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What is a Crew Neck?

By A. Leverkuhn
Updated May 21, 2024
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A crew neck is a specific type of garment design for shirts. Crew neck shirts features a simple, close fitting, round collar unadorned with flaps or other frills. The crew neck is common for sweaters and T-shirts in modern fashion.

Originally, the crew type neck developed as part of the attire for rowing teams, who wore a kind of crew neck sweater. The crew neck has since become the standard for shirt manufacturers, especially in making informal short-sleeved shirts. Solid color cotton T-shirts with crew necks are a popular choice for summer wear. T-shirts also serve an endless range of promotional roles. Designed or advertising T-shirts often include a crew neck design.

The V neck design in T-shirts is a popular alternative to the crew type neck. Some prefer the V neck for either undershirts or regular T-shirts, because the relatively open neck leaves more skin uncovered and may help cool off the wearer. Others prefer crew type necks, and are more comfortable with these classic shirt options. Another common alternative is the sleeveless or tank top shirt, where all of the upper chest is bare except for two thin straps that go over the shoulders.

Crew type neck sweaters are a specific design choice, by which collared shirts may complement the design of the sweater. V neck T-shirts offer more skin exposure, and less protection from the cold than a crew neck sweater. Thus, the choice of which style is often made according to the warmth that these garments provide, and how they complement collared shirts or other shirts worn under them.

In addition to T-shirts and sweaters, there’s also the long sleeved crew style shirt, which is really a generic form of apparel. A crew neck long sleeved shirt covers the entire torso except for the neck and hands. These may be form-fitting or looser according to design.

Looking at crew style neck and V style collar options for shirts is part of how manufacturers assess their audience when offering new shirt options for the common market. Market research examines how many people prefer one style or the other, and tries to anticipate demand for various shirt types each year. These two shirt neck options still rival each other at all of the large department stores and retail chains across America, and neither the crew form of shirt neck nor the V neck will be going out of fashion anytime soon.

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Discussion Comments
By Mykol — On Dec 15, 2011

I like the look of crew neck tops on other people, but don't like to wear them myself.

I don't like the feeling of something so close around my neck. Wearing a v-neck style is something that I feel much more comfortable wearing.

My husband gave me a beautiful, soft pink crew neck sweater for my birthday. I love the sweater, but haven't worn it that much because I don't like how it fits around my neck.

I will say that wearing a crew neck is much more comfortable than a turtle neck sweater. I feel like someone is choking me when I am wearing one of those.

By LisaLou — On Dec 14, 2011

My son wears a white crew neck t-shirt under every shirt or sweater he has on. Now that he is so used to it, he feel really strange if he doesn't have one on.

Even in the summer when it is hot outside, he still has one of these on. He also has to do twice as much laundry, but that is what he is used to.

He is very particular about his clothes and once I bought him a package of the v-neck t-shirts, and he exchanged them for the crew neck style.

By tigers88 — On Dec 14, 2011

Crew neck shirts are so ubiquitous these days that it is kind of weird to imagine a time when they were not the norm. I guess it is a pretty recent phenomenon though. Makes me wonder what the shirts of the future will look like.

By truman12 — On Dec 14, 2011

I have always liked shirts that have a ringed crew neck and sleeves. You have probably all seen this kind of shirt before. Imagine a white T-shirt that has a black ring around the neck and arms.

I have loved this design ever since I was a teenager and now my closet is filled with shirts that have this design. I have them in every color combination imaginable and some of them have graphics or logos on them. My friends actually sometimes tease me because my clothes are so predictable. Ringed shirt, blue jeans and sneakers. I'm ready to conquer the world.

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