A necklace can elevate your look immensely or it can draw attention to areas that you don’t want highlighted. Whether you’re shopping for a necklace online or in stores, find out how to choose the necklace length that’s right for your body and style.
The first thing you need to do is measure the circumference of your neck. Use a soft measuring tape and make sure it’s a snug fit to determine your size. Once you’ve gotten that out of the way, you can start looking at the right length for you. Keep in mind that the clasp also adds length to the necklace. The standard length of the connector is three-fourths of an inch, but the clasps can sometimes be longer and they’re not included in the overall length.
Finding the Right Necklace Length
Based on the circumference of your neck, you should always add at least two inches when purchasing a necklace that wraps tight around the neck. If the size of your neck is bigger, adjust the following sized based on the fact that a standard chocker is 16 inches (for a 14 inch neck).
14-16 inches. The choker, also called a chain or strand is supposed to wrap loosely around the neck, never restricting your neck when you take deep breaths.
18 inches. Usually called princess necklaces, these pieces of jewelry are designed to sit on the collarbone.
20 inches. Siting just below the collarbone, a 20 inch necklace is called a matinée and is usually the standard length for adding lockets and pendants.
22 inches. Landing at the top of the bust, this also falls into the matinée category.
24 inches. A necklace this long should be at the center of the bust or just below it.
28-38 inches. Hanging below the bust, a necklace in this region is either an opera necklace (30 inches), or a lariat (36 inches). The term rope refers to lariats without a clasp.
40 inches or more. At this length, necklaces hang below the navel and are usually worn wrapped around the neck, either two or three times.
Now that you know how to choose necklace length based on the look you’re going for, you should also learn more about what types of necklaces work for you, based on height and body type.
How to Choose Necklace Length Based on Height
The length of your necklace has a flattering effect when it’s proportional to your body. That doesn’t mean that petite women can’t wear longer necklaces, but it’s always something to consider when you choose the right length for you.
If your height is below 5’4’’, don’t go longer than 20 inches. If you want to elongate your frame, stick to this size and wear it over a V-neck dress or top.
Women with a height between 5’4’’ and 5’7’’ can pull off any length of necklace, from chokers to lariats.
If you’re 5’7’’ or taller, try to avoid tight chokers. The most flattering look is usually a longer necklace.
How to Choose Necklace Length Based on Body Type
Since necklaces can accentuate your bust and even your whole frame, it’s important to keep a few rules in mind when you choose the right one for you.
If you’re a column or a banana body type and you want do draw attention to your bust line, go for a necklace that hits above the top of the bust and below the collarbone, usually 20-22 inches. For a more flat chest, choose a longer and thinner necklace.
For an apple or a pear body type with full figures, stick to necklaces that hit above the breast line. Go as high as 18 inches, but don’t go too far in the opposite direction, by choosing a voluminous choker.
How to Match a Necklace to Your Outfit
A deep V-neck isn’t always compatible with a long necklace. For formal attire you should stay on the collarbone or above. When you’re wearing jewelry over a top with a turtleneck, either dress or blouse, go for the longer variety of necklaces. Never wear chokers over a turtleneck, go for a brooch at the center.
For pearl necklaces, two looks are considered the best. If you’re looking for pearl for a formal outfit, stay above the collarbone. The long pearl strands, for a less formal occasion, are usually even longer than 48 inches, allowing you to wrap them around multiple times.
How to Choose Necklace Length for Girls
Children’s necklaces usually only come in two standard sizes, 14 and 16 inches. For younger children with thin necks, 14 is the right call, but for preteens, you’re better off measuring or going for 16 inches.