When it comes to choosing a neckline, there's more than meets the eye. Necklines have the ability to remove pounds, give an air of sophistication and lend comfort -- or do the opposite. Philip Minaker, women's fashion consultant at The Bay on Queen Street in Toronto, shares his tips for selecting the best neckline for you.
"Women should look for necklines that complement their body frame, wardrobe and lifestyle," advises Minaker. If the basic composition of a neckline doesn't flatter your chest, shoulder, neck and head, then look for another style. After all, necklines serve as a frame for your face and, like the rest of your clothing, represent who you are.
So think about how you want to be perceived and choose necklines that complement your existing wardrobe. Suits pair well with V-neck button-down shirts, skirts pair nicely with draped or plunging necklines, and square necks or boatnecks complement jeans.
The neckline lowdown
V-neck: These not only draw the eye upward to the face but also enhance the neck and elongate the body -- so they flatter everyone, especially people with short necks and thick torsos. There's also versatility in a V-neck because you can lower or raise the V with a button-down shirt.
Draped: These are especially flattering on big-busted women because they play down breast size, creating a leaner appearance.
Plunging: These must be in balance with the rest of your upper body. If you have small or rounded shoulders, a plunging neckline will make them look even smaller. You should also consider the amount of cleavage you'll be revealing, and whether that's appropriate for the situation you'll be wearing the top to.
Turtleneck: These can create what Minaker calls a "floating head," where your head looks detached from the rest of your body -- floating above a sea of clothes. So proportion is key when wearing a turtleneck. "Rather than folding the top of the turtle over, fold it under, and adjust the length," advises Minaker. You want to have room between the top of the turtleneck and your chin.
Square: These necklines look best on women with firm necks and great skin (generally younger women), since they show off a lot of both.
Boatneck: Generally, these look best on women with long necks and smaller heads because the style can make both look wider.
Choosing the right neckline
Follow Minaker's three simple rules when choosing a neckline:
1. Think about your body proportions and choose a neckline that flatters those proportions.
2. Make sure the neckline has versatility. For example, a plunging neckline is not appropriate for day-to-day work wear.
3. Ask yourself whether the neckline reflects the image you want to convey.
No matter what your shape or size, there is a neckline out there specifically suited to you. The only way to find that perfect neckline is by trying on different styles to determine which one best suits not only your body frame but also your lifestyle.
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