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Matching Necklaces and Necklines

It can be hard to keep up with day to day life – let alone try to keep up with the fashion trends! And while Joslin’s may not have up-to-the-moment notes from the fashion runways of Paris, we do know a thing or two about jewelry and how to wear it. More specifically, we have tips on how to perfectly match your necklace to your outfit. In short, your choice should correlate to the shape of the neckline of your top. It’s a simple set of guidelines for pairing necklaces and necklines that may come in handy for years to come!

The goal of pairing a necklace with your outfit is to create balance, to maintain symmetry, and to accentuate a flattering focal point. Depending on the cut of the top and the particular necklace pairing, the focal point of the ensemble changes. For example, a particular necklace and neckline combination may cause the eye to be drawn to the lower neck or throat area; another may draw one’s attention to the shoulders; and, yet another, may emphasize the jawline. By appropriately matching flattering necklines with complementary necklaces, wearers can rest assured they look their very best, and make the statement that’s aimed for.

Necklace Lengths

It’s important to know the specific terms for various necklace lengths so when they are mentioned, you’ll be able to better picture, or identify, a particular style of necklace. In simple terms, a “collar” necklace is about 14 inches in length, a “choker” measures about 16”, and a “princess” reaches about 18”. “Matinee” necklaces are longer yet, around 20-24”, while “opera” necklaces are about 30”. Finally, rope or lariat necklaces are the longest, reaching 33-35”.

How to Choose A Flattering Necklace

Balance is crucial — without a proper focal point, your outfit can appear either top- or bottom-heavy, and may not be flattering to your body type.

  • Start by wearing a top or dress with a neckline that flatters your face. This is essential, as not all neckline shapes are flattering on all people. Read more about flattering necklines in this article from Stitch Fix.
  • Select a necklace shape that reflects the shape of the neckline. A necklace may be used to narrow a wider neckline, but should never be used to attempt to widen a narrow neckline.
  • Don’t distract from your face. That is, don’t overdo your look with a busy necklace and hectic, overly detailed neckline pairing. Keep it simple and avoid overcomplicating the outfit – a busy neckline is not complemented by a bold-statement necklace.
  • Don’t leave excess space between the necklace and your neckline. Wearing a low neckline? Don’t wear a necklace that drops lower than the neckline. Wearing a regular neckline on a crop-top? Don’t wear a necklace that hangs lower than the entire shirt hem (there are a few exceptions to this rule but they involve layering necklaces – but even a layered combination paired with a fussy neckline still does not the present the best look).

Necklace and Neckline Pairings – A Guide

Examples of Necklace and Neckline Stylings

For the most part, a longer necklace will draw the eye downward, towards the belly area, while shorter necklaces will lift the gaze to the collarbone or shoulder area. The shortest necklaces place a focus on the neck area. Once you know which necklines flatter your face and figure best, choose the right necklaces to further accentuate your best features. Following are a few common pairings have proven to work quite well.

For a button-up top, use a choker – or any necklace that rests a little above the top-most buttoned button – to correctly place the focus on the lower throat/collar bone area.

For many v-neck tops, the focal point is the upper chest area; opt for a v-shaped necklace with an angular pendant.

Wearing a strapless neckline – on a formal dress, for example? Select a choker length; and, if wearing a necklace with a pendant, opt for a shorter pendant. The goal is to draw the eye away from the stomach area and up towards the neck or collarbone area.

For a scoop neckline, try big beads but tread carefully. This pairing may cause the wearer to appear larger or more rounded.

Square necklines are another tricky area – try pairing with angular pendants that draw attention to the jawline instead of creating a more broad-shouldered look.

Halter necklines are sometimes best with no necklace; many fashion designers instead opt for large statement earrings. However, if you like the necklace look, choose a piece that is relatively simple with a short, narrow pendant. Follow the inverse of the neckline in a v-shape.

When wearing a sweetheart neckline, the focal point should be on the upper chest area. Use a wide pendant with soft angles, or even a round pendant, to accentuate the right curves.

Turtlenecks are best paired with longer-length necklaces, as shorter lengths, such as a choker, tend not to be seen with a high neck style.

For crew necklines, princess or choker lengths are the most flattering, drawing attention to the collarbones – while also narrowing the shoulders.

Custom Necklaces Designed to Fit You Best

Looking for a necklace to perfectly suit your features – or to pair with an outfit for a special event? Drop by Joslin’s for assistance! We’d love to work with you to find that one-of-a-kind necklace that truly makes you shine!