A Quick Guide to Necklaces!

Posted by Miss Laura on

What Necklace Length should I choose?

The Rosie Fox Blossom Agate Fan Pendant

You’ve no doubt seen that we have a dazzling array of vintage style and semi-fine necklaces to browse both in-store and online, and we always try to include the length and adjustability where we can. But do you find these measurement numbers are a bit baffling? 

For starters, there’s a range of necklace lengths in general, and some places may include names for each rough length, as detailed in this handy table:


Chain Length (Inches)

Body Placement


Collar: Wraps around the throat/neck


Choker or Bib: Against the base of the throat/neck

17” - 18”

Princess: Against the collarbone

20” - 24”

Matinee: Somewhere along the neckline: from the collarbone to the top of the bust (depends on height, neck length, etc.)

28” - 36”

Opera: On or slightly below the bust

36” - 42”

Rope: Doubles/wraps to sit at or slightly below the bust

But what does this mean for finding your ideal necklace drop?

First of all, we recommend you find your neck measurement - either use a soft tape measure, or wrap a ribbon round and measure it against a stiff tape measure. Once you know your neck measurement you can more accurately predict where a necklace will fall!

A woman measuring her neck with a tape measure

(Also very handy is measuring a necklace you know fits and suits you that you already own.)

There are many factors that can affect how a necklace will suit you - or not!

Neck size, face shape, body shape, height, the size and shape of any hanging pendant; all these can mean that a necklace that’s gorgeous on the mannequin pics can fall a bit flat when worn on yourself.

Neck Size: this, of course, varies between people, so the average necklace length of 16-18” can end up sitting a good inch or so higher or lower than expected. Take the measurement of your neck into account when looking at Princess or Bib length chains and aim for chains with a bit of adjustment room to allow for some extra wiggle room.

Face Shape: never as exact a science as social media would have you think, but in broad generalisations, if you have a round face then shorter chain length might over-emphasise the natural curve of your face and chin, so aim for a medium drop to give more visual space between chin/throat and the lowest drop of the necklace. 

If you have a face that’s more angular with sharp lines, a long drop can accentuate some angles less flatteringly, so a shorter drop can provide some curvature to balance out sharp lines.

Height: Short ladies like many of us at VV know all too well how a slightly too long necklace can almost overwhelm you! Often a chain that’s Matinee length can look like a long drop on a shorter torso, so Opera or Rope styles just end up getting in the way and standing out in the wrong way.

Taller ladies can really take advantage of these dramatic long styles - especially those fabulous flapper 20s and 30s lengths.

Body Shape: Again, not an exact science, but in general bust size especially plays a big role in what necklace suits you best. Broadly, a smaller bust can carry dramatic long layered chains, but those with a larger bust may find this means the necklaces just don’t sit properly and find it better to have a style that sits above the chest.

If you’re aware you have more of a pear shape, broader at the lower half, then you could experiment with necklace styles that draw attention to the upper chest and clavicle area - around 18-24 inches in length. By the same reasoning, if you’re narrow at the waist and hip you may find one of those dramatic long styles with a pendant hanging lower will draw the eye lower. Have a play in front of a mirror!

Pendants and Charms: Whilst these often will draw attention regardless of where they fall on you, there’s much to be said for experimenting with where the accessories on the chain sit.

A delicate little charm hanging from a choker length chain sitting at the base of the throat is the most ideal (and would get utterly lost on a Matinee length necklace!) but if it sits too high on a shorter or wider neck it can be a touch less flattering, so try out lengths closer to 18 inches if you find there’s little to no “drop” and see the difference that slight dip in the visual makes for you.

Bolder pendants and accoutrements need a bit more space and as previously mentioned, the long 20s and 30s style deco necklaces with dramatic pendants can look fabulous down near the waist, though if the pendant is also quite wide then sitting at Opera or rope length is just going to look a bit awkward. Bear in mind too that the pendant will add extra length to the drop, so you could end up with quite a swing if you’re not careful!

The other major factor in necklace length is of course the neckline of the outfit you’re wearing. As a rough guide, try to follow the shape of your neckline for the most flattering look. 

See the table below for some starter ideas, but as always, the most important thing is to experiment for yourself. None of these “guidelines” are rules, so if an accessory makes you feel confident and happy, then the strong likelihood is that it’s automatically flattering, even if it doesn’t quite fit with the ideas mentioned in this blog, because you’ll carry yourself differently and exude that poise we love to see!



Suggested Necklace


Collar or bib


Princess with v-shape charms and pendants

Scoop Neck

Collar or princess length with volume or many pendants/charms


Collar or princess length with round or oblong pendants

Cowl or Collar

Choker, collar, or princess with small pendants

Halter/Deep V-Neck

Matinee or opera with long or thin pendants


Choker or Collar

Square Neck

Collar or princess with more geometric pendants

Turtleneck or Boat Neck

Long chains with beads or pendants, possibly even layered

Off the Shoulder

Collar or princess with an asymmetric style

Now how about some real-time examples of what we mean?

Now how about some real-time examples of what we mean? All of these are Miss Alexa's personal necklaces that she'd wear regardless, simply because she likes them, but hopefully it shows a little clearer just how spacing and placement can make a difference.

Woman in a v neck dress with a short chain necklace

This little charm doesn't quite have enough drop here, and the roundness of the chain has a slight visual block with the v neck of the dress.

woman with a princess drop chain with asymmetric pendant

The length here is a little better, however the pendant would be better suited on a broader sweetheart neckline.


woman in a v neck dress with a dramatic pendant necklace

A dramatic pendant for a dramatic V neck. The amount of space around the necklace is ideal here and as Miss Alexa is quite short and busty she wears the necklace at what is more of a Matinee length for her, but the impression is of a longer length necklace.


Now an example with one necklace that has an adjustable chain:

A woman in a V neck dress wearing a green agate necklace quite high up at the base of the throat

This is too high for Miss Alexa's short neck and broader top half. It would better suit a scoop neck or even a crew neck top, or someone with a longer neck.

A woman in a V neck dress wearing a green agate necklace just below the clavicle
This is a better chain length and better place for the pendant to be placed if you were to pair it with a neckline like this. However the thicker beads on the chain don't complement Miss A's shorter neck and broader top half as much as they could, so...
A woman in a V neck dress wearing a green agate necklace at the top of the chest
Just extending the length a touch adds a tiny bit more elongation and balances things better.
A woman in a v neck dress with a low pendant necklace that obscures the dress neckline
However not too low! This obscures the neckline of the dress, and the lack of visible space around the pendant makes the look cluttered.
We hope this was a wee bit helpful for you! Remember to just try things out and see what YOU feel good in.
Miss Alexa's personal favourite (and Mrs Darling's too!) necklaces to wear with multiple things - especially as a short, busty gal with a short neck - are the gorgeous Rosie Fox Strand necklaces.
Here's the Aquamarine one in action, but we've several options to choose from, many in luscious semi-precious Agate, and we've pretty much got one of each for all our own outfits! They're spaced out beautifully to add a subtle touch of luxury.
A woman with a delicate agate strand necklace from Rosie Fox

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