Look into your wardrobe: You’ll probably realise that you have tops and dresses with different necklines. Necklines play a pivotal role—they draw attention to your face, create balanced proportions and make or break your overall look, either making you appear elegant and flattering, or sloppy and messy.
From the round neck to cowl neck, we bring you through 12 different kinds of necklines and who they’re best for.
The most common neckline in the market, and usually found on items such as T-shirts and tops, this classic design is great for people who are less busty (the scoop emphasises the area), have a slender neck (it accentuates this) and have wider shoulders. Pieces with a round neck have the tendency to frame the face, so people who are conscious of their facial size might want to give this a miss.
Try: Uniqlo x J.W. Anderson asymmetric hem short sleeve dress, $49.90
Part of JW Anderson’s third and latest collaboration with Uniqlo, this red T-shirt dress might be simple at the top, but we love the cute asymmetric hem. Great for casual Fridays with a blazer or with sneakers for a weekend bubbly lunch with the girlfriends.
As the name suggests, this neckline bears one of your shoulders, sometimes cutting below your shoulder or collarbone. This is best for those who want to showcase the bust area, or for people who have narrow shoulders. The cut gives one’s shoulders a broader look.
Try: Zara knit top with asymmetric neckline, $49.90
Remember the classic scene in Mean Girls where Regina George (played by Rachel McAdams) was watching the school descend into chaos with her arms smugly crossed? She was wearing a skintight off-shoulder black top with denim jeans then. Take a leaf out of her book, but go for one with an asymmetric neckline for an updated and chic look.
Another obvious one, V-necklines are shaped like the letter V and go down towards the chest area, accentuating the cleavage. There are two versions: A subtle one that ends mid-breast, and a plunging alternative that extends below the boobs.
Tip: V-necklines are generally flattering for people with wider shoulders and torsos, because they help balance out broad shoulders and thick torsos. They also help to lengthen shorter necks as they direct the eyes towards the centre of the body. Those who are smaller busted should stay on the high side, while those with larger chests can go for deeper Vs. If you’re going for the plunge, ensure that they don’t make your breasts look sagged.
Try: Bershka v-neck t-shirt, $29.90
A simple v-neck white top like this Bershka number is a wardrobe staple, as you can easily throw this on with a pair of cigarette pants for work. Pair with pointy heels to round up the look.
This Bardot style draws the eye up and makes your collarbone and shoulders pop. It’s romantic, flirty and feminine, although it isn’t so great for people who have broad shoulders. This is better suited for those who are petite and athletic, and who have a small to medium bust. It also helps to balance out a pear-shaped body type.
Try: Pull & Bear join life bardot neckline sweater, $55.90
In a neutral and versatile slate grey, layer a delicate necklace over this slouchy Bardot sweater and finish with a pair of high-waisted jeans and boots for a cozy movie night look.
Nautical inspired, the boat neckline can be thought of as a wider version of a round neck and extends just below the collarbone. Great for making narrow shoulders look broad, the bateau can also help balance a thicker waist or hip and a smaller chest area.
Try: H&M scallop-trimmed blouse, $29.95
Spice up your work ensembles with this flaming-red number that comes with a boat neckline, scalloped trim sleeves and scalloped hem. Pair with either deep blue or black trousers.
Halternecks are easily identified by the straps that wrap around the base of the neck. Such tops expose the shoulders and parts of the décolletage, making them perfectly suited for those who have an hourglass figure and toned arms and shoulders. However, those with apple shape body type should avoid them as they will make you look even more full-figured.
Try: Topshop raya halter vest, $13.90
Channel athleisure vibes by pairing this Topshop halterneck top with your favourite pair of jeggings or tights and sneakers.
7. Halter Strap
Unlike halternecks, which have straps that wrap around the neck and cover the chest, halter straps go behind the neck and exposes the cleavage while keeping the shoulders exposed.
Try: Zara crop top, $39.90
This simple black halter strap number is pure simplicity. Throw in on with a pair of high-waisted jeans for a casual brunch date look, or cover it up with a blazer for a sexy yet professional finish.
A favourite amongst brides, the sweetheart neckline is much like the shape of a heart, with a dip in the middle of your bust and rounding upwards towards the shoulders. This silhouette is great for showing off your collarbone and creates a longer, leaner effect by elongating the neck and chest area. It also adds balance to the overall silhouette.
Try: H&M puff-sleeve blouse, $34.95
Show off what a sweetheart you are with this floral top with balloon sleeves from H&M. Pair with jeans and sneakers for the weekends or tailored pants and heels for work.
People with longer necks would look great in high and turtlenecks because it frames the face while hiding the length. Similarly, a person with a longer face would find this style flattering.
Try: Mango chunky-knit sweater, $89.90
This sweater is a chic way to stay warm in a freezing office while not compromising on style points. Wear over a slinky slip dress and pair with strappy heels, or French tuck into a mini skirt for a preppy finish.
Whether it is held on with a fitted bodice or elasticated bands, tube tops and strapless dresses highlights your entire upper body area, allowing you to flaunt your shoulders and décolleté. People with wider shoulders might not like this silhouette, while bigger chested girls will need a strapless bra with strong support to avoid any mishaps. Great for those with narrow shoulders and slim toned arms.
Try: Topshop strapless playsuit by Love, $89.90
Need a weekend date outfit? Pair this effortless Topshop strapless playsuit with a pair of mules and a crossbody and you’re good to go for a flirty, romantic day.
Cowl necks can be distinguished by their draped fabric around the neck, and can be as tight as a round neck or as loose as a V-neck. People with a larger bust should opt for the former to prevent too much weight at the chest. Those with a smaller bust can opt for thicker folds to add depth to your silhouette. However, if you have a bigger facial structure, a tighter drape can risk over-emphasising the face much like a round neck.
Try: Mango towel fabric dress, $59.90
This clean white number from Mango features a casual drape and is great for laidback meals. Wear it simply with just earrings, or put on a statement belt and black strappy heels to give it extra panache.
Collared necklines have two different silhouettes. When fully buttoned, the silhouette is similar to that of a round neck. When unbuttoned, the exposure of the décolleté and cleavage will make it vary between a shallow to plunge V-neck.
Try: Zara oversized shirt with gold buttons, $69.90
Juxtapose the slouchy quality of this Zara oversized shirt with a sleek pencil skirt for work, or you can even wear it over a bikini to the beach.
Text: Ho Guo Xiong