Which Necklace Length is Right For You?

A guide to choosing the perfect fitting necklace for you or your partner

When choosing a necklace it is essential that the length of chain is carefully considered.

Regardless of the quality of design and materials, if the length is wrong for your unique face, height, and body shape, then it will never look quite as good as it should.

Here’s everything you need to consider to find your ideal necklace length, including:

  • Neck size
  • Height
  • Bust
  • Face Shape
  • Body Type
  • Pendants
  • Men’s chains

How to choose the right necklace for your neck size

Women’s necklaces come in a myriad of lengths. Each length creates a focal point and will look quite distinct on different individuals.

12- 14” Necklace (choker)

The shortest chain length, these fit around the neck like a choker and suit long, slender necks. On short necks they actually make your neck appear shorter than it is.

15-16” Necklace (collar)

The look of a 16” collar depends on your body size. If you are plus size it will feel more like a choker, otherwise it will sit around the base of the neck like a loose collar. On average women they sit at the base of the neck just below the salt cellar which is often most flattering.

16’’ necklace (short standard) and 18” Necklace (Long standard)

16 ‘’ and 18’’ are probably the most popular lengths of chain. Sitting just below the collarbone or on the top of the chest they work with almost any outfit, from high to plunging necklines.

20” Necklaces (Mid chest)

On most women this length hangs between mid chest and the bust, creating an eye-catching focal point for an elegant pendant.

22” Necklaces (top of Cleavage)

Falling at or just below the top of the bust, this look works well on statement necklines.

24” Necklaces (in cleavage)

Some people feel conscious about attracting attention to their cleavage. Others want to do precisely this! This is a good length for both types.

30’’, 32” or 36” necklace (Opera length)

Anything beyond this length is known as opera length and offers great versatility. You can wear the necklace long or wrap them multiple times to create a completely different look.

model wearing green heart pendant

Necklace Length Rules for Shorter Necks

Women with a shorter neck are likely to want to create the effect of a long, slender neck. Styling yourself in the correct jewellery for your body type can make that difference for you. Try not to go for a chain that sits higher than your collarbone

Necklace Length Rules for Longer Necks

Women with longer necks can enjoy wearing most necklace lengths and often suit collars and chokers. The ideal length will also depend on factors like your height, bust size and face shape.


How to choose the right necklace for your height

Your height plays a very important role in the look of a necklace. In fine jewellery design we typically think of height in terms of three categories.

5’4” or below (Petite)

Look for necklaces between 16 to 20 inches. These will help to elongate your frame without hanging too low. For a longer look you could try for a maximum of 24”.

5’4” to 5’7” (Regular)

Regular height women tend to have the greatest choice when it comes to necklace length and can suit any style, depending on face shape and neck length. As a rule, longer chains accentuate height and elongate the frame.

5’7” or above (Tall)

Generally speaking, taller women suit a longer style of necklace even as long as 38”. Shorter styles also work well but their success will greatly depend on your face shape.

How to choose the right necklace for your bust size

Women with a smaller bust can get away with any necklace chain length except one that hangs to the cleavage area.

With a larger chest there is an area to avoid where the pendant sits on the farthest outlying point of the bust shelf, and bounces. This may be anywhere from 28 to 30 inches, 32 inch and 36 inch necklaces can get around (or over) this problem.

It’s much better for the pendant to be shorter or over the shelf and below, where it will find a less hectic place to live.

A model wearing a choker

How to choose the right necklace for your face shape

Your face shape is possibly one of the most important facets in determining your ideal necklace length.

A necklace has the ability to highlight your most prominent features and can even change how people perceive your face.

To understand your own face shape, consider these three widely used face types.

Heart-Shaped Faces

Scientifically proven to be the most visually attractive face shape and also known as a V-shaped face, you will typically suit shorter necklaces between 16” – 18”.

Choose a shorter necklace to soften angles and create an illusion of fulness, whilst balancing out a narrower chin.

Round and Oval Shaped Faces

If your face length and width are almost equal, with a rounded jaw, you have a rounded face. If your face is slightly longer than wide, we would call it an oval-shaped face.

With a round-shaped face, you should look for necklaces between 20” to 25” to elongate your face. This helps to create a heart-shaped look by lowering the position of your eyes.

If your face is more oval-shaped, you will probably find that you can be quite flexible with your necklace length choices.

Square and Oblong-Shaped Faces

If the sides of your face are straight, with a slightly angled jawline and minimal curve, you have a square face. Think Rihanna or Angelina Jolie.

Shorter styles work well here as they help to soften angles. Try collars and chokers, especially if you wish to highlight a longer neck.


How to choose the right necklace for your body type

A good rule for necklace length and body type is to use your necklace to draw attention away from the area that you don’t want to highlight and towards any areas that you do.

Pear Shaped Figures

If your body is smaller on top than it is on the bottom, look for a necklace that sits just above your bust.

This draws attention towards your upper torso and broadens your shoulders. Necklaces between 18” and 24” work really well at this length.

Hourglass Figures

If you have a classic hourglass shape, then look for necklaces that help accentuate your curves.

A necklace that sits on or above your cleavage will work wonders here.

Model in red dress wearing multiple necklace lenghts

Inverted Triangle Figures

If your shoulders are broad, use longer necklaces to highlight your waist, drawing the eye towards the smallest part of your body.

Athletic Figures

An athletic figure can manage all styles of necklace. However, look for longer necklaces if you wish to lengthen the impression of your torso.

How to choose the right necklace for your pendant

A large pendant looks great on a short or long chain but will look bigger and a little more inspiring on a short chain, as pendants tend to look smaller the longer the chain they hang on.

Small pendants work best on a chain that is 20 inches or shorter. Also, the longer the chain the thicker it should be otherwise it ends up looking lost.

If layering then shorter chains are best if they are at least 2 inches longer than the one above as this gives a little room for pendants to hang down without obliterating the one below.

16” and 18” used to be the staple length but we now sell anything from 14” to a 42” length chain.

How to choose the right men’s chain

Generally, the same rules apply when choosing a chain for a man as for a woman. Body and face shape, height and neck length; they all play their role.

Collar sizes can be a good place to start. If you have a 16.5 inch collar size a 20 inch would be good as your shortest length of chain.

18” Chain

Best for smaller neck sizes, this length chain will sit at the base of the neck. But beware as many men hate the feeling of things being too tight around their necks. Also will you wear this necklace under a shirt and tie? If yes then for comfort make it a little longer. Or you may want it hidden for work or formal occasions.

20” Chain

This length is considered ‘standard’, falling just below the collarbone.

22” Chain

At this length you can expect the pendant to finish around the middle of your chest.

24” Chain

This is the classic ‘dog tag’ length and looks great with a pendant.



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