How to Choose the Right Necklace Length

how to choose necklace

Different necklace lengths flatter different people and different necklines. 

It may not seem stressful picking out the perfect designer necklace, but things get tricky when they come in multiple sizes. Choosing a necklace that is right for your height, face shape and body can seem like a daunting task, especially if you are a necklace novice.

How do you know which size to pick? More importantly, how do you know which necklace length will flatter you the most?

While it may seem like jewelry is one-size-fits-all, different lengths are suitable for different purposes - and different people.

If you're stressed about finding the right necklace length for you, don‘t worry! We are here to help with some handy tips. Keep reading to find them out.

Where to start

Different necklace lengths flatter different people and different necklines.

The jewelry industry has standard necklace lengths that they follow for most, if not all, pieces produced. Still, that doesn't mean that alterations can't be made by way of an extender or simply by cutting the chain. Custom-made necklaces are always an option.

The standard options include the necklace length and the name for that length, along with proper placement of the necklace. From there, you can gauge what that may look best with.

Each term is associated with a specific length or range. Below, we provide you with more detailed information on the most common ones.

Collar necklaces

Collars are 12 to 14 inches, with multiple strands that sit very close to the neck. They’re popular at more elegant occasions and look best with V-neck, boat or ballet neck and off-the-shoulder necklines.

Before buying these pieces, it's best to measure your neck to make sure you'll have a comfortable fit. The necklace should be at least two inches longer than your neck circumference.

  • Wear a collar necklace with an open neckline or a strapless dress.
  • This length looks great on petite women.
  • If you also have a slender neck, a collar style necklace will show it off nicely.
  • If you are self-conscious about your neck, avoid this attention-grabbing style.

Choker necklaces

15 to 16 inches in length, a choker can be single or multi-stranded.

Chokers are perfect if you want a short necklace without being too snug around the neck.

They work well with many formal dresses, but it depends on what they’re made of silver or gold looks classic, while cord or leather looks grungy at high-fashion events.

  • A choker is a beautiful style to wear with an open blouse since it will peek out from beneath your collar.
  • This length also looks gorgeous with other tops that have open necklines, such as V-necks, scoop necks, strapless styles.
  • Like a collar necklace, the choker draws attention to the neck. If you consider your neck one of your best features, give this style a try.

Princess necklaces

17 to 19 inches, a princess hangs just below the collarbone. This is, by far, the most common and versatile necklace length out there.

Just make sure that your neckline or collar sits clearly higher or lower than the necklace. You’ll find that pendants, lockets and charms tend to come on chains of this length.

Many pendants come with 18-inch chains since this is the optimal length to show off a special bauble.

  • If searching for pearls, this is the model length for formalwear.
  • This length looks fantastic with any low, open neckline or strapless top.
  • You can also wear an 18-inch necklace over a turtleneck or other high neck.

Matinee necklaces

Matinee necklaces can range from 20 inches to 24 inches in length. Depending on your height and the exact length of the necklace, they will hit at the bust or slightly below it.

  • Because they rest on top of the bust or hang just beneath, this can be a somewhat awkward length to wear.
  • In most cases, you can't wear a matinee necklace with an open neckline or strapless top, since it will interfere with the neckline of your clothing.
  • Because they are a mid-length choice, they flatter most body types.
  • These styles look best over closed button-down shirts, turtlenecks, and other simple clothing options.

Opera necklaces

This grand-sounding name refers to any necklace ranging from 26 inches to about 34 inches in length. An opera-length necklace typically falls below the bust and above the waist.

  • This length can also help elongate a round-shaped face.
  • Worn over tops and dresses, this style is useful for emphasizing a tall frame.
  • This is a great length for many plus-size women, and it draws the eye to your bustline.
  • Evening wear, formal blouses and higher neckline outfits work well with opera necklace.
  • The opera style is ideal if your bust line is more attractive than your neckline, but wear a good bra if your chest will be the focal point.

Rope necklace

Any chain or strand 36 inches or longer is considered a rope necklace. This type of necklace typically falls below the waist, though 36-inch styles may hit just above the waist on some women.

For pearl wearers, these longer lengths are best suited for relaxed occasions but can be doubled or tripled to accent for more formal clothing.

Beaded necklaces are extremely popular in this length as well.

  • Worn once around the neck, a rope necklace is ideal for taller women.
  • You can wrap the necklace multiple times around your neck to get a variety of looks from this length.
  • Women of all heights can look lovely when they wear a rope necklace wrapped.
  • This style looks beautiful with elegant clothing since it tends to appear quite formal.

Whatever length you choose, do remember: as with any “general” advice, there are always exceptions, so it is always best to try necklaces on, if possible