The right neckline can take pounds off your frame, elongate or shorten your neck/torso, and also help fill out a small chest. In short, the right neckline can be a quick-fix to our common body figure-issues! And this is a big bonus if you want to look your best on your wedding day or for any special occasion that may just be around the corner 🙂
So how do you know what neckline looks good on you?
Your body figure can determine what neckline to choose but in my opinion, the size/shape of the area around your chest such as face is of greater importance.
In general, there 3 pointers to keep in mind when buying a top, shirt, swimsuit or dress:
- Your Bust Size
- Your Face Shape & Neck Length
- Your Body Shape
… When in doubt, select a regular V-neck or scoop neck that isn’t too low and ends right above the dip of your cleavage – they’re universally flattering! 🙂
Let me explain in details how to choose a neckline based on these 3 pointers:
1. Your Bust Size
Your choice of neckline can either emphasize or downplay your chest size. It can make a small chest look bigger or slim down a large bust.
Because of your slim chest, higher necklines such as boat necks (also called ‘Bateau’) and crewnecks work better on you. You might also like cowlnecks – the draping helps “plump” up your babies.
However, if you have a short torso or/and are 5’4 or shorter, you’ll look best with lowish V-necks and scoop necks because they raise and elongate your petite silhouette. If your small chest size is not an issue, then choose whichever neckline you prefer or simply wear a push-up bra 😉
Here are some details that will make your bust look bigger:
Gathering, pleats, knots, twists and/or ruching at the bodice
Bust-enhancing necklines such as sweetheart and bustier
You may need a lower neckline but not much lower to be a safe side of getting attention to your large bust. Look for V and scoop necks that end right at the top of your cleavage.
A covered-up-style (aka high neckline) shortens your neck and can over-emphasize your chest. Also, keep in mind that this can create unflattering uni-boobs! That’s why you need a lower neckline to encourage the eye to climb up and down on your body frame.
You might also want to go for a top that has minimal details – or perhaps if you want to wear a necklace, scale the jewelry piece to your bust size.
Something in the middle (average B-cup)?
Then you’ll be able to pull off a wide variety of necklines. But you’d want to take the next two pointers (Face Shape- & Neck Length and Body Shape) into proper consideration.
2. Your Face Shape & Neck Length
A neckline can either:
- Draw the eye up and down (slimming effect), or
- Encourage the eye to move from side to side (widening effect)
Basically, low and slim necklines help trim down a full face and elongate a short-to-average neck – while a higher and wider neckline shortens a long neck and widens a narrow face.
Also keep in mind that the more skin you show around your chest thus more “open” and slimmer your face, neck and bust will appear – creating a lean, elegant silhouette.
If you’re planning on wearing earrings, necklaces, or a scarf – then these accessories alone can counter the widening/slimming effects of a neckline. This means you can wear almost any neckline you want as long as you accessorize it correctly.
However – crew necks are tricky beasts when worn alone – and accessories won’t help that much because of its high neckline (it distracts and putting on a necklace to counter this tends to clutter up your outfit). But it can work if you choose a crew neck top in a similar color to your skin tone or/and you already have a long neck.
If your face shape and neck length contradict this rule – for example, you have a short neck and a long face to go with – work on the face and neck separately with jewelry, makeup, and/or hairstyle.
3. Your Body Shape
Another important factor that can steer you in the right direction when selecting a neckline is your body shape. Why? Because the right neckline helps balance out your body figure. It can make prominent curves look slimmer (by widening your upper body so that it draws the eye away from your hips) – creating a proportional body silhouette, giving you curves in all the right places.
Determine if you have prominent shoulders and chest or vice versa. This helps you place focus on choosing a neckline that either slims or widens.
So if you feel that your shoulders are narrow (compared to your lower body), add width to them with straighter and higher necklines. Or if you’re self-conscious about your wide shoulders or bust and want to make the size difference between your lower and upper body less obvious – work with a neckline that slims, drawing the eye up and down such as a V-neck or a low scoop neck.
If your body shape is not an issue for you – focus on the two first pointers!
by Anna Villaruel
(Seoul, South Korea)