by Lisa Morris
Do not underestimate the importance of size when buying jewelry. Whether you're trying to find a necklace of appropriate length for a formal gathering, wishing to accentuate your best features, or wanting to deemphasize your flaws, you need to be armed with knowledge about how size affects the way jewelry looks. Use this guide to the terminology of jewelry size and the related tips to pick the perfect jewelry for you.
Chains and Necklaces
Necklaces range in length from collar length to 4 feet or longer. The shortest type is the choker necklace, which is usually about 14 to 16 inches long and fits snugly around your neck. Chokers draw attention to the neck, with narrower bands lengthening the appearance of the neck and wider bands minimizing height. This style works with formal and casual wear.
The princess length necklace is 17 to 19 inches long. This length is very popular because of its versatility. It goes well with anything from a low-cut to a high-neck top or dress. This necklace usually lies on the uppermost part of the bust and reaches the collarbone.
Next up is the matinee length necklace, which is generally 20 to 24 inches long and lies below the collarbone and above the bust. This length works best with a very low or very high collar. The versatility of this length allows you to go from work to play without changing your necklace.
An opera necklace ranges from 28 to 34 inches long and falls below the bust. It's a good choice if you want to elongate your torso. This length is perfect for a formal dress or gown.
The longest necklace is the rope necklace, which is more than 45 inches long. A necklace of this size is meant to be looped around the neck one or more times and is great for a posh celebration.
No matter what size necklace you choose, there are some things that you should keep in mind. If you want to look taller, choose a necklace that falls below the bustline. If you're 5 foot 7 inches tall or taller, a necklace of any length will look good on you. Long, thin necklaces will look good if you have a small bust. Women with larger busts should go with necklaces longer than 22 inches. If you have a long neck, choose a short necklace with multiple strands. Ladies with shorter necks look best in long necklaces.
Seven inches in diameter is the average bracelet size for women, but bracelets come in many styles and widths; which styles flatter you most depends on your figure. Wide cuff bracelets look best on women with larger builds, while narrow tennis bracelets work best for women with petite frames. Too much chunky jewelry can overwhelm a petite frame.
Different shaped earrings can either accentuate your face's shape or emphasize its flaws. For example, if you have a small, narrow face, stay away from large, heavy earrings. These styles can overwhelm your delicate features.
So, among the many different sizes and types of earrings — wide, narrow, small, large and long — what would look best on you?
If your face is round, look for earrings with more length than width. Dangling earrings that hit just below jaw line are particularly flattering for your face shape.
If you have a square face, look for round earrings that are longer than they are wide. They'll soften and elongate your face.
With a heart-shaped face, shop for triangular, teardrop, chandelier or circular earrings. A heart-shaped face has a small chin, and these style earrings will balance your face.
Those with an oval face will find earrings of many shapes to be flattering.
Freelance writer Lisa Morris is a jewelry enthusiast.