Customer Watch: Necklace Length & Avoiding the Hook

What woman wouldn’t love a long triple strand of pearls accented with an enormous gemstone clasp?


The pearls worn by actress Katherine Heigl in this photograph published in the December 15, 2008 issue of People magazine are stunning, no doubt. But they are not well-suited to the wearer. Designer Christian Siriano of Project Runway fame had less kind things to say about Heigl’s look, which were published yet a second time by People magazine in its recent special issue “Sexy Forever.” Commented Siriano, “the pearls look like they’re from an old lady’s estate sale.”



What is the issue with these beautiful pearls?


It’s all about their length. What they are is the perfect length to be annoying. They are just long enough to hook over a breast, and this is never a flattering look. Where was the jeweler who should have been advising Heigl on her selection? Perhaps the pearls were a gift and Heigl didn’t have the heart to have her jeweler adjust the length?


Heavy pearls, beads or chains of approximately 36-inches run the risk of hooking over a breast. The more well-endowed the woman, the more potential for this occurring.


The second issue with the necklace is specific to her ensemble. The pearls fail to complement the neckline of her dress. A short strand of pearls hitting at the collarbone would have been an ideal length for her to wear with the dress and would have brought attention up to her lovely face. An interesting brooch pinned to the twisted fabric at the center of her dress also would have been a beautiful way to accessorize.


Even the most spectacular jewelry should be worn with an eye to the overall look of an ensemble. It’s easy enough to dress around a beautiful necklace, so make certain that every necklace itself is of a flattering length. Utilizing the first and second balance points which are specific to a woman, as I discuss in Jewelry Savvy, virtually guarantees a mistake-proof determination of a flattering necklace length.  


Plan the look and avoid the hook.

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