which necklace with which neckline - styling tops and dresses right accessory by Wardrobe Oxygen

Which Necklace with Which Neckline?

style rules

By Rosana Vollmerhausen of DC Style Factory

which necklace with which neckline - styling tops and dresses right accessory by Wardrobe OxygenI gave a talk recently about necklaces and necklines. It’s a typical question we get here at DC Style Factory: Go long? Go choker? Go statement?

The easiest necklaces to wear with just about any neckline is a longer one. The length of the necklace clears any v, scoop, drape or boat neckline. Whether you decide to go longer or shorter, you don’t want your necklace bumping up against your neckline. So either select one that is about an ½ an inch to an inch above your neckline or one that drops under your neckline at least several inches.

Longer necklaces, much like v-neck tops, lengthen your neckline, which in general is more flattering. Chokers shorten your neckline, which sometimes can sometimes be a more challenging style to wear. If you are petite, pay attention to how long the long necklace goes. Right below the bustline is good – grazing your bellybutton is too long.

Here is quick, easy guide for selecting which necklaces go best with which neckline.

V-neck Top

Wear with:

what necklace v-neck top

Smaller drop/pendant necklace that flows into v of the top

Shop Smaller Drop and Pendant Necklaces:

what necklace v-neck top

Longer non-pendant necklace that clears the v of the top and flows with the draping.

Shop Long Non-Pendant Necklaces:

Pass on: Wearing with a choker, which shortens your neckline and counteracts to the lengthening effect of the v shape.


Wear with:

what necklace scoop neck top

A statement necklace that mimics the curved shape of the neckline covers expose neck/chest surface area.

Shop Statement Necklaces:

Pass on: A choker that will leave too much empty surface area and not cover enough neck/chest area.

Boatneck Top

Wear with:

what necklace boatneck top

what necklace boatneck top

A longer necklace, which draws attention up and down, and balances the high, horizontal neckline.

Shop Longer Necklaces:

Pass on: A choker/collar necklace that will bump up against with the neckline.  A statement necklace higher up on the neck that will grab and pull at the horizontal neckline.

Collared Button-down Shirt

Wear with:

what necklace button collared shirt

A statement necklace under the collar for a “brooch” effect.

what necklace button collared shirt

A statement under the shirt with some color peeking out.

Pass on: A long necklace that will compete with the vertical button placket on the shirt.


Wear with:

what necklace crewneck shirt

A longer necklace that lengthens your neckline since the high neckline of the crewneck top shortens it.

what necklace crewneck shirt

A statement necklace that “creates” a new, longer neckline. Select a statement necklace that covers the top of the crewneck.

Pass on: A collar necklace; it just further shortens your neckline.


Wear with:

what necklace strapless

A shorter statement necklace that leaves about 1/2 an inch of space between the necklace and the neckline, a longer necklace that clears the neckline, or the two together as pictured!

what necklace strapless

Another fun option is to wear with a collar necklace.

Shop Collar Necklaces:

There are a multitude of other necklines and variations on necklines, but just remember, you simply want the necklace you choose to make sense with the neckline of the top. If you are fussing with it too much or it just doesn't feel right, then it probably isn't. But selecting the right necklace can really make a difference in adding polish, personality and finish to your look. Happy accessorizing!

DC Style Factory is a personal styling and shopping business based in the Washington, D.C. area. The company creed is that style is for anyone who wants it – regardless of size, age or budget. Clients include high-profile experts in the public eye who need polish for television appearances and stay-at-home moms juggling carpool. Our job is to prepare them to look and feel good for different events in their lives no matter how big or small.

Stylist and owner, Rosana Vollmerhausen, has had more than a decade of fashion retail and styling experience, including owning, running and buying for an award-winning boutique in Washington,D.C. She has styled local fashion events and photo shoots, and has written expert fashion tips for local publications. Her true passion, though, is one-on-one work with clients, building wardrobes that make sense for where they are in their lives. As a wife and mother of three, she is a firm believer that you don’t have to sacrifice personal style because life is busy. If key wardrobe pieces make sense for who and where you are, personal style can be accessible to anyone who wants it.

Learn more about Rosana and DC Style Factory at www.dcstylefactory.com or on the blog at www.dcstylefactory.com/blog.


