The signature piece of fashion for all dressers, casual and formal, is the necklace. Finding the right length, however, is no cakewalk. Too short, and it feels stifling and unflattering; too long, and it looks shabby, hidden away beneath necklines. To help you choose the right necklace length that perfectly complements your ensemble, we’ve prepared a complete how-to guide, complete with practical styling tips and ideas. Let’s get started!
Understanding Necklace Lengths
Necklaces come in several different lengths to flatter all types of necklines — from the more fitted collars and chokers, to the timelessly elegant princess length, to the fuller matinee, opera, and rope lengths. Below is a rough guide on the various necklace lengths used in jewellery:
● Collar: 12-13 inches / 30-33 cm
● Choker: 14-16 inches / 35-41 cm
● Princess: 18-20 inches / 45-50 cm
● Matinee: 22-23 inches / 56-58 cm
● Opera: 30-35 inches / 75-90 cm
● Rope: Any length longer than the opera length
Popular Necklace Lengths
The popularity of each length depends on current necklace trends.
Princess length necklaces are perennially in style, and for good reason. The sweet spot of this style is where it comfortably lies against the clavicle bones — a look that is universally flattering for any neckline.
Chokers hug the base of the throat, while collars tenderly wrap the neck. Both styles are present in many contemporary fashion looks, lending a rather distinctive edge to any outfit.
Opera length necklaces are perfect for those who like a dramatic look as they fall around the bust line, whereas rope necklaces can be wrapped to sit on or just below the centre of the bust. Matinee necklaces are mid-way between collars and opera-length pieces, and pair great for both work and play.
Factors to Consider When Choosing The Right Necklace Length
Though personal taste is subjective, there are a few practical elements to consider when it comes to finding the right length — especially if you want to dress up for an occasion or layer your necklaces.
Your Body Type
When it comes to choosing the right necklace length, your body type is perhaps the most important factor. The goal is to find balance and look graceful; you don’t want to drown a petite figure or add bulk over a broad frame.
Shorter, tighter lengths are better for those with longer necks, while princess and matinee styles can flatter any neck type and give off the illusion of a longer, thinner neck (i.e., a swan neck).
Additionally, consider your face shape. Here’s a handy necklace styling tip: If you're aiming to create a slimmer look, opt for a longer necklace with a pendant; this will help create an elegant "V" silhouette away from your face. Conversely, sharper faces such as a heart or rectangle could benefit from a shorter necklace length like a choker or collar.
Finally, factor in your overall height. It’s easy to think that the longer the necklace, the more dramatic the effect. But this can be a mistake, particularly for women on the shorter side. Chunky designs and overly long necklaces can be overpowering for those of us that don't tower over everyone else. Women with smaller frames may find that a shorter length — one that rests just below the collarbone or just above the bust — suits better, offering a neat, structured look.
Type Of Neckline
Next up in our necklace length choosing guide: necklines! Collar necklaces look best when paired with open-neck outfits such as scoop, V-neck, off-the-shoulder, and bateau. Chokers and princess lengths work universally, while opera and rope necklaces can add drama to high necklines and accentuate a long neck. The latter also works wonderfully with evening wear or formal business attire.
Since a necklace is one of the main focal points of an outfit, it's important to be intentional while selecting the right size and style. To keep attention on your necklace, pair it with simple earrings. Or better yet, leave them out and opt for balancing pieces like bangles, bracelets, and rings instead.
For a look that'll have even the most style-savvy looking twice, layer your necklace. Think chokers and chains together, or long lengths with key pieces. See Top 5 Tips on How to Layer Your Jewellery like a Pro for more ways to elevate your layering game.
It’s also best to factor in the occasion when dressing up with your jewellery. For a more glamorous event, the bolder the better — pick a dramatic length and a standout statement necklace. However, if you’re looking for more casual wear, a simple, versatile-length necklace is ideal.
Before You Go…
While necklace length guides and styling tips can help steer you in the right direction, ultimately, the best rule is to play around and have fun with your choices. Find what you love, and make it your own! Whatever your neckline or body type, be sure to seek out a necklace design that’s evergreen and comfortable enough to take from day to night — and you’ll be sure to shine no matter the occasion.
Bring a touch of elegance to your everyday with Diamond & Platinum. Capture the allure of every moment with our necklace and pendant jewellery collection. Shop the latest styles, in-store or online today.