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Pulling off an amazing outfit is about making all of the elements complement each other to create an overall impression. Adding necklaces with your accessory repertoire will instantly transform any ordinary ensemble into a fashion statement. To help navigate this vast realm of personal expression, we've gathered the top five list of helpful tips, tricks, and hacks to wear a necklace with style and grace in your own unique way!
To best wear your necklaces, flaunt style, and stick to simplicity, try these tips:
- Pair the chain to the pendant
- Go with adjustable chain lengths
- Get that layered look
- Tricky to catch clasps
- Let it shine
Follow our guide, and you will be dressed for success; just make sure to smile and have fun with it! You don't have to hire a personal stylist just to be hip as long as you are savvy with how you present your look. Check out all the tips below, then start working some of these ideas into your daily routine, and you will be a necklace pro before you know!
1. Pair the chain to the pendant
For this trick, the key to making a pendant's style really pop is selecting the right chain to show it off.
When selecting a chain, first examine the pendant's bail or loop where the chain threads through to determine the size and general look you desire. It's helpful to measure the opening to ensure the chain will fit. Just be sure to account for some extra clearance if there is a clasp or end tab to squeeze through as well.
In addition to fitting through the bail, the chain also needs to match the pendant's visual weight. A smaller, more delicate pendant will look best with a daintier chain while a more substantial piece would pair better with a thicker chain. This is suggested for both practical strength purposes and visual hierarchy reasons.
If you need to easily take precise measurements for chains or jewelry grab yourself a super handy pair of digital calipers and never guess again! Click here to see on Amazon.
Take a look at the character of the pendant and consider the type of material that would best suit it. Fine jewelry is typically always worn on a metal chain for appearance and strength, but anything you can tie into a knot will technically function as a necklace.
For pendants featuring organic materials like wood or shells consider leather or fiber cord for a nice little nod to nature. With metal pendants matching the surface texture can help present a cohesive look. For mirror-polished pieces stick to smooth and solid chains like a wheat or omega style. Pendants with matte finish or rough textures will match up with a rope or cable chain's sharp links.
Check out our "Types of Necklaces" guide, including all the chain styles.
The position where the pendant sits on the wearer is equally important to the style of chain it's being worn on. Most smaller pendants look their best situated between the collar bones and high sternum making an 18-inch chain the most ideal option. Larger pendants will benefit from a slightly longer chain in the 20-inch to 24-inch range that reaches closer to the center of the chest to achieve a more dramatic swooping effect.
Matching pendant and chain is a challenging exercise, so keep trying on different options until you find the style you're looking for!
2. Adjustable chain lengths
Having the ability to easily adjust the length of a necklace on the fly adds a different dynamic to whatever outfit you are wearing. Adjustability opens up a whole new world of options and can be a total lifesaver for different necklines or when layering multiple necklaces.
An adjustable chain has a sliding clasp that allows you to pull the chain to any length you desire. This type of clasp is only available on modern chains and is more limited in overall options. Check out a classic sliding clasp chain here on Amazon.
Multiple jump rings
We also recommend chains with extra jump rings an inch below the main one for additional length positions. You can always add jump rings to any of your existing chains or grab a new adjustable chain. See one here on Amazon.
Another great option is using a small length of a similar-looking chain as an extender attached to the native clasp. You could make your own DIY extender from an old broken chain or pick up an extender. See an extender set here on Amazon.
3. That layered look
Layering multiple necklaces in different lengths and styles creates a fun and flowy look perfect for casual or formal occasions depending on the accessories.
The short, medium, long method of layering three necklaces is an easy way to put together a stylish outfit for everyday wear. This simple stack works with just about anything you have in your jewelry box as long as the chains will allow for a somewhat even arrangement. Be careful if the chains are too close together as they may become tangled, especially problematic with certain types of chain links.
Achieve the most cohesive look by choosing pieces that have continuity amongst elements in addition to the contrast between them. The example photo below highlights one core theme of the circular pendant abstracted into an ellipse and then into a crescent shape. Contrast is seen between the pure gold metal and pop of blue color in the middle eyepiece.
Pearls are an iconic choice for formal occasions and look oh so luscious layered together. A favorite classy look includes a choker and matinee length strand for a filled-out v-shaped neckline that is nicely balanced by the negative space between strands. For a more contemporary style, explore pearl colors other than the classic creme to find what compliments your complexion. Multi-color pearl strands look magnificent with a black dress and will match any other color pearl pieces you may already own.
