Picking the perfect necklace can sometimes be a tricky business. Will it go with your wardrobe? Is it both casual and fancy enough to take you through both the day and the night? All these questions come to mind when jewellery shopping. When it comes to necklaces, the biggest question of all is how long should the chain be?
Deciding on chain length is dependant on a lot of things, but the first and foremost criteria is the size of your neck. Everyone’s neck is different, and you want to be sure the necklace you choose fits comfortably and looks great!
Most chain lengths are measured in even numbers, but on occasion you’ll find them listed as odd numbers. Traditionally, a standard chain is 16 to 20 inches long. This length usually sits somewhere between the base of the throat and your collarbone, but the best way to know how long your chain should be is to measure.
Measuring your neck (either with a measuring tape or piece of string) and then adding 2 to 4 inches will give you a comfortable fit that sits in between your throat and collarbone. To insure you’re getting an accurate measurement, your tape or string should be snug, but not too tight.
Although having a standard size is helpful, sometimes the standard just doesn’t work. There are many different necklace styles and lengths out there and it’s nice to mix it up on occasion.
Common Chain Sizes
Let’s go through a few of the chain length options available.
Collar chains are usually 14 inches and fits snuggly around your neck. This length looks great with v-necks, off-the-shoulder tops, and boatnecks.
A choker is about 16 inches and sits tightly against the base of your throat. It looks great with almost every outfit! Chokers are very trendy and can effortlessly be worn in an everyday outfit or a chic evening look.
A princess length is usually 18 inches and sits on the collarbone. It also looks great with anything. Princess necklace types are considered to be the average necklace length.
A matinee chain is typically 20 to 24 inches in length. Most commonly sitting between the collarbone and the center of the bust, this length works great with both casual and business attire. Chains for lockets are often in this length range.
An opera chain ranges between 28 to 38 inches in length and sit on or below the bust. They look great with high necklines, like turtlenecks, as well as evening wear!
Rope chains are 40 inches or longer, and either hang below the navel or are wrapped to give you a double strand. This length is perfect with formal attire and elegant business wear.
An important note to remember is that the clasp is not usually included in the length of the chain. Be aware that certain clasps will increase the length of your necklace and will change where your necklace falls on your body.
Necklace Lengths that Flatter the Body
Necklaces are eye-catching, and this is something to keep in mind when thinking about the parts of your body you may want to highlight or parts you don’t want to draw added attention to. Where the necklace falls is often where the eye will be drawn, so if you do not want attention to your bust, for example, choosing a chain between 20 to 22 inches may not be the best choice.
For petite women, long necklaces can help to create long vertical lines, thereby giving your body the illusion of added height. Any chain over 30 inches will help you to achieve a taller look. Be aware though that too long of a chain may overwhelm a smaller frame, so it’s all about balance. Another point to keep in mind is that a pendant on the chain will help create a V-shape style that will elongate your neckline and add to the illusion of height.
For taller women, longer lengths are also really flattering as they accentuate your tall frame. A smaller chain may not stand out so much on a taller frame, so the longer lengths are usually the best choice.
Your face and jawline can also benefit from the right necklace. Those with heart shaped faces and rectangular or oblong faces should consider a choker style necklace — these will help soften sharp angles and shorten jawlines. Rounder faces benefit from longer necklaces that elongate the neckline. Any chain between 26 to 36 inches will look fantastic with your facial structure!
Ultimately, choose what feels comfortable to you. You’re the only one who can decide what looks best and is the most comfortable. If you’re looking for advice or have questions on which chain style best suits you, visit us in store where our jewellery experts are here to help!