Layered necklaces fall into the category of fashion that looks cool without trying too hard, but getting the layered look right takes more effort than it seems. It’s like that great-fitting pair of worn-in jeans or the vintage leather moto jacket that you may have spent years searching for.
Both are worth the time. Especially since piling on jewelry can also make for an interesting conversation starter. The more pieces you have, the more stories you can tell.
Instead of choosing just one necklace, you can layer, say, your grandmother’s locket with the pendant you bought for yourself after landing your first job. Jewelry can be sentimental and emotional, and each piece can represent a different chapter of your life.
Layering necklaces gives off that effortless effect, yet perfecting it is an art form to perfect.
Which pieces work together and which don’t? And just how do keep layered necklaces from tangling?
After playing around in our jewelry box, we’ve put together tips on how to wear layered necklaces and make them your own.
In this article:
- Styling Tips to Consider When Layering Necklaces
- Don't Aim for Perfection
- A Step-By-Step Guide to Layering Jewelry
- Our Favorite Layered Necklace Looks
- Questions on How to Layer Jewelry
Styling Tips to Consider When Layering Necklaces
Layering necklaces is a great way to make a statement for any style or occasion. You can make it simple and delicate or elaborate and eye-catching. It is all up to the vision you have and what works with your outfit. But since layering necklaces is a process, you want to make sure you put time and effort into your look. Here are some rules to help you achieve that art of layering.
Consider Chain Length
The chain length worn the most is 18 inches, but you can often find lengths that range from 14 inches to 35 inches. When layering your necklaces, you want to be aware of your chain length. You want to make sure that you have gaps between your pieces and that they aren’t clumped on top of each other. This makes for a clean and put-together look.
Consider Chain Style
When it comes to chain styles, there are many different kinds. But this is good news for anyone who wants to layer necklaces! Using different chains is acceptable and makes layering interesting. Although, don’t let this deter you from wearing the same chain for all your layers!
Choose Your Focal Point
Your focal point is up to you. What matters most is where you want to draw attention to. The most common focal point is usually the necklace you put on the top or the bottom. Your focal point necklace should draw the viewer in. What matters most when it comes to the focal point is the decorative object. A good choice is an eye-catching pendant. Allow your focal point to bring your story forward.
Correlate With Your Outfit
Before you start your necklace stack, think about how it will work with your outfit. Are you going somewhere casual or fancy? This may impact the style of your clothes and the necklaces you choose. Next, consider the neckline of your top. The stack you wear for a crew neck top may be different than the one you’ll wear for a V-neck. The key is to line up the necklaces so that it doesn’t hit exactly where the start of your top falls (to prevent the necklace from slipping underneath the shirt).
Also, consider the pattern and color of your outfit. Layered necklaces tend to look best on solid tops instead of busy printed tops and graphic tees. You want your jewelry to complement—not compete—with your overall look.
As for earring styles, going for smaller designs may be best to shift the attention towards your layered necklace stack. Of course, this is more of a style choice but choosing one main focal point can elevate your look. For this post, I put together a necklace stack worn with a white crew neck T-shirt and a pair of Super Mini Fortune Cookie Huggie Earrings.
Add Unexpected Elements
The first rule on how to stack necklaces? Keep it interesting! What makes the layered look appealing is getting the right combination. Because honestly, it would be pretty boring to have a bunch of the same necklaces repeated one after another.
Try adding on necklaces with different shaped charms like ovals, rectangles, and hearts. You can even wear several chains without charms in between to make it more compelling overall.
When it comes to metals, however, it may be best to stick to one (pick gold, silver, or rose gold). Since there’s already so much going on with the layers and charms, one metal makes it easier on the eyes.
Wondering how to layer gold necklaces without looking like you accessorized in the dark? In addition to wearing one metal color, the necklaces should have some sort of similar theme. Again, this is a style preference, but I wouldn’t pair a vintage-inspired gold necklace with a wood beaded pendant or a diamond choker. The goal? Keep it cohesive.
Strategically Space the Pieces Out
The biggest challenge for layering necklaces is finding the right spot in between each piece. Ideally, you want them at different lengths as it looks more proportionate and reduces tangling.
