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How To Style Necklaces And Turtlenecks Without Looking Weird

Rahi Chadda, Pearl Mackie and Natasha Lyonne have all layered necklaces over turtlenecks in November.
Rahi Chadda, Pearl Mackie and Natasha Lyonne have all layered necklaces over turtlenecks in November.

Rahi Chadda, Pearl Mackie and Natasha Lyonne have all layered necklaces over turtlenecks in November.

Y2K trends may be back, but that doesn’t mean you want to look dated. That can easily happen when you wear a necklace on top of a turtleneck and start drawing comparisons to ’90s-era Dwayne Johnson in his black turtleneck with the gold chain.

“It’s an art to layer the right necklaces,” stylist Julie Kraus told HuffPost. “I think the average person sort of gets confused when it comes to how to do that and then when you double it with having a turtleneck, I think it can be a little bit confusing.”

Cassandra Sethi, a personal stylist at Next Level Wardrobe, suggested thinking of a turtleneck “as a blank canvas to play with whatever type of jewelry that you’re drawn to.” While Sethi said “there are no hard rules when it comes to the type of jewelry that you wear with a turtleneck,” the experts offer some guidance on how to wear necklaces with turtlenecks.

First of all, always wear your necklace around your turtleneck, not dangling over it.

Skip draping any necklaces over the turtleneck to keep things current. “I prefer to see necklaces worn around the turtleneck versus draping over the neckline,” said stylist Danielle Cafiero. “Necklaces peeking out of a turtleneck remind me too much of the ’80s!”

This also allows you to create the illusion of a neckline.

“It’s a lot harder to pull off when it’s high up next to where the turtleneck comes,” Kraus said. “I typically prefer when they’re sort of cascading down to almost cheat the neckline and they can frame the face. If you [dangle it], it’s just so much in the face that it can feel unbalanced. It’s very busy when it’s so much up near the neckline.”

Consider the weight of your fabric

“The thicker the sweater, the less versatility that you’ll have with necklaces,” Sethi said. “The thicker the sweater gets, the impact of the necklace may get lost or hidden by the texture of the sweater.”

Kraus agreed that a lightweight sweater makes it easier to pull off a necklace and even layer multiple chains. “Having a chunky layering effect can be really pretty if the focal point of the outfit and the rest of the outfit is a little more plain,” she said.

However, “I wouldn’t shy away from a slouchy turtleneck knit with a long thin pendant necklace,” Cafiero told HuffPost.

Cynthia Erivo masters the art of layering necklaces over a turtleneck in New York on Nov. 07.
Cynthia Erivo masters the art of layering necklaces over a turtleneck in New York on Nov. 07.

Cynthia Erivo masters the art of layering necklaces over a turtleneck in New York on Nov. 07.

Layer your necklaces to add depth

When it comes to layering, Cafiero recommended opting for “delicate strands of the same metal in varying lengths” and then adding “a thicker pendant or charm necklace.” 

Kraus believes you can mix metals, “as long as that’s sort of spread out in the rest of the jewelry as well. Just make sure they’re sort of chunky and have nice weight to them,” she added. “Right now, having just one simple little chain is not the focal point when it comes to accessorizing.”

Try a three-piece chain set or pendants with fun charms.

Pay attention to necklace length and weight

To avoid looking like Carmela Soprano or Kristin Wiig’s Surprise Lady character from ”Saturday Night Live,” you want the chain to fall at least 3 inches below the neck, according to Kraus.  

Sethi thinks you can do anything from a 16-inch chain all the way up to 30 inches. (See Andy Sachs’spost-transformation lookin ”The Devil Wears Prada” for inspiration on pulling off a longer chain.)

While statement necklaces remain popular, you don’t need to dig your J.Crew bauble necklaces out of your closet. “When you think about pairing a statement necklace with a turtleneck, that would not be the type of statement necklace that you would see. It’s not very current at the moment,” Kraus said. “It would be more of a pendant.”

Consider your bone structure

Kraus believes the thickness of a chain can also depend on a person’s bone structure.

“Someone who has a more dainty bone structure, it’s going to create more harmony with them when they don’t have this huge chain,” she explained. “If you think about someone who’s small boned, really petite, if they’re wearing something that’s really thick and really heavy, it doesn’t quite harmonize with them. Someone who has softer features is going to want to pair softer features within the accessories that they’re wearing as opposed to really sharp edges.”

On the other hand, someone with really prominent bone structure can pull off a thicker chain. Kraus reiterated that you should always stay away from “very delicate” chains, and choose ones that are half an inch to one inch in thickness.

Consider the entire look

When it comes to turtlenecks, Cafiero likes layering the entire look. “The mesh of materials and metals will add depth and interest to an otherwise flat look,” she said. “Adding pieces like loose button-downs, chunky knits, boyfriend blazers, oversize leather jackets and trenches will immediately update an otherwise basic look.” 

The turtleneck simply serves as the base to the outfit. 

“Remember it’s not just about your turtleneck and necklace but your entire look,” Sethi said. “Your bottoms, shoes, accessories, how you style your hair and makeup ... the whole look is what makes you stylish, not one specific piece, so be sure to pay close attention to the whole thing.”

Don’t force it

Don’t force the necklace-turtleneck combo if it doesn’t seem to be working. Instead, pivot to bold earring and necklace choices.

“When in doubt, go for an earring and some kind of chunky bracelet as opposed to trying to make the necklaces work,” Kraus said. “That way there’s no confusion around the neck, but the attention goes more to the accessories that are on the arm and up towards the face as opposed to competing with the neckline of the turtleneck.” 

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