The complicated topic of necklace length...
We’ve all been there: you find the perfect necklace while shopping, and you excitedly try it on...only to find it doesn’t quite fit you the way it fit the mannequin.😅 Necklaces are a beautiful, front-and-center form of personal expression. They gently hug the wearer’s neckline or gracefully slide down their torso to create a statement or accent an outfit.
Necklace length is not something we normally consider when shopping online, staring through a window, or browsing the glass showcases of a jewelry store. However, it can play a huge role in how you style your necklace of choice. Chains come in many lengths that change the way they fit each person. In addition, everyone’s body is different, and certain chains may fit some people better than others.
Finding the right necklace chain length may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be! 🙌🏻Let’s discuss some tips and tricks for finding the necklace length that best fits your personal style.
Standard necklace lengths for women, men, and children (Size charts)
For necklaces, most jewelers carry standard chain lengths in varying materials. Women, men, and even children can benefit from understanding differences in necklace size and where each one will lay on a person’s body.
When it comes to 👰🏻women’s necklace lengths, there are 6 size categories to choose from, with some variations among jewelers. This necklace length guide provides common names and an idea of where each chain lays on the body:
|Chain Length (Inches)||Body Placement|
|14”||Collar: Wraps around the throat/neck|
|16”||Choker or Bib: Against the base of the throat/neck|
|17” - 18”||Princess: Against the collarbone|
|20” - 24”||Matinee: Somewhere along the neckline: from the collarbone to the top of the bust (depends on height, neck length, etc.)|
|28” - 36”||Opera: On or slightly below the bust|
|36” - 42”||Rope: Doubles/wraps to sit at or slightly below the bust|
There are fewer options when it comes to 🤵🏻men’s necklace lengths, but this necklace size chart shows the variations are equally important in understanding which chain will look best with their personal style:
|Chain Length (Inches)||Body Placement|
|18”||Base of neck (reserved for smaller necks)|
|20”||Against the collarbone (most common option)|
|22”||Roughly 1”-3” below collarbone|
|24”||Just above the breastbone|
|30”||At or slightly below the breastbone|
Finally, 🧒🏻children’s necklace lengths depend on age. Younger children would benefit from short chains, but children 10+ can wear the standard adult suggestion of 16”-18” or follow the adult necklace length chart for different styles:
|Age||Recommended Chain Length (Inches)|
|1 - 3 years||10” - 12”|
|3 - 7 years||12” - 14”|
|7 - 10 years||14” - 16”|
|10+ years||See adult necklace chain length chart|
How to measure necklace length?
So, how can you measure your neck to see what size chain you require or whether you fit the standard necklace length? Everyone’s neck is different, and buyers can preemptively measure the size of their neck to make sure the chain they buy will fit perfectly.
First, take a soft measuring tape and wrap it around your neck. Where the ends meet will determine the measure of your neck. If you don’t have a soft measuring tape, use a ribbon and measure out the length after marking where the ends meet.
This process works best when finding your average necklace length, but it can also be used to accurately find the right length for a choker necklace. Once you measure your neck, you can predict where a chain will fall based on its length!
Choosing the 🕵🏻♀️RIGHT necklace length: important factors to consider
Just because a necklace fits does not mean you have to wear it. When choosing a necklace with varying chain options, it’s important to consider many factors in your decision. The most common things for wearers to consider are the size of the pendant on the necklace, their neck size, face shape, height, body type, and even the neckline of the outfit(s) with which you intend to wear the necklace.
These may seem like complicated factors to keep in mind when shopping, but doing so can prevent you from buying a necklace that harshens the angles of your face, shortens your torso, or several other unnecessary effects. Knowing your body and its unique features can improve not only necklace selection but also shopping in general. By choosing the right chain length, buyers can reap positive benefits such as slimming and elongating effects.
Necklace length and your body
As discussed above, several factors play into necklace length. Here are the six most common factors and the proper chain options for each feature:
The size of a pendant
Pendants and charms come in many sizes. Wearers should choose a chain length that displays the pendant or charm at its intended length.
