Awkward Necklaces

“Necklaces should always be chosen with the neckline you’ll be wearing in mind. ” Thus I concluded my blog post in September 2013, ” Necklines & Necklaces:  The Issue When Everything Is the Same Perfect Length.”

A spate of recent examples in the fashion press of necklaces not chosen to coordinate with necklines prompts my post today.

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A pair of examples derive from the same fashion spread in the March 2015 issue of More magazine. The first example pairs a thin rigid collar necklace with a drop, visually creating a Y-shape, with an overly large knit tee shirt that looks to be puckering rather than lying flat. The necklace hangs awkwardly over the neckline of the tee, further drawing attention to the problematic neckline. The top was not chosen with consideration for the necklace or the model. In my opinion, the necklace is also too delicate a design for the model, who is tall and has strong features.

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A substantial necklace more flattering to the model appears in the second photo, but again here, the neckline of the ensemble clashes with the necklace. The necklace, with its rigid chunky lattice design, is placed over the vee shape of the neckline, creating a jarring visual effect. The lovely flowing lines of the ensemble would be much better served with a long pendant necklace, which would extend the vee of the neckline.

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My final example is modeled by actress Kelly Ripa, whose necklace dips to meet the neckline of her camisole in this photo from the March 2015 issue of Shape magazine. The necklace is just about at the sweet spot of her first balance point, as is her neckline. The result: a visual clash. The necklace looks droopy, not an adjective that any woman of a certain age wants to embrace. Shortening the necklace a couple of inches, or choosing a different necklace at a shorter collar length, would make all the difference.

When Necklaces & Necklines Clash

Some garments are especially tricky to accessorize, as they are so full of eye-catching details that they demand the full attention of the eye. The drawstring neck of a hippie Boho-style dress from Saint Laurent by Hedi Slimane is such a garment.

On the cover of the April 2013 issue of Marie Claire magazine, actress Olivia Wilde wears this dress, the drawstrings tied loosely and the front of the dress open low. Despite all there is to see with this decidedly sexy dress, the stylists for the magazine chose to add two necklaces – a short pendant necklace from Eva Fehren that lays above the neckline of the dress, and a chain with a much larger starburst-shaped pendant from H. Stern.

The starburst pendant is lovely, but it extends several inches under the neckline of the dress and is hidden under the drawstrings. The placement of the pendant makes no sense. It distracts from the dress and yet itself is unable to be appreciated fully as it is half-hidden. And the dress needs no help drawing attention to Wilde’s figure.

The shorter necklace is lovely too, but it is simply too small to contribute any kind of visual impact to Wilde’s look.

When choosing a necklace, always give consideration to the neckline of the garment with which the necklace will be worn. If the neckline is particularly detailed and eye-catching, the best choice may well be to forego any type of necklace. A cocktail-size ring or a set of rings, the latter a popular choice this season, would be a superb substitution.

Too Covered Up: How Alterations Can Make All the Difference

In People  magazine’s “StyleWatch” in its June 4, 2012 issue, pretty lace dresses are featured as the best looks of the week.  Seeing dresses side-by-side provides an opportunity to consider the pluses and minuses of a particular look.

As much as I love Valentino, that designer’s red lace dress worn by Kim Kardashian falls short when compared with the similar Diane von Furstenberg white lace dress worn by Jordin Sparks. The red dress is not optimally flattering to Kardashian. The very covered-up design of the dress is almost certainly meant to tone down the sexiness of sheer red lace worn over a light slip. The demure design details, however, go too far.

Kardashian’s delicate face looks out of sync with the expanse of red lace below it. A wider neckline, such as that on  Sparks’ dress or on the very different style BCBG Max Azria dress worn by Kristen Stewart, would make the bodice of the red dress look less blocky.  The neckline need not dip low to accomplish a dramatic difference in effect.

Raising the sleeves to elbow or three-quarters length, as seen on Sparks’ dress, or making the dress entirely sleeveless, like Stewart’s, would also substantially reduce the blocky effect of the Valentino. Showing all or a portion of the arms visually enforces the hourglass shape.

The length of the red dress is demure, to be sure, but because the skirt tapers, it also allows the dress enough length to emphasize the hourglass shape of the wearer. Raising the hem by an inch or two would also be flattering. So too would exchanging the ankle-wrap strappy sandals for pumps such as those worn by Stewart. The ankle-wrap visually shortens Kardashian’s legs.

The ensembles worn by Hollywood’s darlings often go too far in exposing too much, but here’s an example where a look is too covered. up. A few alterations and a change of shoes would make all the difference.