Women's Necklace Lengths - How To Find The Perfect Fit!

Women's Necklace Lengths - How To Find The Perfect Fit!

Aug 1st 2019

Women's necklaces are worn at different lengths based not only on the style of the necklace - but on the statement you want to make. The same necklace worn short at your round collar looks vastly different than worn long down the front of your dress! 

Things to take into consideration when choosing the length of the necklace: 

  • What kind of necklines will you wear it with? Collared, round, v-neck, boatneck? Longer necklaces tend to look better with non-collared tops. Standard round neck tops don't always work well with 16" necklaces that have pendants, as the pendants tend to slip over and under the shirt collar - so it's best to measure yourself. Boatneck tops look great with shorter necklaces that stay above the neckline of the top. Round or boatneck dresses with look great with longer necklaces down the front of the dress (just make sure the length hangs correctly for the size of your bosom).
  • Will you wear the necklace over or under your top? The answer to this impacts not only the length, but the style of necklace. It's easy to wear a chain or thinner pendant (e.g., a small cross) under a top, while a thick pendant (e.g., a large crystal) would look like a bulge outline under your top. Wanting to wear a pendant necklace over your top also means knowing if length will keep the pendant on top, or if it will hit just at the neckline - causing the pendant to randomly go over and under your top. 
  • Do you need a necklace that can be adjusted to wear at different lengths? Perhaps you plan to wear the necklace that needs to be 18" for your favorite v-neck top,  but 20" for your favorite dress. You'll want to keep an eye out for adjustable necklaces.
  • Is the necklace for a casual or more formal style? A casual style can wear almost any length of necklace - from choker to extra-long. Necklaces worn with formal styles tend to be chosen based on the design of your outfit.

Every woman has her own personal style and will want to wear a necklace for different style reasons. The above questions will help you determine the best length to match your style.

If possible, before buying a necklace, measure around your neck with a piece of string laying at the length you would like your necklace. You don't need to do any extra math(!) - necklace lengths already include the additional length added by the clasp. If you are buying a gift and don't know the recipient's neck size, the safest bet is to go with an 18" or 20" necklace. Those are the most common lengths and have the most versatility to go with different styles. Of course, an adjustable necklace will always be a plus!

This image shows where necklaces fall around the  average woman's neck. Women with larger necks should typically go up one size of necklace for a similar fit.

Handmade Women's Necklaces Length sizing image

Here are some guidelines for the various necklace lengths –

14" For adults, this is a choker length (or the length when buying "collar" necklaces) - laying up on the neck. This size is common for children and young women who are not yet adult-size. For petite women, this length may fall lower, like a 16" necklace. The best option for an adult is to measure yourself  before buying a necklace of this length.
16" For adults, this length falls at the base of the neck, just over the collarbone. A small pendant would nestle in the hollow of your neck. For larger women, this length may be too tight. Generally, this length is not worn with pendants - unless they are very small pendants or focal pieces in the middle of the necklace, which is common with this length (e.g.,  a small Swarovski crystal teardrop as the focal point). This length is also common for decorative necklaces that don't have a middle focal point, such as a necklace that is has small stones or beads.
18" This is the most common women's length of necklace. For the average woman, this length falls just below the collarbone. For larger women, this length may be higher, fitting more like a 16" necklace.  This length is typically used for pendant necklaces, although it is preferable to measure yourself to see where  exactly this length falls on you to know if it will keep the pendant on top of your shirt. A nice option is to have a necklace that is adjustable around this 18" length so it will fit your personal body size and shape, such as this  adjustable Amethyst On Sterling Silver Necklace.
20" This length is a good option for pendants or decorative necklaces without a pendant, as the length will keep the pendant on top of round-collared tops and show well with v-neck, boatneck or pretty much any style of top. 
22" This is a longer necklace that will typically fall over your sternum. This length can be worn over or under a shirt, depending on the style goal of the necklace. For most women, this length is above the bosom, but your personal body shape may have it fall at the top of your bosom. This necklace length is also used when wanting to wear an everyday necklace under your shirt, for example,  ball chain style necklaces with charms that have meaning to you. 
24" This length falls at the at the bottom of the sternum, somewhere on/in your bosom, depending on your personal size and body shape. It's best to verify where this length will fall on you personally if you plan to wear it over your tops. A large bosom may not work well with this length of necklace - unless perhaps you are wearing a top with a deep neckline where you want the necklace to fall at your cleavage.
25"+ As you can imagine, extra-long necklaces tend to fit differently depending on the design of the necklace and your body shape. These lengths fall over your bosom and lay differently depending if you are wearing it over a top or down a deep open neckline. The design obviously makes a difference for these longer lengths - for example, there are extra-long rope style necklaces that are worn with a knot tied where you want it; there are extra-long lariat necklaces that have a single strand hanging down. Some extra-long necklaces are designed for you to loop around your head so you have a double necklace. Choosing any necklaces in the extra-long lengths depends on your style goal, your body shape, what you will wear it with and the specific design of the necklace.

I create a variety of women's necklaces, most of them adjustable length. If you ever see a necklace you want in a different size than shown, contact me!