Recently Bill and I were in a restaurant, and we were waited on by a young woman who was wearing a collared shirt open at the neckline. I couldn’t help thinking how great a cross or pendant would look on her! A pendant or simple layered necklace worn inside the opening of a collared shirt can be intriguing.
This led to thinking about the decision of which necklace to wear with what neckline. There are so many choices! For example, low cut or detailed necklines often work best with shorter necklaces or chains, while a long necklace will soften the line of a turtleneck and can make a cowl neckline look elegant, flattering and stylish. With some necklines, such as a crew or boat, either a long or short necklace can be flattering. The v-neck, usually a most flattering style neckline, is great with a pendant — it draws the eye up and down in a vertical direction. The V-neck does tend to have a face-slimming effect, so if you have a thin face, a choker might be the best choice. Shorter necklaces direct attention to the face, and pendants and charms can be great attention-directors.
There are several things to consider when choosing what necklace to wear. One is body type: large jewelry can be slenderizing but can overpower a petite woman, who needs a more delicate necklace. Another is outfit type: a chunky necklace may be overpowering on some outfits, while a petite necklace may be lost on a bulky sweater. Match the “weight” of your necklace to your outfit: if you are wearing a delicate outfit, match it with either a delicate necklace, or try several delicate necklaces of differing lengths. At New Classics Jewelry we have several pieces, such as a simple cross, that fit the bill. And there is the occasion to consider: a dazzling necklace, such as Fire & Ice, is great for a special occasion, while a simpler necklace is appropriate for any occasion from dressy to office.
Necklace lengths usually fall into the following categories:
1. Collar (12”–13”long) – This will be very snug on an average-sized woman. A petite woman can probably wear it well. It works especially well with a V-neck, boat, or off-the-shoulder neckline.
2. Choker (14”-16”) The choker falls above the collarbone on the average woman, but may fall below your collarbone if you are petite or have a very slender neck. It goes well with just about any neckline and is perfect with a low-cut neckline or strapless dress. (Incidentally, this is also a good length for a child.)
3. Princess (17”-19”) This is the most popular sized necklace. It’s great with a crew, high or plunging neckline. Also works well with a pendant. On a plus-sized woman, the Princess may fit more like a choker.
4. Matinee (20”- 24”) – perfect for casual or business wear. It falls below the collarbone on the average-sized woman.
5. Opera (28”-34”) falls below the chest and is great with a crew or high neckline, cowl neckline or basic tee. The Opera necklace is versatile, can be worn day or evening, and can even be doubled for a choker; however, it may not work with a deep plunging neckline unless you want to call attention to your cleavage!
6. Rope (36”-45”) or even longer, the Rope can be worn as is, doubled, or even wound around as a bracelet. It can also be knotted. With a backless dress it can be worn across the neck in front and handing down in back, either plain or knotted. If this is the choice, you will want one with an especially pretty clasp.
7. Lariat – Usually over 45” long, the Lariat hangs with one or both ends free in front.
[NOTE: Women with very slender necks need to remember that the necklaces will hang longer on them than on the average woman. For larger neck sizes, it is best to choose the next size larger than the ones listed above.]
A good rule of thumb for necklace wear is: whether worn above or below the neckline, a necklace should end at least ½” – 1” from the neckline edge.
But the MAIN rule is to wear something that you enjoy!
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