When it comes to layering your necklaces, figuring out the perfect chain length can be tricky. Our chain length chart covers universal lengths you’ll come across for women’s necklaces, pendants, and chains. However, remember that chains are not one-size-fits-all. If you’re not sure if our tips will work for you, take the time to measure your neck and see how the different chain lengths will suit you.

necklace lengths

Popular Necklace Lengths

Many necklace styles often get their name based on the chain length. They each give you a distinct look that can go from elegant to casual and stylish. Mixing different popular chain lengths is the easiest way to start layering necklaces that will create a unique look.

The Choker – 16’’ Chain

Chokers have been popular since the 1900s. They are the shortest chain length you can find, as they’re designed to lie close to the neck and give you a classic look. They’re incredibly versatile as they can go with all necklines.

The Princess – 18’’ Chain

Perhaps the most common chain length out there. They hang right below the collarbone, and they tend to go with small pendants or charms. The princess chain length is your perfect base when you want to layer your necklaces.

The Matinee – 20’’ Chain

A little longer than the princess chain, the matinee length is perfect for your focal necklace when you’re layering. It falls just a few inches below the collarbone, and it also looks excellent with pendants or charms. The matinee chain length usually hits right above the V in a V-neck, or right below if it’s a high V-neck style.

The Opera – 30’’ Chain

Dating back to the 1920s, the opera chain necklace gets its name from the women attending the opera who wore long necklaces that fell below the bust line. This is the perfect chain length to add a heavy pendant. The opera necklace can also be found in a shorter 24’’ chain.

How to Measure Chain Length

The simplest way to measure your ideal chain length is by using an existing necklace and a tape measure. If you don’t have an existing chain you want to measure, then use a string or ribbon to find out what works best for you. Use a mirror while doing this to make the process more comfortable. Play with the different lengths and styles to find the perfect chain length for you.

How to Style Your Necklaces

Once you’ve chosen the right necklace to wear, you want to make sure you style it correctly. Specific chain lengths will look better with certain necklines than others. If you don’t know where to start, here’s a quick guide on how to style your necklaces based on their chain length.

Styling a Choker Chain: This chain length lays close against the neck, match it with off the shoulder tops or boat necklines.

Styling a Princess Chain: This chain sits right on the collarbone. Also considered the standard chain length, you can wear this with V-necks or a sweetheart neckline to make it stand out.

Styling a Matinee Chain: This length sits between the collarbone and the bust. Perfect for business or casual wear, you can wear this with higher necklines or over collared shirts.

Styling an Opera Chain: This length sits by the bust or a few inches below. They’re incredibly versatile, but wearing them with turtle necks or boat necks will make them stand out more. You can also wrap them around the neck to create a half choker, half opera necklace that goes well with almost anything.

Once you get familiar with the different chain lengths, you can start playing with your layering techniques to create the final layered necklace look.