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Necklace Lengths | Chart & Guide

Necklaces come in many lengths. For centuries, necklaces evolved and their designs changed, just like their lengths. You probably don’t put much thought into the different lengths of necklaces and why they are designed like that. 

We also have a great ring size chart and guide for ring sizing. Be sure to reference that page once you're done reading our necklace length guide below.

necklace lengths

What are Some Different Lengths of Necklaces?

Necklaces come in all kinds of lengths to accommodate different sizes of necks, styles of shirts, and fashion statements you wish to make. Here is a breakdown of the length and what the length is referred to as. Check out the necklace lengths charts below.

Length-14 inches / Name-Collar 

Length-16 inches / Name-Choker

Length-18 inches / Name-Princess

Length-20-24 inches / Name-Matinee

Length-28-36 inches / Name-Opera

Length-36-42 inches / Name-Rope

What Do Certain Necklace Chain Lengths Mean and How Did Cultures Wear Them?

Necklaces lengths do have meanings. Centuries ago, long necklaces were layered around the necks of both men and women to display their jewelry and show off their class or rank. Long necklaces were worn as ornamental pieces, but they also were displayed in a long style to symbolize accolades or accomplishments. 

View our mens necklace designs as well. 

Choker necklaces, or other necklaces that sit closely around the neck or chest were often worn by the Egyptian culture. They provided decoration to the body, without getting in the way. Some believed the more you had around your neck symbolized status and class among others. If a pharaoh had a heavily adorned neck and chest, they were extremely wealthy and important. 

The Greeks and Romans also wore necklaces that were closely conformed to their chest. View our pendant necklace designs as well.

Over the years, women from the Victorian age started to wear longer strands of necklaces, showing off their ornate jewels, lockets, and amulets. Flappers from the Roaring Twenties also took their cue and wore long, luxurious stings of pearls and golden strands on shiny and shimmering beads and jewels while tearing up the town and dancing the night away. 

Later on, women in the 50’s and 60’s started wearing more refined pieces, like pearls and princess length necklaces that offset their structured dresses; while those in the 70’s wore long beaded necklaces that were adorned with flowers and other natural fibers and designs. The 80’s and 90’s Grunge Era brought back chokers in a big way, keeping things close around the neck; and also sported the lariat length in regard to necklaces that formed a y-shape. 

Today, less is more when it comes to necklaces and their lengths. Princess style and matinee lengths are the most popular designs and the minimalist styles that feature dainty strands, delicate baubles and stones and hammered finishes are all the rage. 

How Can You Wear Certain Necklace Lengths?

It is essential that you choose the right necklace for the certain top or dress that you’re wearing. Here is a complete necklace lengths guide to getting dressed with a necklace!

Collar Length

These short necklaces fit tightly around the neck, so it is ideal that you wear scoop necks and other types of tops or dresses that show some skin, such as a v-neck. Boat-neck tops and dresses also showcase a collar length necklace, as does a crew-neck, which exposes less skin than a scoop neck.

Choker

Choker length necklaces are great to wear because they go with virtually anything. They are extremely short and tight, so they don’t get in the way of embellished tops and dresses, and they are wonderful for drawing the eye upward when you want all the focus or attention to be on your face or top part of your dress or shirt. 

Princess

Princess length necklaces are similar to the choker, in the sense that they are highly wearable and pairable. Because they sit right at the collarbone, they can be worn with virtually anything. This length of necklace looks especially pretty when paired with a v-neck style dress or a deep scoop neck blouse. 

Matinee

A matinee length necklace sits on the check, between the bust and neck, but is a little longer than the princess length. It is the most popular necklace length to be worn with office wear and business tops. Many wear this length of necklace with button down blouses, v-neck tops, scoop necks, and boat neck style dresses that sit straight across the neck, allowing the necklace to pop and make a statement. 

Opera

An opera length is perfect to be worn with special event gear. Because the necklace is long and flowing, it pairs perfectly with long and flowing dresses. It sits nicely against ruffles and pleating, and it sways and moves with the dress. You may have seen women wearing an opera length necklace with an open, backless dress at weddings or award shows. Because the opera length is long, it is able to make a powerful fashion statement, even from behind!

Rope

A rope length is similar to an opera length, except it is even longer! Rope lengths are often worn with tunic tops and extra long cardigans to provide balance to your look. It’s also not uncommon to see jeweled rope necklaces being worn with elegant gowns for special occasions or events. They are usually draped around the neck, and don’t have any king of closures. Also called lariat style necklaces, it’s not unusual to loop and layer the chain around the neck once or even several times to get the desired length. This length of necklace is also a great purchase because it allows you to maximize your investment by being able to wear and pair it in many different ways, allowing you to always create a new and chic look. 

Chain necklace lengths have been evolving constantly. While it seems as though history repeats itself in regard to design and style; now you have a better sense of where these lengths came from, what they mean, and how you can wear one of your very own. Hopefully you can use the necklace lengths charts to help you get dressed and pick out an accessory that leaves you looking and feeling stunning.