Choosing the right necklace length is an easy and effective way to frame your face, showcase your gemstones, and augment any outfit. This guide will assist you with your next necklace purchase. First, learn how and where different necklace lengths fall on the body for women and men. Second, discover guidelines for selecting the right necklace length for your specific neck, height, face and body type. And third, learn how to find and purchase the perfect necklace length.
Standard Necklace Lengths for Women
Necklace chains for women typically range from 10 to 48 inches and anywhere in between. Although some necklaces are sold in odd-inch lengths, most women’s necklaces are sold in even-inch lengths. The following are the most commonly sold necklace lengths and where they fall on the average female body:
Position on the Body
10 to 14 inches
Wraps closely around the neck
Wraps loosely around the neck
Sits on the collarbone
Sits just below the collarbone
Lays at or above the top of the bust
Lays at or just below the center of the bust
28 to 38 inches
Hangs below the bust
40 inches and above
Hangs below the navel
Factors to Consider Before Buying Short Necklaces
Depending on your neck size, 10- to 14-inch necklaces wrap very closely around the neck. These necklaces may also be referred to as collar necklaces. If you want your necklace to sit at the neck, but with a looser fit, consider purchasing a 16-inch necklace, which typically sits just above the collarbone. Sixteen-inch necklaces are sometimes referred to as chokers, chains, lockets, or strands.
Eighteen-inch necklaces sit at the collarbone. Even though 18-inch necklaces are longer than typical collars or chokers, they will still appear to sit quite close to the neck. Pendants attached to 18-inch necklaces will typically lie above the breastbone. Eighteen inch necklaces are the most common necklace length and are often referred to as princess necklaces. If you want a necklace that sits just below the collarbone, but above the neckline, consider a 20-inch necklace. The 20-inch necklace length is common for many chains, strands, and lockets. Twenty-inch necklaces are also known as a matinee.
Twenty-two-inch necklaces sit at or just above the top of the bust. This necklace length may also be called a matinee. In fact, a matinee necklace may range anywhere from 20 to 24 inches in length. A 24-inch matinee will typically lay at or just below the center of the bust.
Factors to Consider Before Buying Long Necklaces
Twenty-eight to 34-inch necklaces hang at or below the bust. These necklaces may be wrapped around the neck twice to form a double strand. A necklace of 30 inches in length is commonly referred to as an opera necklace, and a necklace of 36 inches in length is commonly referred to as a rope or lariat necklace. A rope necklace is typically a long strand of beads without a clasp, whereas a lariat is simply used to describe a long necklace, beads or otherwise, with a clasp.
Necklaces 40 inches and longer will hang at or below the navel and are often wrapped two or three times around the neck to form a shorter, layered effect. Necklaces measuring more than 48 inches long may be wrapped or knotted around the neck without a clasp.
Necklace Clasps Add Length
Finally, it is important to consider the clasp length when purchasing a necklace. The clasp or connector that holds the necklace together is typically not included in necklace size measurements. A standard clasp size is three-fourths of an inch, although some necklaces may have significantly longer clasps, which will increase the overall length of the necklace.
Standard Necklace Lengths for Men
Necklace chains for men typically range from 18 to 24 inches. Like women’s necklaces, most men’s necklaces are found in even-inch lengths. The following are the most commonly sold male necklace lengths and where they fall on the average male body:
Position on the Body
Sits at the base of the neck
Sits at the collarbone
Falls a few inches below the collarbone
Falls just above the sternum
Factors to Consider Before Buying
The smallest necklace size available for men is typically 18 inches. An 18-inch necklace will sit at the base of the neck on the average male. If you are looking for a slightly longer necklace, consider a 20-inch necklace, which will lie directly on the collarbone of the average male. The 20-inch necklace is the most common necklace length for men.
If you are looking for a necklace that falls below the collarbone, consider a 22-inch necklace. The longest necklace size for men is typically a 24-inch necklace, which will fall just above the sternum of the average man.
Like their female counterparts, men should consider clasp length when purchasing a necklace. A standard clasp size for a man’s necklace is three-fourths of an inch, although some necklaces may have significantly longer clasps, which will increase the overall length of the necklace.
