Finding the right chain length for your clothes and body

I thought an article on necklace lengths would be interesting and informative.  We all have our favorite types of blouses, shirts, and dresses.  And, when we wear jewelry, we want them to stand out and not be hidden away.  So here are a few tips that may be helpful.

My focus will be chain lengths because each necklace is different here at Silverfinch Jewelry Design.


The most popular neckline styles in fashion today are Strapless; Off the Shoulder; Boatneck; Scoop; Sweetheart; V-Neck; Crew top; Collar; and the Turtleneck/Mock Turtleneck.

Just so we’re all on the same page, the Sweetheart neckline is when you have thin straps holding up the bodice.

I will use these neckline titles to discuss which chain size works best.


The 14” chain

The 14”  and 16” are both called Choker.   And of course, there is the actual Choker necklace. This size chain, looks best with open necklines, like strapless or off the shoulder.

The 16” Chain

The 16” chain is a versatile length and can be worn in several styles.  It goes well with strapless, off-the-shoulder, Sweetheart, and V-neck.  The one style to avoid would be the collar because it would hide the pendant.

The 18” Chain

The 18” chain is the most common length and is known as the Princess Style.  It works best with collared, sweetheart, and crew necklines. 

The 20” Chain

The 20-24” chain length is called the Matinee.  It is great for both business, and casual wear, and hangs beautifully with necklines such as the collar, scoop, boatneck, and crew.

Men’s Chain Lengths

Men’s Chain Lengths

Most men choose the 20” chain length When a man is wearing a pendant the chain length should be 22-25” so it rests in the middle of his chest.

The 24” Chain

The 24” chain length is very elegant.  It makes a great length for evening wear and is ideal for the collar, scoop, boatneck, and crew necklines. 

The 28” Chain

The 28-36” chain is called the Opera length.  It is considered more formal than a shorter length, such as the 18” length.  It is perfect for the turtleneck, mock turtleneck, and scoop necklines.

The 35” Chain

The 35” chain is elegant for business or evening wear.  And again, it pairs well with a turtleneck, mock turtleneck, and scoop necklines.  

Our Bodies

Chain Lengths on Women

So now comes the bottom line!  Our body size and bust size affect the visual length and drape of jewelry on our torso.  And of course, we all have our own personal preferences.

One suggestion is to measure a piece of string to the different chain lengths  Then try your favorite clothes to get an idea of which length you like the best.

This way, when you shop, online or in-person, you will have a good idea of what you’re looking for, and what length is best for you.


I do my best to have extra chain lengths on hand for this very reason.

Women less than 5’4” Tall

If you are under 5’4”, a chain ranging between 16 to 20” tends to look the best.

Women 5’4” Tall and Above

If you are 5’4” or taller you can wear any length necklace and look fabulous.

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