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Five Tips on How to Layer Necklaces

Updated: Nov 14, 2023

I’m not one who particularly likes to follow trends, mainly because they come and go so quickly that by the time I’ve gotten used to a trend and actually started liking it, it’s whooshed past and I’m already un-trendy.

It’s when a trend lasts several years that I start paying attention. That’s when I know that it’s not going to be part of the fast fashion craze, and might move towards becoming an enduring style.

Layering necklaces has been all the rage for a while now, and it appears to be a trend that’s here to stay, so I’m totally on board with it. Layering is nothing more than wearing multiple necklaces at the same time, and it’s a fabulous way to add a touch of casual elegance to your look. What I love most about it, is that layering is perfect for making you feel like yourself. So here are my five top tips on how to layer necklaces to get the best effect.

1. Choose the right style of necklace

Not every necklace is right for layering. I, for one, would never layer a big bib necklace. It would either clash with or overshadow anything else round your neck. So when you’re choosing which necklaces to layer, make sure that they’re compatible in their visual weight. Don’t make one necklace hugely weightier than the others.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t have a focal point. You absolutely can have a focal point; just make sure it’s a point and not a blob. The idea is to add interest, not to give people a visual smack. Try layering delicate chains together, or mid-weight strands together. This will add variety without the overwhelm.

I also like to consider the neckline of what I'm wearing, although I reckon most people don't. If the shape of your necklaces reflects your neckline, I think it adds a little extra something. A pendant piece looks great if you're wearing a V-neck or something with a collar. But this is just a personal preference; I'm not sure how many others feel the same way as me..

2. Think about how many

I don’t want to be prescriptive, but if you’re new to layering, start with three necklaces. It’s the perfect number to give variety without having too much to deal with. But ultimately it’s up to you and your personal taste. The more the number of necklaces, the greater the statement you’re likely to make. I like three because that’s enough to allow me to create lots of variations and create a multitude of looks.

Being a maths geek, I can’t resist telling you that if you have 7 necklaces, and you want to layer them 3 at a time, you can get 35 combinations. Whoa! Now not all the combinations will look good, but you get the drift. And if you want to know how I got there, check out the NCR formula here. You’d have learnt it in school - you’ll remember it when you see it.

3. Make sure you mix up the lengths

Maybe I should have put this up at the top because it’s so important. Having necklaces of slightly different lengths allows each individual necklace to show itself off and have its moment in the limelight.

When you’re buying necklaces that you might want to use for layering, it helps if they are adjustable in length. This will allow you to make the same necklace the shortest one today, and maybe the mid-length one tomorrow.

Choosing different lengths will also stop the necklaces from tangling. Look at the combination in the photo at the top. I’ve been wearing that 24/7 for the past three weeks or so, and it has rarely gotten tangled. They do sometimes get a bit mixed up at the back of my neck, but nothing that I can’t sort out quickly enough. What you don’t want is a jumble of necklaces at the end of the day, and have to spend twenty minutes sorting them out. That kind of dampens the fun a bit.

4. Think about colours and textures

This is where the fun really starts to take shape. You can either go either with a colour theme or The combinations can be endless, but here are some ideas for you:

Keep it simple - Choose different types of chains and wear each one at a different length, and you’ve got a beautiful, elegant look to face the day with. You can even mix metals to add a little something extra if the mood takes you.

Make it like a movie – choose a star piece and let the other necklaces be the supporting actors. Maybe pick a gemstone necklace like the one shown below, and wear a couple of chains with it to complete the look. And guess what? The star of the show doesn’t even have to be big and jazzy to make an impact.

Pick a Pendant Necklace – choose a coloured gemstone pendant to go along with a chain or two, and you have a whole new look. Don't you think that the satellite chain with the little pendant below looks charming? I haven't even gone with the usual three and it still has enough interesting features to catch the eye.

Or choose a pendant with a matching gemstone necklace and a dainty chain like the one shown at the top to make a fab combination. There's a world of possibilities out there.

5. Break every rule

Hmmm. Maybe I should have put this one at the top. The whole point of layering necklaces is to show your personality. So everything I’ve said here are only guidelines. If you feel like it, ignore me completely and just let you be you. Nobody’s going to put a noose round your neck if you wear a big bib necklace with a fine chain. You don’t have to stick with three necklaces – wear two to keep it even simpler, or go crazy and wear lots.

When it comes to making jewellery, there are lots of little rules – after all, it’s a mix of chemistry, physics and artistry. But when it comes to wearing jewellery, there’s only one rule: There are no rules.

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