 35 years ago (exactly half my lifetime ago) I was advised to do a little handwork EVERY day. 9 days out of 10, I do. Even 30 minutes does it, but I hand piece and hand stitch my quilts, crochet, tat and embroider. Find something you would enjoy and try it, flexing the joints gently is what counts and I am quietly very pleased that I listened because I do not have hands like my mom and sister who scoffed…..my physical therapist also taught me a few gentle exercises to do with them…

    • Jennifer
      Author
      November 2, 2020 / 3:27 pm

      Thanks for sharing this, Sara. I have been so afraid I’ll never be able to knit again!!

    • Donna
      November 2, 2020 / 6:10 pm

      Thank you Jennifer for your blog today about turtlenecks and older necks. You’ve made me feel so much better to know I’m not alone. I love my turtlenecks and still wear them cause I have so many. However, I’ve noticed the my neck area under my chin has started to look strange( like hanging skin) over the last few years when I wear them. I was beginning to think it was just me and my neck. Self esteem starts to dwindle quickly when you begin to notice all these quirky things happening as you age.

      • Jennifer
        Author
        November 3, 2020 / 6:17 am

        We’re all in this together, Donna ;).

  13. Penelope
    November 2, 2020 / 12:35 pm

    I listened to Norah Ephron’s book on audio book years ago and howled. I could relate.
    In our climate we want nothing to touch our necks. It’s too hot and humid. But if I did wear a turtle neck it would be a soft and wide version.

  14. Lauren
    November 2, 2020 / 10:05 am

    I love turtlenecks because the HIDE neck issues. Baffled by the comments here about making neck issues worse….are you buying turtlenecks where the neck is too tight? When I am shopping I go up a size to make sure the neck is loose….size is after all just a number the manufacturer sews in the garment to make it legal to sell

  15. Linda
    November 2, 2020 / 10:02 am

    Ian so sorry to read that your hand surgery didn’t go well! I hope that there maybe an alternative method to surgery that might help you. Acupressure maybe?

    As far as my neck goes, I really can’t complain about it at 67. I can wear a turtleneck sweater but I prefer a cowl neck sweater. Truth is that I feel like I am chocking if I wear ANY kind of shirt that fits snuggly on my neck. I think it’s psychological on my part. So a good cowl neck it is for me! I hope to find a bright red one or a Safire Blue one!

  16. Rhonda Ragain
    November 2, 2020 / 9:46 am

    Hi Jennifer, I’m sorry your hand surgery results weren’t completely successful! We need you, so praying the trigger finger finds a solution. Hope you aren’t in too much pain! I am fortunate at my age to have a relatively long neck for my short stature, not many wrinkles in that area, now the cheeks are another issue! I love both turtle necks and cowls, but living in the same climate as you, aren’t needed that much! Love your blog and wouldn’t miss your common sense and humor for the world!

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