The perfect necklace length is completely unique and individual to each person. While there are popular lengths and styles that work for everyone, it’s best to figure out which length you like the most and what suits you best. This guide goes through traditional necklace lengths and styles, plus how you can measure the perfect style for you.
Difference styles of necklace lengths
When choosing a necklace, length is the hardest part of the buying process. Before you start searching for the perfect necklace length for you, there are 6 standard types that you’ll probably find on many jewellery websites. Below are the 6 styles you need to know, including which style works best with your face and body type.
Collar – A collar necklace is 13-15 inches or around 30 centimetres – the shortest necklace-type available. The collar is worn tightly around and close to the neck. Collars are best suited to people with longer facers and best worn with open clothing, like a v-neck, scoop neck or an off the shoulder top, allowing you to really show off the necklace. Collars can involve a single chain or multiple chains for more decoration up and down the neck.
Choker – A choker necklace is 15-17 inches and sits tightly at the base of the neck or the clavicle. Chokers were increasingly popular in the 90s and made a retro bohemian comeback in the 2010s. Chokers suit most types of clothing and all face types, specifically for people with long or heart-shaped faces. Chokers are typically the shortest necklace within a layering combination, either as a simple chain, decorated with charms or a fun lacy pattern.
Princess – A princess necklace is 17-19 inches and sits on the collarbone. This is the most popular and common necklace length for both women and men. The princess works beautifully with many face shapes, specifically round, long and heart shaped. The princess is extremely versatile – a favourite length for pendant or charm necklaces. This length decorates any neckline and is another staple within layering collections. They’re the perfect standalone necklace and work nicely with high and low collars.
Matinee – A matinee necklace is 20-24 inches and sits between the collarbone and the bust. A longer style of necklace, the matinee is suitable for people with round faces and shorter necks. This length of the necklace is very versatile and creates the illusion that the body is longer or taller than it is. This style is great for both casual and business wear, but it has a great place in layering sets. The matinee ‘finalises’ the most common triple layer necklace combo – the choker, the princess and the matinee. This staple combination allows you to mix and match styles, textures and colours. With these lengths as a base, you can decide on the type of necklaces you want in your combo – like pendants, a string of pearls or a simple chain.
Opera – An opera necklace is 28-36 inches and is one of the longer necklace styles, sitting on or below the chest. It beautifully suits people with round or oval shaped faces and goes well with high necklines. This style is a distinctive feature of the 1920s, so is the best necklace length if you’re heading to a 1920s themed party or if you’re a big fan of the flapper style. The length also allows for it to be wrapped around the neck multiple times, making its own layers with just one necklace chain.
Rope – A rope necklace is the longest length at 36-42 inches and sits at the centre of the bust down to the stomach. The rope and the opera necklace are similar in style and are worn together regularly. This necklace length can be worn in a relaxed setting or at a business or evening event.
How to measure your necklace length
Although the lengths above give you a rough idea of how long a necklace will be and how it’ll sit on your neck and body, it’s best to measure this length on yourself. This makes your necklaces fitted to you, your body and face type and tailors to your personal style. We’d recommend having the standard necklace lengths diagram accessible during this process. This way you can compare your necklace length to the traditional styles and can figure out both inch and centimetre measurements.
There are three ways that you can measure your necklace length.
- Tape measure – The first way to measure your necklace length is to measure your neck with a tape measure. You’ll need a soft tape measure or a ruler and a pen. With a tape measure, start by placing this around your neck and adjusting it to your desired length. Once you have the length you want, make a note of the measurement.
- String – If you’re using string instead, wrap the piece of string around your neck and adjust it to your preferred length. Mark where the string ends meet with a pen and then measure this next to a ruler and jot down your measurements.
- Measure an existing chain – The final way is to measure your existing necklaces. If you have a necklace that has a length you already like, you can measure it to determine the size. You can measure the chain clasped or unclasped.
For a clasped chain, lay the necklace down on a flat surface and measure the length from end to end. Double this measurement and this is the length you need. For an unclasped chain, lay it out in a straight line on a flat surface. Measure this from end to end and you have your length. Make sure when you’re measuring a chain that the necklace lies flat, straight and doesn’t include the charm or pendant hanging from the chain.
If you’ve ordered your necklace and the size isn’t what you expected, there are ways to solve this without having to go through the process of returning it and getting a new size. If your necklace is too short, you can look into extenders. An extender is always good to get, especially when you’re buying a necklace for someone else as a gift. Extenders range from 1 inch up to 6 inches, Now you know the traditional necklace styles and how to find your perfect style, the necklace possibilities are endless. When choosing a necklace for yourself, make sure you pick a length that suits you and that will become a staple piece in your wardrobe and jewellery collection. Once you know what lengths work best for you, you can then play around with style, colours and materials to create a truly unique look.