Every autumn, I have the exact same sartorial dilemma. As the weather starts to cool and skies revert to perma-gray, I find myself falling in love with a turtleneck or two. They look so cozy, I tell myself, and I won’t even need to wear a scarf! So I buy one, despite the five unworn turtlenecks of last year that are now wedged in the back of my closet. I wear the turtleneck to work the next day, feeling so warm and seasonally-appropriate, and then … it happens. I start feeling constricted. I spend all day futzing with the turtleneck, trying to adjust it so that it feels more like a wool hug and less like an itchy strangulation device. Nothing works. I go home at the end of the day, toss the turtleneck on the floor, and spend the rest of fall and winter in crewnecks.

Why do I do this to myself every year? Are turtlenecks a sign of maturity – as soon as I get a little older and chill out, I’ll become so Zen I won’t notice my clothes trying to cut off my breathing?

This year’s victim? A black and silver striped sweater I bought at the Corte Ingles department store on a recent trip to Madrid. So far, I’ve made it through one entire day without tugging frantically at my neckline. But now that I’m back home in the States, I’m terrified to try wearing the sweater again, as if whatever kind of odd Spanish magic it had will now have dissipated. But sooner or later – probably on a day when I’m well overdue for a load of laundry – I’m going to give that adorable turtleneck a try. And maybe this year will finally be the year I make it through.