If your neck is more like a turtle’s than a swan’s, then you know the challenges that come with having a short or wide neck. Of course, aging doesn’t help either. A shrinking spine, extra weight, sagging skin, and a double chin can make an already short neck almost disappear, as well as make you look, generally, heavier overall.
Fortunately, there are lots of dressing tricks to camouflage a short neck. Here’s what to wear and what to steer clear of to stretch things out.
– Necklines –
Wear a V-neckline
If you want your neck to look longer and your body to look slimmer, you need to open your neckline. The more space you create around and below your neck, the longer your neck will appear. A V-neckline top is the most slenderizing. The downward-pointing neckline draws the eye lower and away from your short/wide neck and/or double chin, giving the illusion that the neck is longer.
Try an open shirt
You wouldn’t think that a shirt with a high collar would be flattering on a short/wide neck, but it is, so long as you unbutton your shirt and open it up. This creates that same V shape that is so flattering. The blue satin blouse, below, is a great example of that.
Opt for off-the-shoulder
Another great neckline choice for shorter necks is the off-the-shoulder neckline. This neckline creates a lot of space around your shoulders and neck, bringing the line of your neck down to your shoulders. This illusion works by making your neck appear to start much lower than it actually does. Just be sure not to clutter the area with chunky jewelry lest you negate the effect.
As for tops to avoid when you have a short neck, a turtleneck is a definite no-go. The whole point of a turtleneck is to draw focus to the neck, so if you have a short or wide neck wearing a turtleneck can make it look even bigger. If you have a double chin, a turtleneck will only push extra skin forward, making you look even more jowly. If you want to wear a turtleneck, try a mock neck or, a cowl neck instead, which are softer and sit lower down the neck.
The same goes for other high neck tops like pussy-bow blouses, high ruffles around the neck, and even polo shirts, crewnecks, and boatneck tops. These will swallow up your neck and make your neck look squat.
– Jewelry –
Wear stud earrings
Earrings are a good way to draw attention higher and up away from your neck. Cluster or stud earrings are best since long dangly earrings will shorten the visual distance between your earrings and your chest, making your neck look shorter and wider.
Wear long necklaces
Just as an open or long neckline will flatter a shorter neck, so will a long necklace. The vertical line of a long chain will give you an instant lengthening effect. Whether you are wearing a higher or closed-off neckline or open neckline, wearing it with a long necklace will enhance the illusion of a longer neck.
Of course, the very opposite of a long necklace is a choker. A choker is the worst type of necklace you can wear since it sits at the middle of your neck, cutting it in two.
Steer clear of short statement necklaces
Short statement necklaces are pretty, but they are typically big, chunky, and short and do not flatter a short/neck. Instead, they emphasize it. If you want to wear a statement necklace, you can. Just pick one that hangs lower near your chest to draw the eye down.
Embellished necklines can help.
One of the more subtle ways to flatter a wide or short neck is to wear a dress or top detailing around the V-neck or open neckline. Embellishments like beading or embroidery, crochet, beading interesting cutouts like a keyhole neckline eliminate the need for jewelry and pull the eye down to your lower neckline bringing balance to a squat neck. Just make sure the detailing isn’t too high up, as this can have the opposite effect.
– Accessories –
Avoid stiff, high scarves.
Like chokers or turtlenecks, a scarf worn high on the neck will visually compress the look of a shorter neck. This doesn’t mean you can’t wear a scarf. You need to wear a softer, looser scarf, that hangs down and away from your neck.
Get the Right Hairstyle
The right hairstyle can also help make a difference when you have a short neck. Again you want to increase the visual difference between the head and shoulders, so you want to open up the neck area. A bob with an undercut that angles forward with tapered ends is a great cut.
For shoulder-length hair, layers that start just below the chin will make your face and neck look narrower. Side-swept bangs can also make a short neck look longer. If you like to wear your hair long, try an updo or a ponytail.
Having a short/wide neck may feel limiting but by creating a balancing act with your clothing necklines, jewelry, accessories, and hairstyle, you can fake a longer, more elegant neck and a slimmer body too!
Style Tip – How to Know if You Have a Short Neck?
Not sure if you have a short neck? Wrap your hand around your neck, starting at the base of your neck. How many fingers, not including your thumb, does it take to fill up the space between the base of your neck and under your chin? If you can fill the space with 4 fingers, you have an average width neck. If you have extra space left over under your chin, you have a long neck.
If you can only get three fingers or less to fit into the space between the base of your neck and under your chin, then you have a short neck. Be sure to use your own hand when you try this. It will not work if you use someone else’s hand as the proportions will be off.