How to Choose the Right Necklace Length for Every Occasion

Take a look through your jewelry box. Do you find a necklace or two, or more, that you love, but never wear? Maybe it doesn’t lay correctly on your collar bone, or reaches just the wrong spot on that one dress it matches. Perhaps you love the look of it, but wish it were shorter – or longer. And remember, different necklace lengths fall differently on men than on women, and even on different people.

Looking great in any necklace, whether pearls, chains, a pendant, or other type of material, depends greatly on the shape of your face, the length of your neck, your body type, and what you’re wearing. Each outfit and every occasion deserves a necklace that complements your frame, your face, and your fashion, so let’s look at the factors involved in choosing that perfect necklace.

The jewelry industry’s standard necklace lengths are measured in inches and are generally even numbers rather than odd numbers. Chain necklaces, however, can be cut to any length and custom-designed pieces may be any length the designer chose.

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Women have myriad options of length and style. Here are the standard choices:

Length: 12-14 inches.

This style is called the Collar and is designed to fit snugly around the neck. The Collar pairs best with boatnecks and off-the-shoulder blouses, V-necks and scoop necks. This style complements women with long, slender necks.

Length: 14-16 inches.

This style is called the Choker and sits around the base of the neck at the hollow of the throat. The Choker looks best if worn with a neckline that falls below the necklace.

Length: 17-19 inches.

This style is called the Princess and is most often right at 18 inches. This necklace length is highly versatile and looks great with nearly every fashion choice, but does especially well with button-ups, scoop necks, and V-necks. Adding pendants gives the Princess an especially classy feel.

Length: 20-24 inches.

This style is called the Matinee and falls between the collarbone and bust. Excellent for both business and casual wear, this style works great with high collars such as turtlenecks. Pairing the Matinee length with shorter necklaces such as the Princess length adds interest and beauty to your outfit.

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Length: 24-36 inches.

This style is called the Opera and lays anywhere from the center of the bust to an inch or two below. Layering this necklace length also works well, or you can twist and use as a double-strand Collar-style necklace. The Opera, as its name suggests, pairs best with high necklines and evening wear.

Length: 36-45+ inches.

This style is called the Rope, also may be known as the Lariat. This length is designed to sit between the bust and the bellybutton. A sophisticated length, it is paired well with evening wear or elegant business events. The Rope has many options such as wrapping, doubling, tripling, layering, or knotting.

Measuring your neck and estimating necklace drape is important to getting the correct fit and look for you. Begin by measuring your neck, then allow one-half inch drape per inch of necklace. So if your neck measures 15 inches, an 18-inch necklace will drape around an inch and a half below the base of the throat. Necklace clasps or connectors are not usually included in the length measurement, so keep that in mind.

It’s important to remember, though, that all necks are different. You may have a short, long, wide, or slender neck, and that will affect which length you want to wear. If you have a wider neck and prefer shorter necklaces, you will probably need to go with an inch or two longer.

Your height is also an important consideration. If you’re 5’4” or below, 16-20 inch necklaces will look best on you. V-shapes will make you appear taller. If you’re 5’4” to 5’7”, you’re lucky and can wear necklaces of nearly any length!If you’re 5’7” of taller, you can wear most any length, but longer styles accentuate your frame. Facial shape is another consideration; if your face is oval, you can wear nearly any length of necklace (keeping in mind neck size and height). Round faces need a slimming “V” shape, so longer necklaces work well.

Men have fewer options, but most men’s neckpieces work with most men’s outfits. The smallest size available for men typically is 18 inches. This length will sit, on average, at the base of the neck. Twenty-inch necklaces are the most common length for males and sits, on average, directly on the collarbone.  Again, clasps are not considered when measuring length.

A gorgeous necklace is the focal point of any fashion statement and Dusty Shutt Silver, Ltd. is your go-to necklace expert. Craig and Dusty’s exquisite artistry and attention to detail ensures that you receive unique jewelry to complement your unique style. Peruse our website to find hand-crafted necklaces or contact us to order your specialty piece!

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