With so many necklace styles, designs, and lengths to choose from, it can be hard to know which looks best. Simple, staple necklaces are wardrobe essentials, but they should never be worn as a cop-out to avoid choosing a necklace. When you find yourself wearing the same necklace day after day, you may be stuck in a styling rut. We’re here to help you out of the rut—because styling your necklace shouldn’t be a hassle. The most important rule: follow your neckline. Your neckline creates an outline to help you decide which necklace to pair with your outfit. We’ll show you how to wear necklaces for different necklines and give you additional tips on how to wear different necklace styles to help make your selection simple.
How to wear necklaces for different necklines
When choosing a necklace to match your neckline, you should consider a few questions along the way.
What do you want your necklace to do for you? A necklace is never merely decorative–it guides the expression of your style. Decide if you want your necklace to steal the show or shine the spotlight on you or your outfit. Do you want it to highlight your best features, emphasize your outfit, or make a statement all its own?
Where do you want to create a focal point? Necklace length is important. Remember that eyes will naturally fall where your necklace falls. Consider what you may or may not want people to notice when choosing a necklace.
What’s the shape of your neckline? If you’re confused about whether or not your necklace looks good or are unsure about why it doesn’t look quite right, your neckline is the first factor to consider. The length, width, and shape of your neckline should guide your decision. Here are a few guidelines to follow:
- Match the shape of your necklace to the shape of your neckline.
- If your neckline is low, don’t go lower with a necklace.
- Don’t add a statement necklace to a busy neckline.
- Don’t leave too much empty space between your necklace and neckline.
- Use your necklace shape to narrow a wide neckline but not to widen a narrow neckline.
What necklaces to wear with what neckline
Necklace for a V neck
A v-neck narrows and elongates and so should the necklace you wear with it. Choose a necklace that creates a smaller V and falls neatly inside your V neckline. Don’t wear a necklace wider or longer than a V neck, or your necklace will rival your neckline.
Our recommendation: Black and Gold Avalon Wrap Necklace
Necklace for a round neckline
If you’re wearing a round neckline, like a crew neck or scoop neck, make sure your necklace is also a round shape. Don’t choose a V-shaped necklace or one with a pointed pendant.
Necklace for a crew neck
A crew neck shortens the neck and gives the illusion of a fuller chest. This neckline looks good with a short or long necklace, so your decision depends on whether you want to create a full chest with a long necklace or avoid it with a short one. You can also use a necklace to create a collar on a crew neck. Riviere-style necklaces add the perfect sparkly collar.
Necklace for a scoop neck
A scoop neck emphasizes the collarbone. If you want your collarbone to be more pronounced, choose a short, round necklace. Long necklaces also look great with this style of neckline. But if you’re wearing a low scoop neck, your necklace should not hang lower than the neckline. Otherwise, you’ll create a distracting amount of empty space above the neckline. A scoop neck provides a great setting for a statement piece, like a fringe or bib necklace.
Our recommendation: Multi-Strand Labradorite Necklace with Sterling Silver
Necklace for a high neckline
High necklines, like a halter necks or turtlenecks, create an upside-down V that narrows your shoulders and lengthens your torso. Select a long necklace that does not compete with a high collar. Rope or lariat necklaces are a great choice.
Necklace for a halter neckline
Halter tops show off the shoulders and make them look slimmer, so choose a V-shaped necklace that also elongates your shape.
Necklace for a turtleneck
With a turtleneck, choose a necklace that draws the eye downward and away from the neck to avoid overcrowding it. This neckline looks great with layered necklaces and long pendants.
Our recommendation: Black Onyx Druzy Pendant on Black Spinel
Necklace for a sweetheart neckline
Choose a necklace that adds to and enhances the curves of the sweetheart neckline. A necklace with sharp angles will cause a blunt and confusing disruption. A mid-length necklace looks best since it leads the eye right to the heart of the neckline.
Our recommendation: Black and Gold Keum-Boo Diamond Disk Necklace
Necklace for a square neckline
A square neckline contrasts the natural curves of the body and creates a more angular look, so your necklace should also have edges. Square or rectangular pendants suit this neckline well.
Our recommendation: Long Triple-Strand Bead Necklace
Necklace for one shoulder dress or blouse
If your neckline falls off the shoulder, go bolder. One-shoulder dresses leave space for a statement necklace. The same rule applies to strapless dresses. Both necklines leave empty space that can be filled with a stunning statement necklace. It’s a good idea to keep your necklace collar length with a one-shoulder neckline so you don’t create two focal points (the necklace and the shoulder) that distract from one another.
Our recommendation: 5-Stick Rose-Cut Sapphire Necklace with Tourmaline
Necklace for a boat neck
A boat neck widens the shoulders, so you may want to choose a necklace that draws the eye inward and adds length. A princess or matinee necklace with a pendant can help you achieve this effect.
