April 27, 2021 9 min read
Options seem endless when choosing a necklace type. We’ve all been there in front of the mirror wondering which necklace type looks best and how to be certain we’ve selected the right style. Too often choosing a necklace becomes an afterthought when it has so much potential to add character and definition to your look. Whether you’re shopping for a necklace to match an outfit or looking for ways to wear a necklace that doesn’t seem to match anything, our guide to necklace types will help you find a design that looks best on you and offer tips to help you style it.
Necklaces are categorized according to necklace length and style. From shortest to longest, necklace types include choker, collar, princess, matinee, and rope. Each of these necklace types comes in many different designs. To know which type is best for you, think about the look you want to achieve, the length of your body type and decolletage, and the luster you want to emanate.
Average length: 14 inches
The choker necklace has a rich history, full of symbolism. It’s been painted on Degas’ ballerinas for delicacy and worn for power and protection by ancient pharaohs. The red ribbon choker symbolized scorn for beheadings during the French Revolution but was also worn by Victorian royalty for elegance. Choker necklaces have made a comeback nearly every decade of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, so it’s safe to say the choker is here to stay.
A simple snake chain makes a basic but beautiful choker. Some chokers are flat to the neck, while others stand out with gemstones, beads, or metal that adds thickness. They can also include a pendant for a little extra length.
Average length: 16 inches
Collar necklaces are more delicate and softer than chokers, but that doesn’t mean they make less of a statement. If you’re looking for a short necklace but not quite as tight as a choker, a collar necklace can give you just the bit of extra breathing room you need. They drape right at the collarbone, so they still draw the eye up toward the face without the added squeeze of a choker.
Collarbone necklaces may be simple or extravagant. Many collar necklaces include fringe or hanging ornamentation to resemble a blouse collar. Fringe and Riviere necklaces are two types of collars that leave an impression. A Riviere necklace is a collar of gems that may be one color or multi-colored.
Average length: 18 inches
The princess style necklace is the little black dress of jewelry. It’s perfect for any occasion but far from basic. This is the most common type of necklace for women because it looks beautiful on everyone, and the length suits any outfit. When you think of a princess necklace, you may think of extravagant bling, but the princess style can be subtle. In fact, owning a simple princess necklace is like investing in a good pair of jeans--you won’t regret it and may find it’s the most frequently worn item in your closet.
Princess style necklaces with simple pendants are some of the most versatile necklaces. You can’t go wrong no matter what you match them with. Bib necklaces are a type of princess style that you only wear on occasion. They’re attention grabbers and work best when enhancing a plain outfit.
Matinee average length: 20-24 inches
Rope average length: 36+ inches
Both matinee and rope necklaces are long and come in similar styles, many of the same styling rules apply to both types. These long necklaces exhibit effortless elegance. They are best for formal or semi-formal occasions unless wrapped around the neck to adjust the length.
Rope necklaces don’t need a clasp but may have one. Either way, you might never unfasten it because these necklaces slip right over the head. If your rope necklace has a clasp, you can unfasten it to create a different style. Lariat necklaces wrap once or twice around the neck and have two ends that remain open on the torso. Bolo necklaces also remain open on the ends but have a pendant that holds the two chains together closer to the center.
Average length: 36+ inches
The lariat necklace is a unique type of rope necklace without a clasp that wraps around the neck to create different lengths and styles. It’s a one-size-fits all accessory since it’s adjustable to any body type or outfit. Long beaded or pearl lariats are best for formal or semi-formal occasions, but shortening the length can make the necklace great for casual wear.
Average length: 16 inches
The Riviere is a type of collar necklace made of gemstones that flow around the neck in a continuous stream. The round, oval, or cushion gems can be synchronous, different sizes, or graduating in size. The Riviere with rose-cut gems was popular in the Regency era and is a staple in the former editor of Vogue Anna Wintour’s wardrobe today.
Knowing the anatomy of a necklace can help you make more informed decisions about which type of necklace to buy.
Once you’ve decided on a necklace length and style, you can decide on the particulars of the design, whether you want a pendant or not, and whether you prefer a simple or statement piece.
have a lot to offer a necklace. They can lengthen, personalize,
or accent a necklace. They can also provide meaning or create a
focal point. The pendant style you choose should do exactly what
you want for your wardrobe.
A pendant is a part of a necklace. A pendant must have a chain to be part of a necklace, but a necklace doesn’t need a pendant. It’s an extra feature that gives a necklace personality. Some pendants are permanent, but others can be removed and replaced for a different look. A locket is a unique type of pendant that is very personal to the wearer. Lockets are usually given by someone special or purchased to remember a loved one. Both pendants and lockets are used with any necklace type.
Statement necklaces work well for the everyday maximalist or for someone who just wants to look extravagant for an evening. Here are a few tips to create an eye-catching but not overly distracting look.
Simple necklaces add femininity and shine to your look. They’re easy to pair and mix and match. A simple necklace isn’t limited to a plain chain; it can be beaded or have a pendant and still be delicate. It’s hard to go wrong with a simple necklace, but here are a few tips to help you look your best.
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