Necklace Length Guide: Pick Your Piece Confidently

Updated May 4, 2021
Woman trying on a diamond necklace

Choosing the right necklace length can be a little tricky, especially when you're shopping online. Fortunately, all it takes to pick the right necklace is a necklace length chart and a little information about the lengths available. From collars to rope necklaces, there's a length out there that's perfect for your outfit and body type.

Understanding Necklace Lengths With a Necklace Length Chart

Some retailers sell chains and necklaces according to their length in inches, while others use the metric system. Still other retailers use terms like 'choker' or 'princess' length for different lengths. Each term is associated with a specific length or range. You can see how these relate in this necklace length chart in centimeters and inches:

Necklace Type Length (Inches) Length (cm)
Collar 14 inches or shorter 35.5 cm or shorter
Choker About 16 inches 41 cm
Princess About 18 inches 46 cm
Matinee Between 20 inches and 24 inches 51 cm to 61 cm
Opera Between 26 inches and 34 inches 66 cm to 86 cm
Rope 36 inches and longer 91.5 cm or longer

Collar Necklaces

At about 14 inches in length, collar necklaces lie very close to the neck. Before buying these pieces, it's best to measure your neck to make sure you'll have a comfortable fit. The necklace should be at least two inches longer than your neck circumference.

  • Wear a collar necklace with an open neckline or a strapless dress.
  • This length looks great on petite women.
  • If you are self-conscious about your neck, avoid this attention-grabbing style.

Choker Necklaces

Chokers are about 16 inches long, and they rest loosely at the base of your neck. On most people, they hit above the collarbone, but they aren't quite as snug as collar necklaces.

  • A choker is a beautiful style to wear with an open blouse, since it will peek out from beneath your collar.
  • This length also looks gorgeous with other tops that have open necklines, such as V-necks, scoop necks, strapless styles.
  • Like a collar necklace, the choker draws attention to the neck. If you consider your neck one of your best features, give this style a try.

Princess Necklaces

At 18 inches in length, princess necklaces are universally flattering. Typically, these chains and strands rest on the collarbone, offering a feminine look for any height or body type. Many pendants come with 18-inch chains, since this is the optimal length to show off a special bauble.

  • This length looks fantastic with any low, open neckline or strapless top.
  • You can also wear an 18-inch necklace over a turtleneck or other high neck.
Necklace lengths
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Matinee Necklaces

Matinee necklaces can range from 20 inches to 24 inches in length. Depending on your height and the exact length of the necklace, they will hit at the bust or slightly below it.

  • Because they rest on top of the bust or hang just beneath, this can be a somewhat awkward length to wear. In most cases, you can't wear a matinee necklace with an open neckline or strapless top, since it will interfere with the neckline of your clothing.
  • These styles look best over closed button-down shirts, turtlenecks, and other simple clothing options.
  • Because they are a mid-length choice, they flatter most body types.

Opera Necklace

This grand-sounding name refers to any necklace ranging from 26 inches to about 34 inches in length. An opera-length necklace typically falls below the bust and above the waist.

  • Worn over tops and dresses, this style is useful for emphasizing a tall frame.
  • This is a great length for many plus-size women, and it draws the eye to your bustline.

Rope Necklace

Any chain or strand 36 inches or longer is considered a rope necklace. This type of necklace typically fall belows the waist, though 36-inch styles may hit just above the waist on some women.

  • Worn once around the neck, a rope necklace is ideal for taller women.
  • You can wrap the necklace multiple times around your neck to get a variety of looks from this length.
  • Women of all heights can look lovely when they wear a rope necklace wrapped.
  • This style looks beautiful with elegant clothing, since it tends to appear quite formal.

Necklace Length Guide With Tips

Like any fashion choice, there are a number of factors to consider when you choose a necklace length. Tips to keep in mind as you choose a necklace for your style and body include the following.

Select the Necklace Length Best for Your Neckline

The neckline of your dress or top is an important consideration when it comes to choosing a necklace length. This necklace and neckline chart will help you find the right length. You can also keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Choose a necklace length that doesn't conflict with the neckline by overlapping it.
  • Balance the shape of the neckline with a necklace that echoes that shape, such as a modern, chunky pendant with a square neckline.
  • Chokers work well with many necklines, making them one of the most versatile necklace lengths.
  • If you're wearing a one-shoulder top or other asymmetrical design, consider a necklace with an asymmetrical shape.
Necklace length best for necklines
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Choose the Length for Your Height

Because they create a strong vertical or horizontal line across your body, necklaces need to complement the height of the person wearing them.

