How to Choose the Right Necklace Length

How to Choose the Right Necklace Length

Necklaces are a must-have jewellery essential for any collection but choosing the right length chain can be difficult. With various lengths available, it's important to understand how each chain length can enhance or detract from an outfit. Wearing the right necklace length is crucial to ensure it complements your neckline, face shape, and overall style.

If you're trying to figure out how to choose the best necklace length and which style of chains or pendants suit different necklines; this comprehensive guide will help you select the perfect necklace length for any outfit or occasion.


How do I know what length necklace to get?

The right length for a necklace depends on a few different factors, including the neckline of the outfit, the face and body shape of the wearer, as well as personal style preferences. A necklace between 16-18 inches is ideal for everyday wear as it's easy to style with most outfits since the versatile length complements both high and low necklines and suits most body types.



A Quick Guide to Necklace Lengths, Necklines, and Fit

Use our necklace size guide to find your perfect fit.


 Length Fit Neckline
Choker: 16 inches Base of the neck This necklace length suits a variety of necklines especially off the shoulder, crew, and boat necklines. If you don't like close-fitting chains and/or have a larger frame, this length necklace may be uncomfortable to wear.
Princess: 18 inches On the collarbone This is the most popular necklace length as it looks good on everyone and pairs well with almost any outfit and neckline. Pendant necklaces look exceptionally good when worn with a V-neck or sweetheart neckline.
Matinee: 20+ inches Below the collarbone This longer length looks good with a variety of outfits, especially those with high necklines and collared shirts and high necklines. For taller people or those with larger frames, this necklace length is a better choice than the popular princess length.
Opera: 28+ inches Below the bust This necklace length works well for high necklines, including turtlenecks and boat necks. It's a great choice for evening wear as it adds a dramatic flair to an outfit.
Rope: 40+ inches Over the navel Rope necklaces are designed to be wrapped around your neck to form a double stranded necklace. The draping style is best suited to the high necklines and scooped collars of formal wear.
Layering Necklaces : 40+ inches Depends on how they're styled Layering necklaces are of varying lengths, worn together as a group. Best styled with a necklace layering clasp to prevent tangles.
No Necklace : 40+ inches N/A For outfits with a very low plunging neckline or a very high halter neck, it's best to wear a pair of statement earrings or rings rather than a necklace.


How to Choose the Right Necklace Length

How to Choose the Right Length Necklace

Choosing the right necklace length has the power to accentuate your best features and enhance the overall appearance of your outfit. By considering factors such as neckline, face shape, body type, and personal style, you can choose a necklace length that best complements your look and makes you feel most confident.

This is how to choose the right length necklace so your jewellery is not only more comfortable to wear but easier to style. Remember to experiment with different lengths and styles to find what works best for you.


Understand Necklace Lengths

The right necklace length depends on a variety of factors so before trying to decide which necklace length to buy, familiarise yourself with the common chain lengths available and their typical placements on the body.

Necklace lengths vary, ranging from delicate chokers to dramatic opera lengths. The most popular necklace lengths are the choker, measuring 16 inches, and the princess length, measuring 18 inches. Both lengths are suitable for a wide range of outfits, making them a safe choice—especially when buying jewellery as a gift.


Consider your Neckline

The neckline of your outfit plays a significant role in determining what necklace length is most appropriate. Different length chains suit different necklines, and will dramatically impact how the necklace looks when worn with certain outfits. Knowing which length chain will suit your outfit is an easy yet impactful way to elevate your overall look.

For V-necks, opt for shorter necklace lengths (16-18 inches) to accentuate the neckline without overpowering it. Boat necklines require a necklace to be either super short or super long—nothing in-between! Crew necks require slightly longer necklace lengths (18 inches or more) to complement the neckline by adding length and drawing the eye downwards, while turtlenecks often look best with super long chains. Strapless and sweetheart necklines pair well with both shorter and longer chains, as well as statement pendants since these necklaces frame the décolletage beautifully.


Consider your Face Shape

Face shape also plays a role in determining the most complementary necklace lengths since wearing specific chain lengths can accentuate or soften certain facial features. This is useful to know if you're having difficulty understanding why a certain jewellery piece doesn't work for you!

Oval faces are versatile and can wear a variety of necklace lengths, although shorter chains are preferable as they will highlight the natural symmetry of the face. Round faces often suit longer necklace lengths, as these chains tend to elongate the face and create a more balanced look. Heart-shaped faces can draw attention upwards and balance their features by wearing shorter necklace lengths. Square faces have angular features, which can be softened by wearing longer chains that create an elongated silhouette.


Consider Your Body Type

Body type can also influence which necklace lengths look the most complementary and feel the best to wear. Your body type influences more than just clothing choices—it also affects the most complementary necklace lengths. Whether you're petite, curvy, or somewhere in between, the goal is to choose a chain that looks as good as it feels to wear.

Most necklace lengths are suitable for average-height individuals. Experiment with different lengths to find chains that best suit your style. Excessively long chains have a tendency to overwhelm petite frames so it's best to stick to shorter lengths. While for curvy individuals, shorter chains may be uncomfortable making longer necklace lengths a better choice for a more balanced silhouette.


Practical Considerations

In addition to aesthetics, practicality should also factor into your decision when choosing a necklace length. Consider the necklace's weight and how it will hang when worn to ensure the jewellery won't get in the way.

If you're an active person, jewellery that is lightweight and low-maintenance is a good choice. Shorter chains with small pendants that can be worn everyday are best for professional settings and everyday wear. While longer chains and statement necklaces are fantastic for those who love maximalist style!


Experiment and Personalise

Ultimately, choosing the right chain length is a matter of personal preference and style. Don't be afraid to experiment with different lengths and styles to find the right necklace that makes you feel confident and comfortable.

Try experimenting with layering necklaces of varying lengths for a more personalised look. With the perfect necklace, you can effortlessly elevate any outfit and express your unique sense of style.


How to Choose the Right Necklace Length

Tips for Choosing the Right Length Necklace as a Gift

Jewellery makes a great gift, but knowing what length necklace to buy can be tricky. Whether you're gift shopping for a friend, family member, or partner, this is how to choose the right necklace length when shopping for someone else.

Our tips for buying jewellery as a gift will ensure you never make a mistake ever again!


Know Their Style

Before even trying to decide on a necklace length, take a moment to consider the recipient's personal style. Do they prefer gold or silver? Are they a minimalist or maximalist dresser? What necklines do they most frequently wear?


Measure One of Their Existing Necklaces

If the recipient has a necklace they wear all the time or a few different chains they regularly switch between, try to measure one without them knowing. This will ensure you're purchasing the correct length necklace and one they'll actually wear.


Opt for a Versatile Length

When in doubt, opt for a necklace length that offers versatility. The princess necklace length (16 inches) is the most popular as it suits a wide range of styles, occasions, and body shapes. This length is neither too short nor too long, making it an ideal necklace for everyday wear or special occasions.

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Written by Sophie Davies

Sophie is a freelance writer and full-time jeweller. She has been writing about style and sustainability for over ten years; exploring simple living, sustainable style, and slow travel. She writes for a variety of brands and publications as well as her personal blog, A Considered Life.

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