Buying a new pendant or necklace is always exciting, but before you buy it, think about where and how the piece of jewellery will stay on your body. How long is your current necklace? How long is the pendant? How long should the necklace for your pendant be so that it would truly complement you?
The selection of necklace length should be based on your body shape and style of clothing, but there are other aspects too. Well-chosen length helps to highlight your advantages and distract the eye from less beautiful features.
The first step in choosing the right length is to decide where you want the necklace or pendant to be on your body. Here it is good to know the standard necklace lengths. Necklaces are usually sold in six standard lengths for women and four for men. You should opt for the length allowing your jewellery to stand out best!
35 cm – so-called collar-type necklace, very close to or tightly around the neck.
40 cm – so-called choker length, tightly against the base of throat. For smaller women, it rests freely on the base of the neck above the collarbone, for larger women, it may be tightly around the neck. The ideal choker length rests freely on the base of the neck above the collarbone and below the throat.
Such shorter lengths were highly popular in 1940s and 1950s, especially with pearls. The classic length preferred by older ladies but at the same time also representing timeless elegance in every age group. It may be worn on higher collars or with open-necked clothes, especially striking with bare shoulders or with a boat neckline dress. A somewhat bigger choker looks nice on V or round neckline.
45 cm – the most classic necklace length, also called the princess length. For most women wearing medium sizes (36-40), it remains below the collarbone above the bust.
It is a versatile length suiting well pendants of various size and style. It looks good on a shirt neckline but also on a comfortable sweater, boat neck and evening gowns. Classical and beautiful length that suits everybody and everything.
50 and 55 cm – so-called matinee length resting in the middle of the chest, for women with a higher bust between the breasts. Matinee necklaces tend to have a slimming effect as they make the face and neck visually more slender, while keeping the glance away from the stomach and fixing it on the chest.
The given length also adds some character to otherwise conservative clothing while retaining the elegance. Good length for office and evening events, suiting best blouses and dresses with a high collar and shirts. It is also good for layering when you add, for instance, one shorter and one longer necklace either in different style or with different crystals.
75-85 cm – so-called opera length, extending below the bust and upper abdomen. As the name suggests, it appears particularly festive – it was first used to add further elegance to glamorous evening events. A long necklace seems elegant to this day and practically with every outfit. It may be worn around the neck with or without a pendant, but you can also wrap it around your neck twice and wear it in two layers.
90 cm and longer – usually worn wrapped several times around the neck, in a knot etc. A playful length as it can be wrapped around the neck two or even three times.
45 cm – right below the neck for slimmer men.
50 cm – usually touches the collarbone, the most common length for men.
55 cm – slightly below the collarbone.
60 cm – sits in the middle of the chest for an average-size man.
The necklace is often the focal point of the entire outfit, drawing attention to its location on the body. Thus, it is important to consider which length would highlight the best part of your body. You could think about the shape and length of your neck, your body type and shape of your face.
The shape and condition of your neck
If possible, you could measure your neck before buying the necklace. Just place the tape measure around your neck and add about 5 cm to allow it to sit comfortably. This way you will get the best length for your choker necklace, usually around 40 cm.
Such very short necklaces suit well women with a relatively long neck. Women with shorter necks should avoid it as it tends to make the neck visually shorter. To play it safe, you could add further 5 cm to it – a 45-centimetre necklace suits most women and could be worn with a pendant. It is precisely at the right height – in case of larger necks below the collar bone, in case of slimmer women above the chest and in the neckline of most blouses and tops.
In case you have a shorter and sturdier neck, choose a matinee necklace making the neck seem thinner. In its ideal length, the matinee necklace sits on your chest exactly where you can anticipate the curve of the breast but not see it yet.
In case your neck is not in very good condition (wrinkles, extra softness etc), you should certainly avoid shorter lengths than the classic 45 cm. In the ideal case, you should choose the matinee length or even longer with an eye-catching pendant to divert the attention away from the blemishes on your neck.
Your height and the shape of your body
Your height is highly important when choosing the necklace length. Women who are shorter than 160 cm and slim could consider necklaces up to 50 cm. A longer necklace would dominate over the short height and steal the attention away from the woman. Longer necklaces usually do not suit larger and stouter women either.
Women of about 160-170 cm can experiment with all lengths. From 170 cm upwards, we suggest you wear long chains as they accentuate the beautiful slender body without seeming overpowering.
When considering your body shape, you should remember that the eye stops at the spot where the necklace ends. Thus, if you want to highlight your beautiful long neck, wear short choker-type necklaces. In case you want to divert the attention away from your soft parts below your chin, choose at least the princess length or even longer.
Women with a smaller bust should wear thinner long chains or several chains of different length at a time – these add dynamism and excitement to the chest. Women with more voluminous bust, however, should avoid lengths resting on the breasts (50-70 cm), as the breasts won’t allow the chain to hang freely and also the pendant might end up in an awkward position. Instead, they could experiment with shorter lengths between 45-50 cm highlighting the sumptuous décolletage.
Shape of the face
The necklace is not only a beautiful accessory, it also helps to frame your face. It can emphasise the unique beauty of your face but also change a little how it seems to other people.
Women with a round face should avoid very short necklaces less than 45 cm, as these tend to make the face even rounder. On the other hand, short necklaces are recommended for women with a thinner face, as they help to make the face seem visually shorter and rounder and the features softer.
We recommend a short necklace also to women whose chin is more delicate compared to the upper part of the face – a short necklace adds further softness and roundness to the lower part of the face.
Long necklaces should be avoided by women with a thin or heart-shaped faces, while they are particularly suitable for women with a round face. Women with an oval face can experiment with all shapes and lengths.
When choosing a chain for your pendant, you should add the length of the pendant to the length of the necklace. It is usually recommended to wear shorter necklaces up to 55 cm with more compact pendants such as a simple rock, figure or pearl. On the other hand, a small pendant does not suit a long necklace. Necklaces of 65-70 cm or longer could have already a more eye-catching and larger pendant.
In case you plan to add a pendant to the chain, you must consider that the weight of the pendant “stretches” the chain visually longer (in the above picture, for instance, the 41-centimetre gold chain seems much longer due to the 5-centimetre pendant). In case you have more volume, a 50-centimetre chain with no pendant can suit you perfectly, but when you add a pendant, it tends to sink between your breasts. That is why we suggest you add at least 3 cm or the length of the pendant to the necklace length in your mind to get an idea of where the pendant will remain on your body.
Choosing a necklace is like choosing jeans – it is important to find the perfect fit. In case you consider your pros and cons when selecting the necklace, it can make a considerable contribution to your appearance. And if making the decision seems too complex, just take a necklace with adjustable length. So now it's time to find yourself the perfect silver chain or necklace or one of these gold chains.