Chains are an impactful way to add an edge to your outfit. Two or three necklaces worn at once can level up any ensemble, but it takes practice to learn how to neck mess your chains. While there are no hard and fast rules, the key to necklace layering is picking the right chain lengths and weights for your height. The shortest and thinnest chain typically sits on or just below your collarbone. Artfully arranged and stacked, the layered trend is a versatile way to wear your favorite necklaces and showcase your individuality.
Whether you want to add some spice to your look or create a necklace stack with your most expensive chain front and center, our foolproof tricks can help you rock the layered look like a pro.
1. Vary the Chain Thickness and Style
Layering chains is all about creating visual interest and adding texture to an outfit. But you need to be intentional about adding necklaces to your ensemble. Simply adding several delicate chains in a similar style won’t elevate your look. However, varying the type and width of the chains creates a dynamic statement.
Men’s necklaces are available in numerous thicknesses, from ultra-fine 2mm chains to chunky 13mm models, but the width can be emphasized or understated depending on the necklace style. Franco chains with their tightly nestled V-shaped links and flat Mariner chains appear sleeker than bolder Curb or Cuban link chains.
Chunkier chains are best worn in short lengths, higher up on the body to avoid appearing too bulky or dragging the outfit down. Finer chains are ideal for displaying pendants, as the chain pattern won’t distract from the ornament’s design.
2. Consider the Chain Lengths
Men’s neck chains come in a huge range of lengths from 20″-30″. Shorter chains sit at or just below the collarbone, while longer chains typically hit you in the middle of the chest. Short chains are more visible, making them the ideal choice for a pendant or an iced-out chain that you want to showcase. Long chains visually elongate your neck, giving you a sleeker profile. Avoid chains shorter than 18″, as these tend to make you look shorter.
Never wear necklaces of the same length when layering because it appears unpolished. Choose necklaces that vary by at least 2″ in length. For example, if you are wearing a 20″ chain, layer with a 22″ chain underneath. By wearing neck chains in different lengths, you create a cascading effect that allows each piece to stand out. It can also prevent the chains from tangling or rubbing against each other and damaging the finish.
3. Follow the Rule of Three
We process visual information as patterns, and studies show that odd-numbered patterns are more cognitively pleasing than even numbers. You can use this strategy to create a more interesting outfit by layering your necklaces in odd-numbered groups.
Three necklaces are ideal, as five or seven can appear overwhelming and excessively flamboyant. However, depending on the thickness of the chain, the chain style, and whether you are also wearing a pendant, five necklaces can work, although you may need to reduce the distance between each chain.
4. Combine Mixed Metals
While once considered a fashion faux pas, mixing metals is a modern way to inject some character into your outfit. Layering necklaces enables you to take advantage of this trend; however, ensure you choose metals that complement your skin tone.
A rose gold, copper, or yellow gold chain for men works perfectly with warmer skin tones with undertones of peach or olive. White gold or platinum chains are better suited to cooler skin tones with red, pink, or blue undertones. Wear the chain that suits your skin tone highest on your body, so it is closest to your face and neck, and then layer chains in other metals farther down.
Source: Alexander Image/Shutterstock.com
5. Add a Pendant
Pendants personalize your chains and let you express your interests, religious affiliations or help you commemorate a loved one or special occasion. They also weigh down your necklace, allowing it to sit better on your body, which is crucial to preventing layered necklaces from tangling or snagging.
When adding a pendant to a layered look, you need to be strategic about placement. Though pendants often look best when worn with longer chains, depending on the pendant and chain length, an oversized pendant can cause the necklace to sit too low on the body, creating an imbalance. Use smaller, lighter pendants for chains over 22″ and bigger, blinged-out pendants for chains 18″-22″ long. This positioning also ensures your flashier pendants take center stage.
Source: Yulia Naumovich/ Shutterstock.com
6. Wear the Right Neckline
Chains can transform an outfit from bland to banging, but you need to consider your neckline carefully to ensure your necklace doesn’t get lost among the fabric. Wear longer necklaces with a pendant over a V-neck so that the chain follows the line of the V. Mid-length and long necklaces also work well with a loose crew neck t-shirt, while shorter chains are ideal for wearing over a turtleneck.
You can even wear layered necklaces with tailored looks. Wear your button-down with an open collar and opt for two to three delicate chains approximately 4-6mm thick that sit just at the collarbone and show through the neckline. Or, go for a retro 80s vibe and wear your shirt buttoned to the top with a chunky Cuban or Franco chain and pendant over the top. Grandfather and concealed button shirts work best with this look.
7. Match Your Accessories
While mixing metals can be an excellent way to elevate your look, for corporate wear and formal occasions you need more cohesive and conservative attire. However, this doesn’t mean you need to forgo the necklace layering trend.
When you need a more understated look, match your necklaces with your other accessories, such as your belt buckle or wristwatch, ensuring you are well-styled from head to toe. Keep your chains short and few, wearing no more than three and no longer than 22″.
Break the Rules
Wearing layered necklaces is an excellent way to create a style statement and tell a story through your choice of jewelry. How you layer your necklaces defines your personality, whether it is with a delicate cable necklace or bold statement pieces like an iced-out Cuban chain. Though these sartorial guidelines can help you make stylish accessory choices to elevate your look, rules are made to be broken. Ultimately, the way you stack your neck and the chains you wear are a personal choice.