Choosing the Right Length for a Woman’s Necklace

Lester Fangonilo - December 25, 2021

When we find ourselves contemplating a new piece of jewelry, particularly a necklace, there are a number of factors we need to look at before heading over to our favorite jewelry store or to our jeweler of choice to pick out and buy a piece.

For the most part, the chain length is what matters the most when it comes to buying a necklace. Contrary to what some would believe, the pendant is actually quite incidental: the length and fit of the chain around one's neck is what eventually prompts someone to make a purchase. 

Take note that the average length of a woman's necklace ranges between fourteen and 22 inches. If you study the chart we presented above, you will see that the fit changes with the length, as will the chain's resting position on the wearer's body. 

In this feature, we will also present other factors that will help you choose the right necklace length for yourself or for a friend or family member. These will include the shape of your face, the size of your neck, and even your body type.


Necklace Sizing Chart

Chain Length


Position on Body



Tight, essentially a choker

Wraps around the base of the neck  or just beneath the larynx (voice box / Adam’s apple)



Depends on how your body is built.

On petite women, it may hang quite loosely; on larger women, it may feel tight

Again, dependent on how you’re built.

On petite women, it may fall just at the collarbone. On larger women, it may land at the base of the neck like a choker 

18" Necklace 


Comfortable, neither too tight nor too loose

Regardless of your build, an 18-incher will sit comfortably on the collarbone area


Comfortably loose

Falls just under the collarbone



Comfortably loose

Falls just above the bust

Choosing a Chain Length Based on the Shape of Your Face

As an accessory, women's necklaces are supposed to help frame and flatter your face. A properly chosen necklace at an appropriate length can help show off your strongest facial features and give your beauty a well-needed boost.

Rule of thumb: always choose a chain length that is the opposite of your face size, essentially pairing long chains with short and round faces and choker-style chains with those with long and narrow faces. Women who are round-face should prudently steer clear of chokers as these will only make them look rounder.

Those whose faces are a perfect oval, however, are lucky: they can wear chains of any length, width, and type and these would flatter their features quite well.

Chokers work best on women with heart-shaped faces as these can help create an illusion of fullness to mitigate the sharpness of a narrow chin. On the other hand, those with long, almost equine faces, shorter chain lengths can help soften their sharp angles, particularly those between sixteen and eighteen inches.

The Size [of Your Neck] Matters

It is prudent to make an accurate measurement of your neck prior to buying any necklace, but most particularly chokers.

The best way to do this is to take a soft/flexible tape measure and wrap it closely around your neck. Add two inches to the result, and that is essentially the proper length for a choker to fit comfortably around your neck. 

Keep in mind that the average length for a choker is usually at sixteen inches, while a necklace to be worn with a pendant or a charm spelling out your name is usually eighteen inches long. Also, chokers work best with people with long necks.

Link + Compass Set Gold by Oliver Cabell


How Tall are You?

Your height may seem like the last thing you want to think about when it comes to choosing the length of a necklace, but it actually matters as your height will help determine the right length of chain that would be flattering on you.

Rule of thumb: women under five-foot-four will look their best with chains that are between sixteen and 20 inches long. Women who are 5'4" to 5'7" can easily - and comfortably - wear necklaces of any length.

Meanwhile, statuesque women who stand at 5'7" or taller can also wear necklaces of any length, but we recommend longer chains to accentuate their stately frames.

It's All in the Way You're Built

Keep this fundamental rule in mind if you're in the market for a necklace: people's eyes tend to be drawn to the part of your body where the end of the necklace ends. In which case, if you don't want people staring at that particular area of your anatomy, then it would be best to avoid necklaces that rest on those parts.

Petite women, particularly those with a gamine or pixie-like appearance, can get a retro groove on by wearing long thin chains that swing winsomely. They may also consider layering several longer chains to create the illusion of a fuller bust.

On the other hand, full-figured women who are uncomfortable with showing off their more salient physical attributes, should avoid necklace chains that sit below the bustline. Chains of this length will not hang properly and will look awkward. Instead, they should consider chains that sit higher on their bodies: eighteen-inch and 20-inch chains would work best here as these would flatter a fuller bust and look quite elegant.