4. Tricky to catch clasps
We all know the struggle of trying to open and close a necklace when the clasp is small and difficult to grab. Instead of fumbling behind your neck, try rotating the clasp around to the front and even use a mirror to help get a better view. This hack is especially helpful for tight choker-length chains that have very little extra length to maneuver the clasp. If you are having a particularly hard time getting a necklace off and on, consider clipping a magnetic toggle to the existing clasp for a convenient option you can remove anytime! Check out this magnetic clasp here on Amazon.
If you prefer layering, you might be interested in "5 Ways To Keep Necklaces From Tangling On Your Neck."
5. Let it shine
Even the most tastefully arranged outfit will fall flat if the accessories are not clean and properly taken care of. Keep your jewelry looking its best by checking the overall condition before ever putting anything on. Tarnished metal is a turn-off when it comes to chains, so a simple polish before going out will take you to some next-level shine.
Most pieces are safe to clean with mild dish soap and a soft toothbrush, but precious stones should be checked by a jeweler to ensure the settings are tight. Avoid bleach, chlorine, and acetone at all costs, and always store your jewelry in a safe place when not wearing it. For anything gold, silver, copper, or brass the Sunshine cloth is the best way to polish in a pinch and will keep the focus on the necklace, not the tarnish. Grab a Sunshine cloth here on Amazon.
When Should You Not Wear A Necklace?
Never wear a necklace when working around potentially dangerous machinery where it might easily get caught or grabbed. It's best to remove jewelry before entering a pool or hot tub as the chlorine will cause damage to the metal structure. Anything involving physical activity limits jewelry wearability and should be kept to a minimum to avoid potential loss. The same goes for any sports or other strenuous activities to avoid breaking the necklace or injuring yourself or another participant.
Other than the practical concerns of safety, try to avoid wearing necklaces when they would distract from a neckline in an outfit. Bulky sweaters, scarves, and busy patterns are usually times to focus the accessories on earrings or bracelets instead of a necklace.
How Do You Pick A Daily Necklace?
When searching for a daily necklace that's always there with you for life's adventures, first consider metal type and color. For daily durability, choose a solid type of metal, avoiding anything plated which will peel and flake off over time. Metal color is an entirely personal choice; however, most people agree that cool-toned metals like silver, platinum, or white gold tend to compliment lighter skin complexions. People with darker complexions can try warm-toned metals such as copper, brass, rose gold, or classic yellow gold as go-to options.
Try on different options to see what looks best on you, and even consider two-tone styles for a very versatile look. In addition to matching metal with your skin, also think about the color range of clothes you wear most frequently and any other jewelry you might plan to wear it with.
How Many Pieces Of Jewelry Should You Wear At One Time?
There are no set rules for jewelry, so wear as much as you desire, but it's generally best to accessorize according to your outfit and suit the occasion you are attending. Formal attire is typically more minimal and should be embellished by a ring, a watch or bracelet, a necklace, and earrings. One ring on each hand is enough and wearing many more could be considered too much for formal dress. Avoid wearing too many thin wispy necklaces together to avoid having them become tangled. Wear a single piece for dramatic emphasis, or wear a bunch for an impactful look.
Which Kind Of Necklace With Which Type Of Neckline?
Compatibility between neckline and necklace is key to set off the whole outfit's effect, so try on several combinations before you land on something that fits your mood. While looking in the mirror, first focus on how the neckline is shaping your body.
V-necks and strappy dresses draw out ta neckline's height by angling both sides down into one singular point of intersection. Use the vertical canvas created by a plunging neckline to highlight a lariat or lavalier style necklace.
Boatnecks, scoop necks, and crewnecks accentuate a neckline's fullness by referencing the horizontal plane of the shoulders. Use the wide canvas allotted by an elongated neckline to show off a graduated or plastron style piece of neckwear.
Collared and button-up shirts emphasize the torso's length when worn buttoned all the way up and can also create a focal viewing window when only partially buttoned. If wearing a shirt with the buttons fastened all the way up then a long necklace like a bolo tie will look great against the column of buttons as a background. For polos or partially buttoned-up shirts, wear shorter necklaces such as a locket, small pendant, or choker that sits higher than the bottom button.
Ultimately, there is no wrong way to wear a necklace but remembering these few tips can help you unleash your inner style for the world to see. Be sure to allow yourself some extra time when getting dressed to experiment with different necklace options to find the best match. Take good care of your jewelry and you will be styling with a smile every day!