The simplest way to start your stack is by putting on the shortest necklace first then adjusting the following pieces to fall about an inch apart (could be more or less depending on your necklaces).
In my opinion, three to four necklaces should do the trick. Any less and it wouldn’t look complete, and any more may look overdone.
For example: Here, I style four Fortune & Frame necklaces:
Don't Aim for Perfection
Lastly, the most important tip on how to stack chains: have fun with it! To make it your own, choose meaningful jewelry for you, and don’t be afraid to try on different stacks. Finding the right combo may take a few rounds of jewelry dress-up to get there.
For those who have a hard time making decisions, layering jewelry may just be for you. There’s no limit to the creative freedom you can have when adding on pieces. As long as you feel like yourself with the look, you know you’ve done it right.
Like any good story, layering necklaces shouldn’t be perfect—and that’s the beauty of it.
A Step-By-Step Guide to Layering Jewelry
Step 1: Choose Up to 3 Necklaces with Different Chain Lengths
Pick pieces that add to the story of you.
Step 2: Pick Your Focal Point
Elevate your style.
Step 3: Build Your Layered Necklace Style
Flaunt your art.
Our Favorite Layered Necklace Looks
Need inspo? Here are some of our favorite layered necklace looks!
Questions on How to Layer Jewelry
Still need some help trying to figure out how to layer necklaces? We’ve got your back.
What are Layered Necklaces?
Layered necklaces are (usually) 2-4 necklaces worn together that bring out your style. You can choose any necklace you’d like to add to your stack and you can rotate pieces in and out. This can be depending on the look you’re going for since each style has different attributes. You’re going to want to stay with the same color jewelry, but you can mix and match brands, styles, and types of chains. With this being said, try to stay on topic. Having a matching theme will make your necklace story much more coordinated.
How to Choose the Perfect Necklaces to Layer
It may seem daunting to pick out more than one necklace to wear. But there are some tips when it comes to matching them together to get the layered look you want. It's all in the outfit and the story you’re going for. If you're going for a casual outfit, try and pick out pieces that are bolder than the outfit you are wearing. In this case, you want the jewelry to pop out more. If your look is more formal, try and pick out elegant and small pieces that don’t take away from your outfit. This is to add to the look, not take over it. Make sure that your pieces continue to tell the same story. You want them to match, not clash.
How Many Necklaces Should You Layer?
Although you can do as many as you’d like, four is the perfect number here. Four pieces allow each piece to have its own “spotlight,” yet also brings them all together. When someone sees your layered necklaces, four different pieces are all easy to identify. Remember the key here is that even if it does take you a while, you want the style to look effortless. You don’t want those who see the layered style to think it took you days to plan out.
How to Detangle Layered Necklaces?
Involving more than one necklace means one thing: Tangling. One of the last things you want to do is get rid of your jewelry. When the piece is meaningful, saving it is important. But first, you want to make sure to do some research on the material of your necklaces. Some recommended methods may not be safe for all types of jewelry. Brite.co had a great guide on how to untangle jewelry – and here are the steps.
By using warm water and dish soap, you can untangle your jewelry without force. Throughout this process, you want to make sure you are handling the pieces lightly. The first thing that you want to do is make sure you remove any pendants or decorative jewelry that can be. You're going to want to take precautions for all decorations, but do not put anything made of pearl into this.
After that, you can place the piece in the solution of dish soap and warm water. The warm water will be what loosens the tangled chains. If the tangle is a bad one, you can take it between your fingers and try to work through the knot.
When the knot loosens, you can take the jewelry out of the solution. You want to make sure to lay it on a flat surface, such as a counter. When doing this, make sure the tangled section is separate from the untangled section.
For the final part, you're going to free your pieces of jewelry from each other. For knots that weren’t severe, you should be able to pull them apart using your fingers. If the knot is still tight, you can use a thin object, such as a sewing needle, to place it inside the knot. When you place the tool inside the knot, move it in a circle to undo the tangle. If this does not work, it is better to get help from a jeweler as opposed to risking more damage.
Looking for more jewelry posts? Check out…