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In praise of mock necks

April 23, 2024

Amber Day

I learned to play golf in Hyderabad, India, at a club that had blasted boulders and discharged peacocks to create its home. Other than the threat of snakes (scary) and mongooses (adorable but distracting), the course was much like the fairways I’d eventually walk in the States, down to the male-centric golf shop and strict dress code. As a tween, this caused major drama. I was expected—forced, even—to wear a polo with a collar. Gross! Polos were for men, men were grown-up boys, and boys were an extraterrestrial species (also scary) with whom I was not eager to engage.

My parents managed to source an ill-fitting and sickeningly magenta Abercrombie & Fitch polo. I wore it, begrudgingly, so that I could join my dad and his co-workers for their morning rounds. However, after about two years I couldn’t suffer through the unflattering and stifling cut any longer. I stopped playing golf.

Years later, fashion would be the reason I returned, but polos still sting, reminding me of rules I hated following, mostly because they weren’t designed for me, which is why I love mock necks: brilliantly sneaky inventions whose very name winks with snark: mock neck. I’m following the rules, in my own way, breaking them slightly, mocking them gently. Take that, dress codes! You can’t put a collar on me! With this tasteful inch of fabric around my decolletage, I belong.