Our recommendation: Dream of Moorea – Silver and Baroque Pearl Pendant Necklace
Necklace for a cowl neckline
A cowl neck draws attention to itself, and your necklace shouldn’t compete with it for attention. Choose a necklace that lies above the cowl neckline, not on top of it. A short and simple pendant will look nice and clean. But if your cowl neck is large or high, you may want to opt for earrings instead of a necklace. If this neckline is soft and subtle, choose a simple princess-length necklace.
Our recommendation: Gold Ringlets on Woven Chain
Necklace for a collared shirt
The collar and the buttons down the center of a collared shirt already embellish the shirt like accessories, so it can be challenging to find the right necklace. A simple necklace is a safe and elegant choice, but a statement necklace can also work if it fits within the opening of the collar or sticks out from beneath the collar.
Our recommendation: Black and Gold Simple Avalon Necklace
How to wear a necklace
- Keep it neat. Make sure the styles are congruent so your necklace blends with the rest of your outfit. If you choose a statement necklace, make sure it complements your style and fits your neckline.
- Keep it simple with busy tops. Wear simple and long necklaces when your outfit has a lot going on to prevent a confusing look.
- Don’t distract from your face. Your necklace should accent your face shape and enhance your features, not add length to an oval-shaped face or shorten a round face.
- Find your focus. Don’t wear statement earrings with a statement necklace–that includes even simple layered necklaces. Bold earrings need a subtle necklace; even a small pendant may be distracting. Bold necklaces call for simple studs.
How to wear long necklaces
- Don’t wear long necklaces with crop tops. It looks best when a necklace falls somewhere above the bottom of the shirt. Choker or collar necklaces look great.
- Don’t add too much length. You don’t want to over-elongate to the point of sagging. Picture a long dress with a low scoop neck and a rope necklace–the look is disproportionately heavy on the lower half.
- Layer or wrap long necklaces for versatility. Long necklaces are multi-purpose pieces that can be shortened, lengthened, layered, or even wrapped around the wrist like a bracelet for different looks.
How to layer necklaces like a pro
Layering necklaces is simpler than you may think. The number of layers you wear is limitless. Wearing multiple pieces of jewelry at one time looks beautiful and is sure to attract compliments if styled tastefully. Here are a few options for layering necklaces.
- Stacked layers, one right on top of another, add color, texture, and flair to shorter necklaces.
- Slightly longer layers with similar chains give a reflective or shadow effect. Try wearing two collar-length necklaces but choose one a fourth of an inch longer.
- Long layers create depth and make a statement. You can tier each layer at a different level for symmetry or tier a few with some stacked in between for extra dimension.
- Layers with no embellishments give a dainty and more formal or more a minimalist look. You can play with different widths and links to vary your look. But it’s usually best to stick with one color.
- Layers with embellishments can have a single pendant, multiple small beads or charms, multiple larger pendants, or an assortment of embellishments. When you have pendants with different colors, you can also vary the color of the chains layered.
How to wear multiple necklaces without tangling
- Weigh one or more layers down with a pendant.
- Vary the textures. Chains with linking or beading of different sizes or shapes are less likely to tangle.
- Spread out the lengths. A choker with a lariat, for example, would have too wide a distance between the layers to tangle.
How to wear pendants
- Decide how many pendants you want to wear.
- Choose your pendant length. Long pendant necklaces add weight, so they’re great for adding shape to flowy shirts or chunky sweaters. Short pendants can create a central focal point on a round necklace and look great with a V-neck or collared shirt.
- Decide how you want to stack them. Two different pendants can lie side-by-side, either on the same chain or two different chains. If you tier the layers, place the heaviest pendant on the bottom for balance.
- Make sure your pendants complement each other. They don’t have to be the same shape, color, or style, but all three should balance each other well.
How to wear a necklace with a T-shirt
- Graphic T-shirts usually require short necklaces since they don’t overlap with the print. Choose simple gold chains, chokers, or short statement pieces.
- White T-shirts provide a backdrop for bold statements–either layers or colorful bib necklaces.
- Flowy T-shirts often need long pendants or multiple layers to add shape
- Tanks can be dressed up with a choker or collar necklace that retains and refines the top’s playfulness.
When not to wear a necklace
Adding a necklace to any of these three styles also adds chaos and clutter to your look.
- With a high, thick, or ruffled neck
- With statement earrings
- With necklines embellished with bling or bows
There are always exceptions to styling rules, and when it comes to your style, you know best. Since you’ve learned the rules to necklace styling, you can break them tastefully. Now that you know how to pair necklaces with different outfits, you can put your knowledge into practice with current necklace trends.
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