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Necklace Length Guide: What Length Necklace to Wear?

necklace lengths and sizes

Most necklaces can be adjusted to any length, from choker tight to long swinging pendants. But not every necklace length suits every body type, face shape and even height. If you’re wondering, “What length necklace to wear”, then this is the perfect necklace length guide for you!

You might also be interested in our bracelet sizes guide.

Standard Necklace Lengths for Women

Most necklace chains come in the following standard lengths:

Length (In.)Length(cm)PlacementStyle
14 Inches35 cmChoker/CollarThese necklaces fit closely around your neck.
18 Inches45 cmPrincessThis one hangs around the collar bone area. 
24 Inches60 cmShort matineeFalls right below the collarbone.
28 Inches71 cmLong matineePlaced just above the bust or at the bust.
34 Inches86 cmShort operaDrops just below or under the bust.
42 Inches106 cmLong operaPlaces well below the bust and above the navel.
48 Inches121 cmRopeFalls at the navel area. 

The most common necklace length is 18” or the “Princess” necklace. Since this necklace sits right on the collarbone, it can go well with most types of necklines and body shapes. If you look at your jewellery collection right now you might find that most of your necklaces are Princess type necklaces. 

necklace length chart

But what if you want to switch it up a gear and try something new? With choker and collar type necklaces being highly on-trend this year – You might even be wondering, will a choker necklace suit me? This all depends on your face shape and body type. 

Necklaces and Face shapes

Some necklace types make you look prettier than others. For example, choker necklaces are great for rectangular or diamond face shapes. As they add more roundness to a sharp jawline, giving you a softer look overall. Below is a chart of common face shapes and the best necklace lengths for each:

necklace lengths face shape

If you’re struggling to find the perfect necklace for your face shape, here are a couple of pointers:

  • Rectangle: Rectangle face shapes are long and sharp. You have a sharp, straight-looking chin, as well as square-like forehead. For this face type, round curvy necklaces work wonders. Try a round collar necklace or a choker to make your face look wider and rounder. 
  • Round: Round face shapes are very circular. You have a round, curvy chin, round cheeks and a round forehand to match. This face shape looks great with princess type necklaces and matinee necklaces. Try picking geometric shaped necklaces, such as triangular or rectangular shapes, as these give your face a sharp edge.
  • Diamond: Diamond shapes have lovely sharp cheekbones. These are complemented with a small forehead and jawline. Since this face type is sharp and long, your best bet is to wear a short, round necklace. This not only widens the face but also softens the edges. 
  • Heart: The heart or upside-down triangle face shape is wide at the top and narrows at the bottom. Here you want a necklace to balance it out, by widening the jawline. For this, we recommend short, round necklaces to a short pearl necklace or a collar necklace.
  • Oval: Ovals are similar to round face shapes but longer. Here you want to avoid wearing long, pendant necklaces, as they’ll make your face look even longer. Instead try wearing short, rectangular-shaped necklaces or any other sharp geometric shape. 
  • Triangle: The triangle shape has a wide jaw-line and a smaller forehand. Here you want to balance it out by putting more emphasis on the forehead. Try a nice long necklace style, like a matinee or opera-type necklace. 

The key to finding the perfect necklace for your face shape is balanced. If you have a sharp, rectangular face, soften it with roundness. And if your face is long and round, try tightening that face up with a nice choker necklace. 

Common Necklace Length Questions & Answers

To end our necklace length guide, here are some common questions asked by women when it comes to necklace sizes and lengths.

Is a 16-inch necklace too short?

For smaller neck sizes, a 16-inch necklace will sit at the base of the neck. While on wider necks, it will fit tightly on the neck, like a collar necklace. A 16-inch necklace looks best on petite women who are between 5’4” to 5’7” in height. While taller women can wear collar and choker necklaces, they look best in longer necklace types. 

What length pearl necklace should I buy?

These days you can buy pearl necklaces in all lengths, from short collar necklaces to long traditional strands of pearl necklaces. The most common length for pearl necklaces is around 18 inches. These necklaces go well with high-neck dresses and even crew necks. Long strands of pearls are also another popular choice. These are normally greater than 42 inches and are great for fancy dress parties or even dressing up an old office blouse. 

Which is better: 16 or 18-inch necklace?

This depends on the style you’re going for. On smaller women, the 16-inch necklace will hang at the collarbone and loosely around the neck. While on plus-size women it will appear more tightly on the neck, like a collar necklace. An 18 inch necklace, on the other hand, hangs around the collarbone. On petite women, the 18-inch necklace may be on the collarbone. While on plus-size women it appears above the collar bone area.  Of course, if you’re buying a gift, the 18 inch is a much safer choice, as it hangs elegantly around the collarbone and looks great on all body types. 

Where does a 45cm necklace sit?

A 45 cm necklace sits around the collar bone. For petite women, it may fit below the collarbone and for plus size ladies, it could fit on the collar bone. 45 cm or princess type necklaces are the most common types of necklaces that women wear. They are perfect for all occasions from weddings to everyday wear. They particularly look great with off-the-shoulder tops or smart office blouses. 

How to measure necklace length?

To measure your necklace length, first, take a piece of string. Drape this string around your neck and hold it to where you want your necklace to land. Cut the string at this point, and then lay it straight on a table. Get a ruler and measure the length of the string. You might want to add an extra 2 inches to this measurement, as necklace chains are thicker than pieces of string. This will give you your ideal necklace length. Using this measurement you can buy the right length necklace from your favourite jeweller. 

How tight should a choker necklace be?

Despite the name, a choker necklace should not be choking you. A perfectly fitting choker necklace should be slightly loose and placed lower down the neck. The most common length for chokers is usually 14 inches. If you’re buying a choker necklace online for the first time, you can use a string or tape measure to get the ideal length. Whatever your measurement is, try to add 2 inches to it to give yourself some breathing space.

Got another question about necklace lengths? Comment it below. 

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Pretty Royale is a jewellery blog posting about the latest jewellery trends, jewellery from around the world and style guides.

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