prevent necklace-buying mistakes in less than 3 minutes

Updated: 5 days ago

Does the length of a chain matter? Heck, yes. Remember your days on a swing. First, you need to be lifted and pushed. By age 8, you could pump on your own and put yourself in a swing. The chains on a swing are the right span then. You grow hips that aren't comfortable in those black leather-plastic swings, so move on before the chains become too short. I don't know what formula decides the length of a swing's chains, but the chain's reach matters.

You are now looking at a grown-up chain, jewelry. The description says 20 inches. Where will 20 inches fall? Will it show well with the top you have in mind for the necklace? Check out this illustrated guide to find out.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

The Collar, 12-13 Inches

Like a dog collar, a 12-13 necklace stays on the neck and looks adorable. This length will show with just about any shirt.

12-13" Collar.

Photo by Andi Rieger on Unsplash

The Choker, 14-16 Inches

A choker lies off the neck but rests above the clavicle. The darling look on the girl below combines a Collar and a Choker with a pendant. The pendant helps keep the choker outside of her t-shirt and visible.

Both a 12-13: collar and a 14-16" choker.

Photo by Jamie Brown on Unsplash

15-Inch Chain worn as a Bracelet

For something different, wear your choker-length necklace as a bracelet. It will wrap your wrist twice, doubling its impact. This bracelet on the left is actually a handmade natural stone necklace from nape and

18-inch Chains

Collared shirts or jackets play nicely with a necklace that is 18 inches, a length that is almost always visible. A regular t-shirt neckline bickers with 18-inch chains. You may find your pendant flipped up or inside your shirt. T-shirt collars should hang low: wear a t-shirt with a v-neck or u-neck. Or borrow from your boyfriend or husband (or son!).

Left: Photo by on Unsplash

Center: Photo by Aiony Haust on Unsplash

Right: Photo by Tommy van Kessel on Unsplash

20- to 22-inch Necklaces

At twenty inches, a chain is long enough to hang out on top of a shirt with a flat collar. V-necks frame 20-inchers nicely. Wear those blouses and button-downs with this length. You don't need to show cleavage to display 20-inch-long beads.

Left: Photo by Tikkho Maciel on Unsplash

Right: Photo by Guillaume Bleyer on Unsplash

Photo by Alex Avalos on Unsplash

21-Inch Strand Worn as a Bracelet

One of the most versatile necklace lengths, a 21-inch strand wraps a wrist three times. This is the Avalanche Lake natural stone necklace from in a 21" length.

A 24-inch chain will generally hang at the center of your bust line.

Forget button-downs unless you are feeling extra sexy. The simple t-shirt below is a charming and fresh look.

Photo by Dillon Kydd on Unsplash

A 36+ inch chain: half-way between bustline and belly button.

A three-footer (or more) adds a flower-child vibe. These long strands can hang up on boobs. One solution is a pendant to weigh the chain through your cleavage. This length is perfect for layering, either with a collar, like the picture below, or a 20-inch companion. Or 22- and 18-inch group. Don't be afraid of multiple pendants.

Photo by Blake Cheek on Unsplash

36-Inch Strands Worn as a Bracelet

Get a luxurious 5 wraps from 36-inch beads. It's a look that is hard to forget. Left and below, Phantom Ranch Wrap Bracelet and Necklace from nape and

36-inch strands can be worn doubled as a necklace.

36-Inch strands can be worn as a double 18" necklace.

A Printable Chart to Help with Necklace Length Choices

That's the scoop on necklaces length and your wardrobe. Before you buy, consider what you plan on wearing with your beads. Below is a handy guide to download and print.