How to Choose the Right Length Necklace

Many of today’s perfectly-acceptable clothing trends break fashion’s longest-standing “rules.” For instance, you can now wear black to weddings, sport white after Labor Day, or pair navy blue with black. In short, if you can tastefully pull it off — pretty much anything goes!

This also seems to apply to necklace lengths. While Victorian England was characterized by chokers and the 20s were known for their waste-length beads, there are trends that come and go, but not one particular length that’s worn more prominently today. While your options are nearly endless, there’s likely one particular style that is best suited to you.

Here are a few considerations to help you choose a necklace that plays up your best features, or makes your entire ensemble pop.

Know your lengths. As a rule of thumb, long chains accentuate the collarbone and shorter ones emphasize the neck. This is simply due to the way they draw attention to those respective parts of the body. But let’s drill down a little further into some of the most common necklace lengths on the market today. Necklaces that are:

  • 10-14 inches — Fit tightly around the neck. 14-inch chokers are best worn with tops that have a lower, more open neckline. This includes boatnecks, scoops, V-necks or off-the-shoulder numbers.
  • 16 inch — Fits loosely around the neck and go with almost anything.
  • 18 inch — Typically called a “princess” length, flatters the collarbone area and is a most common choice for women. Like the 16-inch chain, it goes well with just about everything.
  • 20 inch — Sits below the collarbone. Great for both business or casual outfits.
  • 22 inch — Lays at or just above the bust. Again, a flexible length for dressing up or down.
  • 24 inch — Lays just below the center of the bust. A comfortable length for just about any outfit, but is a great length to elevate an outfit.
  • 28-38 inches — Falls below the bust area. 28-36 inches are called “opera” length and work best with high necklines or evening attire, while 36-42 are referred to as “rope,” and cast an air of elegance to an evening outfit.
  • 40 inch — Hangs below the navel and are most difficult to wear without being more of a distraction than an addition — but perfect to finish off your flapper costume.

Factor in your physical specs. When choosing any jewelry style — but especially necklaces — it’s important to consider your unique features. Consider your skin, height and build. For instance, a choker is perfect for individuals with heart-shaped faces because they help to soften the angles of the chin. However, individuals with more mature skin around the neck should forego the choker in favor of something longer. 22-38 inches are more likely to help elongate the neck and draw the eye down — especially if the necklace has a little sparkle. Individuals with an oval-shaped face have the most freedom to wear just about any length they want with ease.

Like any of today’s trends that break the rules, the necklace suggestions above are merely that… suggestions. At the end of the day, the best jewelry pieces to wear are the ones you really love. When you feel good, you look great. If you can tastefully pull it off — pretty much anything goes!