Thursday 24 June 2010

What length to choose in a necklace?

Thought I would write a guide to necklace lengths.
When choosing what necklace to wear you take into consideration your outfit and whether you want to show off your neck or accentuate your bust.People however do not come in one size and so this is only a guide.

Collar length 

30 to 33 cm or 12 to 13 inch

Sits around the middle of your neck. Very Victorian/Early twentieth century and very elegant. Worn if you have a long neckline and plunging V dress or a dress/top that is off the shoulder. Alternately looks fabulous with a boat neckline.
Usually the necklace is made up of more than one strand of beads to accentuate the neckline.

Choker Length

35 to 40 cm or 14 to 16 inch

Sits at the base of the neck. Popular throughout history as one of the most versatile lengths of necklace. Can be worn with almost any type of outfit and neckline.
Ideal to use for a child - it does not get tangled in anything and has room for growth

Princess Length

42 to 48 cm or 17 to 19 inch

Hangs just below a shirt collar that is buttoned up or a knot on a tie. Ideal necklace length to wear with low, crew and boat necklines. This length is also ideal for wearing a pendant

Matinee Length

50 to 60 cm or 20 to 24 inch

This length is just on or below your bust (depending on your size) Most used for casual wear or for a business dress. Not so suited to wear with a plunging neckline as the necklace will get "lost" with this style.

Opera Length

70 to 85 cm or 28 to 34 inch

The queen of all lengths and the most common. Reaches down to the bottom of your sternum or chest bone. Versatile as can be worn as a single strand which looks very elegant. Or doubled as a choker length. Ideal to wear with high necklines as a crew, boat, turtlenecks, T-shirt, etc

Rope or Lariat Length

Over 112 cm or 35 inch

Longest length without it becoming a skipping rope!
The rope necklace is a necklace with or without a clasp. The lariat is a length of necklace that has the ends without a fastening. Worn with the end lengths dangling at the front and can be knotted to the length you want either high or low, wrapped around your neck then knot or just left dangling.
Sometimes the rope length necklace will have more than one clasp to make it versatile, either a shorter necklace and bracelet or two necklaces. Sarah Coventry produced several of this type of necklaces over the years. Favored in the 1920s onwards and by CoCo Chanel.

You can alter the length of a necklace by adding an extender chain or a shorter chain necklace. Alternatively use another bead necklace and disguise the clasps with fabric bows, lace or ribbon. Longer necklaces can double as bracelets by wrapping them around your wrist. Also use a brooch and pin a necklace in place. Scarf clips and dress clips can be used with a necklace. Just experiment...........

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About Me

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Solihull, West Midlands, United Kingdom
I preserve the past. Researching family and local history. Finding about mine and other people's ancestors, is just one of my passions. I also love vintage costume jewellery made here in the UK. I write about my finds and like to research.