  • controversial nobody January 11, 2017

    I have a choker top with a scoop neckline (and obviously the attached choker). It is just a plain colour and there is a lot of space between the neckline and the choker – should I wear a necklace with this? I have a short silver necklace with a thin chin that ends in a small crystal triangle shaped pendant.
    Thank you so much

    • Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen January 15, 2017

      I think it’s up to you. Tops with necklines like that don’t need jewelry, the cutouts are the detail. However, if it feels plain a chain with a small pendant like you mention that drops in that space could be quite nice.

  • Gina March 20, 2016

    This is a great article and the pictures are SO helpful. It is so hard for me to figure out necklaces. On top of it I have a lot of red in my skin so it has to the the right color or it washes me out or looks terrible.

    My question is…I just bought a maxi dress with think horizontal striping throughout – the top is shaped like a tank top, with a roundish neckline – I know usually with this neckline (I think) the advice is to fill up the neck area/space – is it ever OK to wear a long necklace with tank top style necklines? And if so is there a rule to go by or anything I should watch out for. I haven’t gone out to shop for necklaces yet so I want to know what options I can look at.

    Thank you so much!

    • Gina March 20, 2016

      I should add the dress is casual…cotton-y looking, white with very thin blue (could even look black) vertical lines throughout. (so any tips on color would be great too!)

      • Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen March 20, 2016

        I think a long necklace is a great choice for such a neckline, especially when it’s a longer dress. With stripes like that, consider wearing a casual necklace made of turquoise or another natural looking stone or wood beads, or something silver with beads to make it less shiny and dressy. This tassel and bead necklace from BaubleBar (http://bit.ly/25dKQsH ) would be a great choice with the length. I like the mint and coral, but you could also do the all blues option. This is the kind of necklace that will also go with basic tees and tanks, paired with a blazer, worn with other similar necklaces, and is light enough to work all summer long!

        • Gina March 20, 2016

          Thank you Allie for going above and beyond to actually give me an example I can buy. I am so going to order that necklace right now! (and even if it ends up not working now I have a clear image of what could work/what to look for.)

          Thank you! 🙂

  • Yoli Chapa March 4, 2016

    I’m wearing a V-neckline blouse with sequins on it, can I wear va necklace to match the skirt?The blouse is solid color, skirt is print.

  • Aimee July 24, 2014

    This is a good post. I have a choker that is a neck collar. I really like it and have pendants that slide onto it but have found that it doesn’t get much wear. I will put it on, frown, and take it off. I usually wear it in the fall with a particular jacket but other than that it doesn’t get much play. Now I understand why it doesn’t look good with everything: the point is to elongate. If it doesn’t elongate or fill some of the open space that is created by a scoop neckline, it just doesn’t work. The goal is to lengthen, not shorten. Got it!

  • Lorean July 22, 2014

    Very good tips ! I actually got a few ideas on how to wear some necklaces 🙂

  • Grace McNamee Decker July 22, 2014

    So, it sounds like chokers are ALWAYS a bad idea?

    • Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen July 22, 2014

      Honestly, the most important thing with any fashion is where what you like. If you love chokers, they are always in style and will look great. However if you’re wanting to elongate your neck or frame, they’re not the best choice. But they work with open collared shirts quite nicely!

      • Grace McNamee Decker July 22, 2014

        It’s funny…. I DON’T wear chokers- though I love how they look at times! Might be a good “how-to” sometime..

  • carol July 22, 2014

    I also have difficulty wearing longer necklaces with my large bust. Will have to try the pendant idea. This is really helpful, Allie. Thanks so much!

  • Sonia July 21, 2014

    Excellent tips and the examples shown in the photos were spot on! I always, always, always have problems with necklaces and usually opt between my diamond solitaire 18″ necklace on a fine chain to the huge acrylic balls with gold accent balls with a 20″ length as my two go-to neck pieces. I really want to try something more daring and these photos give me more options. My big problem is then, after finding the perfect necklace, how do you match it to the earrings– should I go matchy, matchy or with a more basic style?

    • Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen July 21, 2014

      I usually forgo earrings if I’m wearing a necklace, or else stick to something small and basic. But if the outfit is very simple, matchy matchy can be your statement!

  • nobodyssister July 21, 2014

    Do longer necklaces really work with a large bustline though? I mean it looks fine from the front view, but if you turn to the side, the necklace looks like it’s rappelling off the cliff of my boobs.

  • Patti_NotDeadYetStyle July 21, 2014

    good tips, thanks!

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