How to Choose the Right Necklace Length

Posted by Sheryl Lutz-Brown on

So you're shopping online and you come across a picture of a model wearing a necklace you really like. You're mesmerized by the way it compliments her collar bones and begin daydreaming about how it would perfectly match your favorite outfit. You immediately hit “buy“ and wait anxiously for the necklace to arrive, only to find that it falls down to your ribs! Don’t worry, you’re not alone – not many people look at the necklace length when shopping for jewelry and accessories (probably because not many people know what necklace length suits them to begin with).  

You now want to avoid this mistake in the future, so you hop onto Google to type in the burning question – how to choose the right necklace length!?

white vanity with glass perfume bottle and gold jewelry

Chain Length Chart 

There are six different stylized chain lengths for women:

the Collar: 14" Collars wrap tightly around the mid of the neck
the Choker/Bib: 16" Chokers lay on the very base of the neck
Princess: 17-18" Princess necklaces lay against the collarbone
Matinee: 20-24" This classifies any necklace below the collarbone to the top of the bust
Opera: 28-36" Lays on the bust (or even below)
Rope: 36-42"
Usually two lengths of chain that sit on or just below the bust

Men’s necklaces are usually between 18 and 24 inches long. The 18 inch necklace wraps around the base of the neck while the 24 inch necklace lands around the sternum (commonly paired with religious pendants). 

man wearing turtleneck and gold cross pendant

Of course, these measurements are suited to adults. For children, the average necklace length differs:

  • The standard size for babies and toddlers is 10 to 14 inches 
  • The standard size for children and pre-teens is 14 to 18 inches

With children, safety should always come first. Stick to standard sizes – chains that are too long carry the risk of getting tangled, while necklaces that are too tight may pose a choking hazard.

3 Tips on How to Choose the Right Necklace Length

The chart above can be a helpful reference if the necklace you’re eyeing is measured in inches or by style, however, one can’t assume that these are universal sizes applicable to everyone. Someone with a wider neck might wear a princess necklace like a choker, while for others princess necklaces may fall to the bust. 

Here are three tips to make sure you’re choosing the right necklace length:

1. Measure your neck width

Chokers fit best if you add two inches to your current neck width. You can use chokers as a reference point and calculate your way through. For example, if your neck is 18 inches wide, then a good choker for you would be around 20 inches. If you’re looking for a good fit on a princess necklace, then you should look for a necklace with a 22-23 inch long chain.

2. Consider necklace shapes

If you have very protruding collarbones, then an oval necklace might provide an odd fit. Instead, choose a necklace that would either fall an inch above or an inch below your collarbones. A necklace with a triangle shape and a pendant might be a more suitable option. Matinee necklaces will also sit a bit more rigid rather than loose on a large bust, so if you want a layered necklace or one with hanging pendants all across, you should opt for something that would sit just below your collarbones. 

3. Average necklace length 

The average or standard necklace length falls somewhere between 18 and 20 inches for women, and 16 to 18 inches for men – which would be a necklace that sits just above or on the collarbones, so when in doubt – play it safe and choose a standard-sized necklace. 

We hope our little necklace length guide helps you make better decisions on your next shopping spree so you can make more empowered buying decisions and turn all your accessorizing dreams into realities.

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