Selecting the Right Necklace Length for the Female Body
A gorgeous necklace is an important focal point on the female body. When selecting and investing in a new necklace - especially an expensive one - you should consider how the length of that necklace will look on your body. The most important body features to consider when selecting a necklace are your neck, your height, your body type, and your face shape.
Choosing the Right Necklace Length for Your Neck
The most important factor to consider when selecting the appropriate necklace for your body type is your neck size. All necks vary, so a standard choker for the average female may be larger or smaller on your actual neck. If possible, measure your neck before purchasing any necklace, but it is especially important to measure your neck before purchasing a collar or choker, as it is designed for a tighter fit.
The easiest and best way to measure your neck is with a soft measuring tape. Simply wrap the tape closely around your neck. To get an accurate measurement, the tape should be snug but not suffocating. Once you know your neck measurement, a good rule of thumb for selecting a collar or a choker is to go up one necklace size from your neck measurement. For example, if you measure your neck circumference at 14 inches, the minimum recommended collar or choker length would be 16 inches.
Choosing the Right Necklace Length for Your Height
HeightRecommended Necklace Length
Below 5’4"16- to 20-inch necklace lengths will look best on your body. Additionally, a V-shaped style will help elongate your neckline and make you appear taller.
5’4" to 5’7"You can wear necklaces of any length.
5’7" or tallerYou can wear necklaces of any length, but you will look particularly good in longer styles, as this accentuates your tall frame.
It is important to consider your height when selecting necklace length. Too long of a necklace may overwhelm a petite frame, whereas too short of a necklace may be lost on a more statuesque figure. This chart details guidelines for selecting necklace length based on your height:
Recommended Necklace Length
16- to 20-inch necklace lengths will look best on your body. Additionally, a V-shaped style will help elongate your neckline and make you appear taller.
5'4" to 5'7"
You can wear necklaces of any length.
5'7" or taller
You can wear necklaces of any length, but you will look particularly good in longer styles, as this accentuates your tall frame.
Choosing the Right Necklace Length for Your Body Type
Varying necklace lengths are an excellent way to accentuate certain body features and minimize others. For example, if you would like to subtly accent the bust, select a necklace that is 20 to 22 inches in length, as it will draw attention just below the collarbone or above the top of the bust. Alternatively, if you are flat-chested, long, thin chains will look graceful and elegant on your body frame.
If you have a full-figured body, do not wear necklaces that sit on or below the breast line, as this length necklace will not hang properly. Instead, try a necklace that sits slightly higher on the body, such as an 18- to 22-inch necklace.
Choosing the Right Necklace Length for Your Face Shape
Necklaces quite literally frame your face. Varying necklace lengths will affect how wide, narrow, long, short, angular or round your face appears. Thus, you can use your necklace length as a powerful tool to alter the way your face is perceived by others and accentuate your strongest facial features. Here are some guidelines for necklace length based on face shape:
Recommended Necklace Length
10 to 16 inches
Choker-length necklaces will soften and diminish the sharp angle of a heart-faced chin.
26 to 36 inches
Longer necklaces elongate the jawline. Round-faced individuals should avoid collar and choker necklaces, as these necklaces will accentuate the roundness of the face.
Rectangular and oblong
10 to 14-inches
Choker-length necklaces ostensibly shorten the length of the jaw, which smooths the angles on rectangular faces.
Oval-shaped faces can typically wear any necklace length with graceful ease.
Selecting the Right Necklace Length for the Male Body
Like their female counterparts, the most important factor for men to consider when selecting the appropriate necklace is their neck size. Men should follow the same guidelines for measuring their necks as women: using a soft measuring tape wrapped closely around the neck. To get an accurate measurement, the tape should be snug, but not tight. Once you have determined your neck size, a general rule of thumb for men is to choose the second size up from their neck measurement. For example, if you measure your neck size at 16 inches, the smallest recommended necklace length would be 20 inches.
The most universally flattering chain length for men is 20 inches, or a necklace that sits at the collarbone. Not surprisingly, 20 inches is also the most commonly sold necklace length for men. A slightly longer length (such as a 22-inch or 24-inch necklace) may be selected if the necklace is to be worn with a pendant, cross, medallion, emblem or sports charm. Multiple necklace lengths may be used for a layered look.