Antique necklaces are perhaps the most versatile piece of jewelry, both in craftsmanship and use. They can be made of practically any medium and any length to be worn in countless ways. From a simple gold chain with a prized pendant to a luxurious, seemingly endless strand of pearls, there truly is a necklace to suit every taste and occasion.
But how do you know which necklace is best for you? Do you pair it with the outfit you’re wearing, or should your selection be based on your particular physical traits?
There are several factors to consider when selecting a necklace. Let’s take a look to see what they are and how you can use these guidelines to choose the necklace that’s right for you.
Necklaces are made in a multitude of lengths to suit one’s taste. Keep in mind that because everyone’s body is different, these lengths will vary on how they appear depending on the particular person.
Choker: 12” to 14”
Choker necklaces fit close to the neck and do not hang. They should be fitted and sit high on the neck, but not to the point of being uncomfortable.
Collar: 15” to 16”
Collar-length necklaces fit around the base of the neck. Providing more room than the choker, the collar is a great alternative for those looking for a statement piece with a bit more room.
Princess: 17” to 19”
Perhaps the most common necklace length, the princess necklace should fall at or just below the collarbone and is a good fit for just about anyone.
Matinee: 20” to 24”
The matinee-length necklace drops below the collarbone and typically falls at the center of the bust and is a good alternative when a princess maybe just a bit too short for one’s taste.
Opera: 25” to 35”
The opera necklace falls below the bust and is the length most people imagine when thinking of a strand of pearls for a more formal affair.
Rope or Lariat: 36”+
This necklace can fall to the navel or farther and can often be doubled or tripled to easily create a multiple-strand look.
In general, if you’re wearing a dress or top with an open or plunging neckline, the shorter necklace varieties would be more suitable, especially if the piece incorporates large stones and design flourishes that you wish to show off. Necklines like those seen in turtlenecks favor longer lengths, which would be the perfect opportunity to showcase a beautiful pendant to add a personal touch to your ensemble.
All About You
Because a great necklace has the ability to draw attention and really pull an outfit together, it’s important to also consider how a necklace will look on you based on your unique physical characteristics. Body type, the shape of your face and height all play a part in good necklace selection and should be taken into consideration to ensure you’re choosing the best necklace to complement your body.
Athletic: The longer opera, rope and lariat necklaces tend to look best on athletic figures to give the appearance of an elongated frame.
Full Figured: The best necklaces for fuller figures tend to land below the collar and above the bust. The 19” of a long princess, matinee or even the shorter 25” length of an opera style would be perfect.
Pear: To help broaden the shoulders of pear figures, the 18” to 24” range of the princess to matinee helps draw the eye upward.
Inverted Triangle: Those with an inverted triangle frame have broader shoulders and smaller waists, making the elongating effect of the longer opera and rope necklace lengths ideal.
Hourglass: Hourglass figures look best with necklaces that sit at the bust, also known as the décolletage. Try a princess or matinee to achieve this look.
A great general rule to remember: the point where a necklace stops is the point that will draw the most attention.
Necklaces have the ability to frame the face, so taking into account your facial features is very beneficial when choosing a necklace. Round and oval faces should avoid chokers and collars to avoid accentuating the roundness, while square and oblong faces benefit from shorter necklace styles since they tend to soften the angles of the jawline. Shorter necklaces, particularly the princess, work for heart, diamond and long faces for this softening effect and they avoid adding the illusion of longer length to the face.
The princess lengths compliment those who are 5’4” or less because they tend to elongate the frame, while chokers and collars draw attention to shorter height and long operas or ropes weigh down more petit figures.
Longer necklaces work the best for taller figures that are 5’9” or more because they complement the frame. Those who are considered average height fall between 5’4” and 5’9” can easily choose from all the lengths and should rely more on body type and face shape in making their necklace selection.
We hope these points serve as a guide to help you decide the best necklace to wear next time you’re shopping. But remember, selecting a piece of jewelry should not be daunting; it should be enjoyable, and dare we say, even fun! So, as with any fashion advice, always let your personal preference and taste be your guide. The purchase of any necklace you truly love will always be money well spent.