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What is a Crewneck?

By J.S. Metzker Erdemir
Updated May 21, 2024
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A crewneck, also written "crew neck," is a type of collarless shirt or sweater with a round neckline that fits around the base of the wearer’s neck. The fabric that makes the neckline on a crewneck is typically ribbed and sewn onto the shirt or sweater as a separate piece. The name comes from the types of shirts traditionally worn by oarsmen. The word “crewneck” can be used as a noun to describe a garment with this type of neck.

Not all round-necked shirts, sweaters, and blouses are crewnecks. Generally, a crewneck fits snugly around the neck. Other types of round necklines include scoop necks, ballet necks, and roll necks. Scoop necks are generally found on women’s tops, where the front of the neckline plunges lower down the chest. Ballet necks are also a more feminine cut, in which the neckline is wider and exposes part of the shoulders, back, and collarbone. Roll neck sweaters can be worn by men and women, with a neckline similar to a crewneck but with a little extra fabric rolled over the outside.

There are a few variations on crewneck shirts. For example, a Henley shirt is a round neck collarless shirt with two to five buttons on a placket down the front. With the buttons fastened, a Henley shirt resembles a crewneck. Another common variation is the mock neck, also called a mock turtleneck. A mock neck is round and extends about an inch (2.2cm) higher on the neck than a crewneck, much like a turtleneck but without the roll or fold in the fabric.

Two popular examples of crewneck shirts are the T-shirt and men’s sleeved undershirts. Tank tops can also be crewnecks, usually resembling sleeveless T-shirts. Crewnecks are very versatile because they suit both men and women in a variety of body types. They fit comfortably around most neck sizes because of the ribbing on the neckline’s fabric.

An advantage of a crewneck is that it can be layered with another type of shirt or sweater such as a v-neck, button-down, or cardigan. Crewnecks can be casual, sporty, or formal, depending on what they’re made of and how they’re worn. Cotton T-shirts, long-sleeved tees, and Henleys can be worn as everyday casual fashion or for outdoor activities and sports. A wool crewneck sweater can be worn with a collared shirt and even a tie for a more serious, businesslike appearance.

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Discussion Comments
By Windchime — On Jun 21, 2011

When I was put in charge of organising personalized tops for my amateur sports team I went for a crew neck sweatshirt design.

Not everyone is a fan of the ribbed cuffs and hem but they are cheap and easy to get a design onto, so at the end of the day they were the obvious choice.

By Valencia — On Jun 18, 2011

Crew neck sweaters are, in my opinion, the best type of pullover to wear over a collared shirt. If you go for something made from silk or a silk-cashmere blend, you can look stylish and stay warm at the same time.

By jonpurdin — On Jun 18, 2011

I know this is just my personal opinion, but I like men's crewneck tees on guys just fine, however, I like something a little more feminine or girly looking when it comes to tops on gals.

When it comes to crewneck sweatshirts I much prefer a hooded sweatshirt on both guys and gals.

By Monika — On Jun 18, 2011

@JessicaLynn - I'm a big fan of crewneck tops in the summer as well, but I don't find them to be very versatile. I think the crewneck is definitely a more casual style. When I'm dressing up I prefer a v-neck or a boat neck style shirt.

By JessicaLynn — On Jun 18, 2011

The women's crewneck is my favorite style of shirt to wear in the summer. I have one in almost every color! Crewnecks are comfortable and versatile too. I also really like the fact that it is a high neckline and I don't have to worry about anyone seeing down my shirt!

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