  • In general, women of average height can wear most styles.
  • Petite women often look best in shorter styles, such as chokers and collars.
  • Tall women can wear most styles, but they often look best in longer necklaces like opera or rope styles.

Consider Your Body Type

When it comes to choosing a necklace for your body type, you need to consider both the style and length:

  • A curvy or plus-sized woman can rock a bold look, like an oversized statement necklace or a long rope of pearls. She can also wear delicate pieces in a variety of lengths. If she is self-conscious about her neck, she may want to stay away from chokers and collars.
  • A statement-making necklace can look great on a slim woman, but she needs to be careful not to choose something too substantial for her frame. If the necklace is chunky and fun, stick with shorter lengths to help balance the look. Delicate pieces almost always work as well.
  • If you have a triangle body type, consider a necklace shape and length that balances your shape. For a triangle or pear-shaped body type, experiment with a long necklace with a pendant to create a V-shape.

Think About Your Face Shape

Your face shape can also affect your necklace choices, although this is less of a consideration than with earrings. First, take a look in the mirror and determine what kind of face shape you have. Then use these tips to help you choose the ideal necklace length:

  • An oval face shape looks great with any length of necklace.
  • If you have an oblong face shape, you'll look great in choker and collar necklaces.
  • If you have square face shape, try to balance it with rounded necklace shape and longer lengths.
  • A round face shape looks great with longer necklaces like opera and rope styles.
  • A heart-shaped face looks especially lovely with rounded necklace styles and shorter lengths like chokers.

Choose a Necklace Length Based on Your Neck Size

The size of your neck is another factor to consider when choosing a necklace length. A study of neck circumference indicates that the average neck size for a woman is about 31.5 cm or 12.5 inches. If your neck is considerably larger or smaller than this average, it may affect where different necklace lengths fall on your frame. If you have a larger neck size, consider using a necklace extender to help your necklace fit as you expect.

Consider a Necklace Extender

A necklace extender is a useful tool that allows you to add an inch or two to the length of your necklace. Some necklaces come with an extender that is part of the chain. You can let it dangle down your back when you're not using it or make it part of the necklace length. In most cases, though, you'll need to purchase a separate necklace extender. They are available at most jewelry stores and come in gold, sterling silver, base metal, and other choices to match your necklaces. They come in two-inch, three-inch, and other lengths. This necklace length chart shows how an extender can change your necklace.

Original Length With Two-Inch Extender
14 inches (Collar) 16 inches (Choker)
16 inches (Choker) 18 inches (Princess)
18 inches (Princess) 20 inches (Matinee)
24 inches (Matinee) 26 inches (Opera)
26 inches (Opera) 28 inches (Opera)
36 inches (Opera) 38 inches (Rope)

Try It On

If you're shopping locally, take a moment to try on a new necklace before you buy it. That way, you can see if the length is right for you. Even if you're shopping online, you can get a sense of the necklace's fit. Simply cut a piece of string to the same length and hold it in place to see where the necklace falls on your frame.

Necklace Length Guide for Men

Guys wear necklaces too, of course. Keep these tips in mind:

  • In general, many men look great in a 20-inch necklace. This falls just below the first shirt button on most guys, and it doesn't conflict with a crew-neck t-shirt or similar neckline.
  • Just like with women, neck circumference can affect the way a necklace fits. The average neck circumference for guys is about 14 inches or 35.5 cm. If your neck is significantly larger, you may want to consider a longer necklace.
  • Height can also affect the best necklace length for men. Consider a slightly longer or shorter necklace to balance your proportions if you're taller or shorter than average.
  • Ultimately, guys should simply wear what they like. There are no hard and fast rules about necklaces, and expressing your personal style is important.

Change the Length to Change Your Look

Necklaces come in a wide variety of lengths and styles, and many of them will look great on you. From chunky chokers to delicate opera-length strands of pearls, you can change your look simply by changing the length of your necklace.

Necklace Length Guide: Pick Your Piece Confidently