As – it seems- with all things in life, matching necklaces to necklines is all about balance. You need to envision the pairing from a third-person perspective in order to appreciate how length, height, size, and style all combine to create an outfit that is in harmony.
Generally speaking, a high neckline requires a long necklace, and thus a low neckline is best suited to a shorter necklace.
Let’s have a look at some variants on this.
Loved and hated by both old and young, turtlenecks are a persistent neckline, dipping in and out of fashion like a dolphin surfing the waves. As turtlenecks extend right up to the nose (it sometimes seems), a longer necklace seems the best way to restore much-needed balance to the ensemble. It really depends on which way you want to go.
It is absolutely essential to note that neither one of the two is superior to the other. There is time to be classy just as equally as there is time to be flashy, darlings, it just depends on your own personal style. If you want something more classic and sophisticated, then a simple chain or more minimal pendant is what you should pair with your turtleneck. However, if you want something that will catch the eyes of people several streets away (and possibly knock a few eyes out if you turn around too quickly) then by all means find the biggest and best statement pendant with a stunning central sapphire that you can find and flaunt it with all you’ve got.
From one extreme to the other, scoop necks are not the balaclava that turtlenecks can be, and thus leave lots of skin exposed, which is our canvas of opportunity to display necklaces that do not extend below the fabric of the garment, a.k.a shorter necklaces. Scoop-necked-fashion has a tendency to be on the plainer side, which is good for those of us looking for any excuse to crack out an excessively lavish necklace. If, however, you enjoy the simplicity of a scoop neck because it is plain and simple, maybe opt for class rather than flash.
Either one of these necklaces, as well as any number of others, would be very well suited to a scoop neckline. Don’t be afraid to scale up or down accordingly depending on the depth of the scoop as well. If – for whatever reason – your scoop neckline goes so low that your navel is on display (no judgement here), then go for a necklace grand enough to coat the exposed areas of your torso. Equally, if your scoop barely gets past your collar bones, then something a touch more modest may be in order.
Choke On It
Some necklines are undoubtedly best complemented by shorter, tighter necklaces, such as chokers, collarettes, and bib-style necklaces. These necklines are also a great excuse to give up on trying to untangle the unholy weave of long necklaces that we all keep hidden in our jewellery boxes (or perhaps it’s just me that does this).
Not just for soldiers and roadies, the crew neck is a versatile neckline, suiting most people, and easy to transition from casual to smarter wear. The crewneck suits a ‘smarter’, ‘neater’ necklace befitting its title and so small, shorter necklaces such as bibs and even small pendants are the ones you want to be focussing on when styling.
Simple, understated necklaces find their time to shine when paired with a crew neck. If you try to pair a crewneck with a longer necklace, you will see the discord between the two; crew necks are not like scoop necks and turtlenecks, they do not need necklaces to balance out the negative space they create. Rather, a crew neck needs a necklace to neatly tie off the line of the garment itself.
Some of you will have recoiled at simply reading that word, I am sure. Strapless clothes are – and have long been – the bane of some peoples’ lives. Be that as it may, people continue to wear and – I’m told – enjoy strapless outfits. With this in mind, I can recommend nothing more than a choker or collarette style necklace to get the most out of a strapless neckline. This style creates balance through leaving space, rather than eliminating it (like the turtleneck and scoop neck). The strapless/collarette combination also differs from the crew neck as it does not require the necklace to closely follow the line of the garment – almost the opposite is true in fact.
Strapless necklines are interesting ones to style, because while they clearly would look excellent with a choker or collarette style necklace, they are also surprisingly well-suited to long draping necklaces. So if you were looking to wear something strapless, but wanted to cover some of your décolletage, consider pairing a strapless item with one, two, or possibly even three fine necklaces, around 18 – 22” in length. A stylish way to wear chokers and collarettes is to opt for pearls, diamonds, and other classic stones.
Some necklines suit necklaces that mimic their shape, or at least follow it quite closely. These examples are ones that are Very suited to this Variation of necklace (do you see what I did there).
While v-necks come in a variety of shapes and widths, the general rule when pairing a necklace remains the same: follow suit. So, if your neckline is a deep, narrow v shape, you need a long, fine, sharp pendant to go with it; equally, if you have a wider, shallower v-neck, a shorter pendant is in order.
There’s an enormous variety with v-shaped pendants, as you can see, and so it should be no struggle to find the perfect pendant for your neckline; alternatively, the amount of choice may drive you to insanity before you are able to decide on one. If that is the case, you can always wear one shorter and one longer v-shaped necklace, as long as they both are contained within the depth of the v-neck itself. V-shaped necklaces are a great time to go for statement jewellery, so don’t shy away from including gemstone-heavy pieces.
While, obviously, halter necks are not exactly v shaped, they do create something of a ‘v’, making use of the décolletage. The v created by a halter neck is generally not very deep or especially wide, and so the ideal bejewelled companion to this style of neckline is a narrower pendant with a sharper end. Try to avoid necklaces that are longer than the halter neckline, as this will generally create a lack of balance in your outfit.
Both of these pendants display the finer, more simplified paths that jewellery can take. When wearing a halter neck, this style of refined, understated jewellery is best; you don’t want the jewellery to be making statements that the garment can’t support, so the best way to maintain harmony is to have a thinner necklace that works with the garment, not against it.
Sometimes, planning an outfit can seem complicated and overwhelming, but hopefully with this guide – and a healthy appreciation and understanding of balance – you will find yourself making all the right decisions from here on out.