The Long and Short of It: Matching Earrings with Necklines and Necklaces

A beautiful necklace can be a real show-stopper. Personally, I wear necklaces whenever the occasion calls for it, but the right pair of earrings can also do wonders for your look. Earrings can add a bit of sophistication and sparkle to any outfit—I even wear my round birdnest earrings while going on a hike! 

Yet, this brings up a question I occasionally hear from customers: which type of earrings look best with which neckline and/or necklace?

When it comes to selecting what jewelry to wear with different types of outfits and dresses there is a sort of unofficial science to getting the look right. Here area few of the guidelines I use when matching earrings with necklines and necklaces:

Keep it simple with a patterned cocktail dress

Whether you’re going to a wedding, lunch at a restaurant or on a first date, you can’t go wrong with a fun and flirty patterned cocktail dress. The key to pairing jewelry with this type of dress is that you want to accent the pattern on the dress—not compete with it. A pair of dangling earrings can add some movement to the look. Or, you could wear a nice pair of studs for a touch of sophistication. While you might be able to get away with a necklace and earrings, be careful not to overdo it. Earrings alone are often enough, especially if they have some sparkle to them, like diamonds or drusies.

Jewelry pictured from left to right: Large wave earrings, black teardrop drusy earrings with diamonds, astro 2 earrings, small curly bark earrings 6, black drusy raindrop earrings

Showcase bold earrings with an asymmetrical neckline

I love the asymmetrical look. It’s artistic and flattering—and can be used to camouflage any imperfections. However, this is a look that should not be paired with a necklace. Any sort of long chain or collar will take away from the drama of the neckline. Instead, add some shine to this style with a bold pair of dangling earrings.

Earrings pictured from left to right: Zen black drusy earrings with diamond, long Oreo cookie drusy earrings, starry night earrings, black and white medium wave earring

Have fun with a mesh top

A mesh top is another neckline that looks best when paired with earrings. A necklace here would compete too much with the statement of the mesh. Opt for an eye-catching pair—dangling or studs—that will add an element of carefree liveliness to this style.

Earrings pictured from left to right: cala lily earrings2, oval gold leaf earrings, wave hoop earringsblack teardrop drusy earrings with diamonds, swirl earring with cubic zirconium, swirl earrings-silver

Playing nice with necklaces and earrings

When it comes to jewelry and style in general, my personal philosophy is to not get too “matchy.” Your earrings don’t have to exactly match the necklace or your outfit, but everything should be complementary. Personally, that’s one of the driving factors in the creation of my handmade jewelry—each piece can be paired with another to create an interesting, unique look. In fact, I created the Shooting star necklace (highlighted above)—which can be worn many different ways—so that it would complement a wide array of earrings in my collection.

Earrings pictured from left to right, top to bottom: swirl earrings-vermeil, wave hoop earrings, wave earring diagonal with gold, cala lily earrings2, elegant silver and gold earring, curly bark earrings 1

While there are many unofficial rules to matching earrings with necklines, it’s important to always remain true to your own sense of style. What works for someone else might not work on you—and vice versa. The key is to select the pieces that speak to you and go from there. And remember, if you’re looking for a specific style or look, I can create custom handmade jewelry—simply send me a message to get started. 

Lori Gottlieb