Guide to Necklace Lengths
Necklaces come in varying lengths and styles. Length is the first thing to consider when shopping for necklaces. Which length is the most wearable? Which length will work best for jewelry layering?
No neck is created equal, so there are variations with necklace lengths. For instance, princess necklaces may range between 16-18″. However, each necklace type looks best when positioned on very specific points of your body.
At one time, the term collar was used to describe all necklaces. In modern times, a collar necklace is not to be confused with a choker necklace. Collar necklaces sit flush against the skin and rest directly above the collarbone. Contemporary collar necklaces are thick and look similar to a collar on a shirt, measuring anywhere from 12-16-inches.
Average length: 14 inches
Body position: Sits just above the collarbone
Style tip: Thick contemporary collar necklaces look best when worn without other necklaces and paired with low necklines or off the shoulder tops.
Choker necklaces are made from a variety of materials. Velvet, gold, and ribbon were common options during the Victorian era. These neck-huggers have come back into style the past few runway seasons with designers paying tribute to designs from yesteryear.
The choker necklace can either sit very high on the neck or just below the collarbone. The later style dangles more freely and is slightly longer in length.
Chokers can incorporate other necklace styles on this list by adding a pendant, graduating beads, or even adding festoon-like drops.
While necklaces have always been a staple, chokers have gone in and out of fashion for centuries. When necklines on garments were lower, the choker necklace made a great statement. Chokers would even be layered one on top of the next until the entire neck was filled with diamonds, pearls, and other luxurious materials.
Princess necklaces are defined either by their length or style. The length is longer than a choker but shorter than a matinee necklace. The 18-inch length is thought to be the most universal and flattering length. Any pendant or focal piece will usually rest right below the collar bones.
Princess style necklaces look much like you might expect. They are encrusted with glistening rhinestones and have fanciful shapes usually with one central drop.
Lariat necklaces are also known as a rope or Y-necklace. In terms of length, this necklace is longer than opera length.
Lariat necklaces don’t have a clasp. The chain or beads form a long rope that is either tied or pulled through a circular finding like the one pictured here.
Festoon necklaces are defined by their draping elements. This classically vintage style was especially beloved by the Art Nouveau and Victorian eras. Delicate chains are accented with gemstones, pearls, and precious metal.
For the necklace to sit properly, the main chain should be choker length and rest on the collarbone. This style looks best with off the shoulder formal wear. Other higher necklines could twist and distort the drops.
Multi-strand necklaces are composed of multiple strands connected by a single enclosure. This style is common for pearl necklaces and other beaded strands.
A multi-strand pearl necklace will look best in either a choker or collar length. This way, the strands will lay flat and not twist.