Smaller charms tend to fit better with shorter chains as they are delicate and understated. When placed on a shorter chain, charms can really shine and show the wearer’s personality. Charms work best with whichever chain sits around or at the base of the throat, so typically, 14”-18” chains.
If you’re looking for a unique, boho style, you can try slightly larger charms on a longer chain. These Kendra Scott charm necklaces are a perfect way to add flair to a 30” chain.
Often larger than charms and more inclined to have a dangling element (fringe, tassels, etc.), pendants fit the dramatic flair of a longer chain.
Pendants may add length to the chain, such as this tassel pendant necklace, 🐝so it’s important to keep in mind the length of the pendant and where it will fall on your body in conjunction with the length of your chosen chain.
Alternately, the pendant may be wide, like this one from Etsy. In this case, a chain of at least 20” is important to keep a bulky shape away from your neck so it can properly accent your outfit.
The wearer’s neck size
As previously stated, all wearers have different neck sizes. Although the standard chain is 16”-18” for women and 18”-20” for men, neck length and thickness, wrinkles, and natural posture can affect how the standard necklace length will fit.
Again, you can use a soft tape measure or ribbon to judge your neck size and buy chains that fit that length.
It’s also important to remember to size up from the measure of your neck. For instance, if your neck size is 16”, consider purchasing an 18” chain to comfortably fit around your neck without choking you.
Face shape plays an important role in most cosmetic decisions. From hairstyle to makeup, if something involves your face or the space around it, experts will recommend looking at your face shape for further clues regarding how to amp up your look.
Necklaces are no exception, and necklace lengths can highlight the best features of different face shapes. Here are some suggestions of which chain to wear with each shape:
Round faces have a beautiful natural curve, but a short chain can overemphasize these features and produce the look of a shorter neck. Wearers should stick with medium-chain lengths, about 20”-24” to elongate the face and create angular features. Longer chains will also flatter round features and provide further length to the face with the right body type.
Square, oblong, triangular, rectangular, diamond, and heart-shaped faces all have one thing in common: 🔷sharp lines that create flattering angular features. To avoid over highlighting these angles, wearers with sharp features should buy shorter necklaces–such as the 14”-16” choker style or 18”-20” princess or matinee style. These necklaces provide curves that soften angular features and shorten jawlines to create a more gentle look, whereas long necklaces will heighten angles to produce a harsher look.
Wearers with oval faces have the benefit of long features with elegant curves. As a result, they look great with a chain of any length! Of course, this is still subject to the other features discussed in this section, but these wearers have nothing to fear from neither long nor short chains.
In conjunction with face shape, height affects which chain lengths will look best on a woman’s body. While this category doesn’t affect men as much, typical female heights are broken into three categories:
Short (Under 5’4”)
To properly fit their proportions, shorter women should consider wearing necklaces in the 16”-18” range. These chains will flatter their smaller frame and avoid overwhelming their shape. Shorter chains also prevent short torsos from looking even shorter. If you are short and would like to wear a longer chain, try anything in the range of 20”-24”. Although not as long, these chains can provide the same look proportionate to your body.
Average (5’4” to 5’7”)
Women of average height can wear any chain length to accentuate their features. As part of the “standard” height category, chains usually fit where they’re intended on their bodies. 📝However, women of average height should still assess neck size, face shape, etc. to find the right necklace length for their body.
Tall (Over 5’7”)
Taller women can also wear necklaces of any length, but longer chains flatter their elongated features. While a short necklace will look just as stunning, longer necklaces—about 24” or longer—accentuate long torsos and legs and bring further drama to any look. However, taller women with short torsos should consider short to mid-length chains.
Along with height, body type can play a role in which necklaces lay best on each person. 🎁For instance, a woman with a smaller bust may benefit from long, layered chains, whereas a woman with a larger bust may prefer a necklace above the chest so it lays properly. Or, someone with a shorter neck may opt for longer chains than someone with a longer neck who may find a choker necklace flattering. Here are some suggestions for chain length based on some common body types:
Women with hourglass figures should consider necklaces that lay lower on their chest to accentuate their curves. However, height, neck size, and face shape must also be taken into account.
