When shopping for clothing, we all want one thing"¦ pieces that make us look our best. While most of us search for just the right color or material, choosing clothing with a complementary neckline may be one of the most important features to find. Necklines add proportion, accentuate features and convey personality. The wrong choices made, appear to add years and pounds. Here are some tips to help you find the right neckline that frames your face, flatters your figure and makes you smile.
The first step in picking an attractive neckline is assessing the shape of your face. An oval, well-proportioned face can wear most neckline styles. "It's all about proportions, balance and lines," says Papillon Rouge manager Sarah Insall. Use necklines to balance your facial features. "Vertical lines elongate you and make you look thinner, while horizontal lines add width," she says.
When choosing a neckline, it is helpful to know the lingo. Here are some common neckline styles.
Crew neck: common high-cut, T-shirt neckline.
Scoop neck: popular style featuring a deep scoop-shaped neckline while covering shoulders.
V-neck: covering the shoulders and dipping to a "V" in the front.
Cowl and funnel neck: much like the turtleneck but looser and wider creating a softer look.
Turtleneck: neckline with a long collar, folded below the chin.
Boat neck or bateau: neckline crossing the collarbone in a horizontal line extending to the shoulder.
Jewel: encircling the neck, this tailored look serves as a backdrop for jewelry.
Square: pointed corners of this neckline show more skin than the rounder styles.
Sweetheart: the shape mimicking a graphic heart with rounded neckline dipping in the middle.
Necklines not only balance your face, but also your body shape. Larger-framed women should strive for vertical necklines like V-necks (including oxford shirts), scoop and sweetheart. Smaller-framed and petite women, looking for a balance, should choose crewneck, bateau and jewel necklines, as they appear to add width. Women of moderate build and bust can wear most necklines.
One of the most popular and appealing neckline is the scoop neck. "It's a neckline that anyone can wear," says Hollina Hickey, sales associate at Ashland's Earthly Goods. "I would stick with higher necklines for women with smaller busts and a little lower for women with more." This open cut is complementary and serves to balance wide frames and petites. Tall, slim women, with many neckline options, should avoid scoop necks as they may make them appear narrower.
And women with longer, thin faces should use care when choosing v-necks due to their vertical component. Some face shapes may not need narrowing.
Wear the v-neck's older cousin, the plunging neckline, only if you have good skin, a toned upper body and an appropriate event. "I've seen some extremes in recent fashion. Wearing a very low "V" with a collared jacket is a good option for not showing too much," says Hickey.
The boat neck or bateau is another elegant choice. Crossing from shoulder to shoulder in a straight line, Hickey recommends this look on women with narrow faces and long necks. It accentuates the neckline, which, reminds Hickey, is a very flattering part of the body. Also, the boxy nature of these tops balances the proportions of pear-shaped women.
No matter your size, shape or budget, there are necklines suited to you and your face type. Since every figure is different, these are just guidelines. Try some novel necklines until you find a few that work for you. And forget the cosmetic surgery. The right neckline with the right face type may do the trick for a lot less money.