Pear-Shaped (AKA Triangle)
Women with pear-shaped bodies benefit from necklaces that broaden their shoulders by drawing attention to their upper body. A chain ranging from 18”-24” will draw attention while still providing an elongating effect.
Athletic Build (AKA Apple)
Although any length of necklace usually looks great on an athletic body type, longer chains can help lengthen the torso and accentuate long legs.
As the waist is the smallest part of the inverted triangle body type, women with this type should wear longer chains of about 24”-30” to highlight this feature. Again, bust should be accounted for when it comes to lengthened chains.
Neckline of wearer’s outfit
Outside of bodily differences, a wearer’s outfit can change what necklace length or style will look best. Just like human bodies, necklines on shirts and dresses come in all shapes and sizes. Here are a few common necklines and some suggestions on which necklaces would look best with each:
Take a look at the common necklines and necklace suggestions:
|Crewneck||Collar or bib|
|V-Neck||Princess with v-shaped charms and pendants|
|Scoop Neck||Collar or princess length with volume or many pendants/charms|
|Sweetheart||Collar or princess length with round or oblong pendants|
|Cowl or Collar||Choker, collar, or princess with small pendant(s)|
|Halter/Deep V-Neck||Matinee or opera with long or thin pendant(s)|
|Strapless||Choker or collar|
|Square Neck||Collar or princess with geometric pendant(s)|
|Turtleneck or Boat Neck||Long chains with beads or pendants, possibly layered|
|Off the Shoulder||Collar or princess with asymmetrical design|
Make it fit your personal taste:🥳 how to personalize your necklace length
As you can see, there are so many factors that play into how a necklace will look on each person and with different outfits. These differences mean everyone should have their own collection of necklaces that work best for them and look great with their bodies and wardrobe. You can personalize your necklace selection in a few ways:
Purchase adjustable necklace chains
The easiest way to personalize your necklace collection is adjustable chains. Adjustable necklace chains have been around for years, and the technology used to make them is continuously improving. Originally, adjustable chains had a series of larger links near the end for the clasp to connect to, just like this Etsy chain.
Nowadays, adjustable chains have a sliding adjustable function that allows the wearer to change the length by sliding the closure along the chain. As this technology has become more available, affordable options like this Amazon adjustable chain have become popular. Another great example is the Kendra Scott adjustable chain that comes in silver, gold, rose gold, and vintage gold.
Although adjustable chains are typically silver or plated, gold and platinum versions are expensive and harder to come by. For instance, this platinum adjustable chain is $900! Just keep this in mind if you’re looking to upgrade to a high-end adjustable chain.
Ask the retailer or jeweler if they have other chain options
If you’d rather not go through the trouble of having extra chains, fear not: many jewelers and online retailers can order chains in additional lengths for purchase. You may have to email or call the company to confirm they offer other sizes, but many will be able to accommodate your order. Doing so means you can get a custom piece while still maintaining the same beauty!
One downside to this option: the chains these companies can order may only come in the standard sizes mentioned at the beginning of this piece. Keep this in mind if you’re looking for something in between sizes!
Create custom chains with a jeweler
Unfortunately, some necklaces are only sold with one chain length, limiting who can wear them. Or, maybe you’d rather personalize a chain you already own because you’re in between sizes. If this happens, consider asking the company or jeweler if they do alterations, as they may be able to shorten or lengthen the chain for you. If not, consider taking it to another jeweler to have the work done.
When jewelers shorten necklaces, they often remove links or sections of metal to create a shorter product. The cost depends on the metal and the amount being removed, and typical prices range from $20-50. However, lengthening may be a bit more expensive, as jewelers must use additional material to create a new section of chain. When this is done, prices increase depending on the material used—such as gold, platinum, etc.—and will vary by jeweler.
Beauty is relative: find the right necklace length for YOU🧐
Now that you know how to determine necklace length, you can find the best fit for you wherever you go. However, everyone is different, and it’s these differences that make fashion so inspirational. Each person has his or her own personality and style, and some people prefer originality and reject trends. However, this is something that should be celebrated, and the charts and suggestions made in this article are merely guides in case you are looking for inspiration. March to the beat of your own drum and find the necklace that works for you, as only you know what will best match your personal style!