How to Wear Necklaces If You’re Busty, Part Two (With a Nod to the Signature Style of Sophia Loren)

In my last post, I focused on long necklaces, the first of
two options discussed by Lucky magazine
in considering what necklace styles work best for busty women. The second
option, a shorter necklace length, is illustrated by Lucky with an elaborate necklace from Banana Republic. Lucky advises:

If you prefer a shorter necklace,
make sure it sits well below the collarbone. An oval shape draws the eye in to
create a slimming effect and brings attention up and away from the cleavage.

Lucky doesn’t
discuss the placement of the shorter necklace with much specificity, other than
saying that it should sit “well below the collarbone.” By looking at the
illustrative photo, you can see that the model’s necklace falls approximately
at what I and my fellow image consultants refer to as her first balance point, a concept I have introduced previously in my
blog and have written about in the book Jewelry
Savvy

To determine your first balance point, measure the length of
your face from hairline to chin. If you wear bangs and cover your forehead,
measure from the bottom of the bangs to your chin. Next, take that measurement
and measure down the same distance from the bottom of your chin. That spot on
your torso is your first balance point. For many individuals, placing a
necklace at that spot will require a necklace in the range of 24 to 28 inches
long, and a shorter length for someone with bangs. 

Using the first balance point creates essentially a frame
around the face, which is flattering to most women. The oval shape to which
Lucky refers is sometimes called the portrait
area.

Illustration: From Jewelry
Savvy
, an illustration of how to
determine the first and second balance points

A second attractive placement point for most women is
called, not surprisingly, the second
balance point
. To determine your second balance point, determine the widest
point of your face. If the sides of your face are very straight, use the lowest
part of the straight side as your reference point. Trace a line from that point
to the bottom midpoint of your chin. Drop that entire line down as if it
started from the top of your shoulder, from a point directly under the widest
point of your face (or equivalent reference point). The lowest part of the
line, which corresponds to the center of your chin, is your second balance
point. It is usually noticeably higher than the first balance point, requiring
a shorter necklace.

If the widest point of your face is at or near your jawline,
your second balance point will be very high, just under your neck. In this
case, it will not be well below the
collarbone.

For most women, either the first or the second balance point
provides a flattering placement for a necklace. Which is optimal for you will
depend not only on the neckline of the garment you’re wearing at the time, but
also, and more important, on some of your other physical characteristics
including the features of your face, the particulars of your neck and even your
overall body shape. I have run into the situation where the first balance point
of a client appeared too low to be flattering. A professional image consultant
can assist you with this determination, which is entirely personal to each
individual.

An example of someone who, counter intuitively, wears
necklaces that draw attention away
from her chest and by so doing, actually emphasizes her figure, is actress
Sophia Loren. Since her youth, Loren has worn very short necklaces and chokers
as part of her signature look. With her long neck and perfect carriage, she
emphasizes her statuesque form by encircling her slender neck with jewels. This
is not a look everyone can wear, but Loren carries it off beautifully.

Illustration: An early
publicity shot of Sophia Loren. Note the caption, the source of which I cannot
identify.

 

Illustration: Sophia
Loren at the 1999 Academy Awards, left, and at the 2009 Academy Awards, right,
wearing her signature short necklaces.

Lucky magazine
suggests that a short necklace worn well below the collarbone “draws the eye in
to create a slimming effect and brings attention up and away from the
cleavage.” In my opinion, an ample chest is not something that requires efforts
to create “a slimming effect.” Indeed, think of the women who undergo surgery
each year to enhance their bosoms. 

At the same time, just because a woman has a full bosom and
likes her curves does not mean that her chest is the first thing she wants
everyone to notice about her. In most situations, a woman will prefer to keep
the attention on her face. Here is where the strategic selection of necklace
styles comes into play. Choosing a style of necklace is very much like choosing
a style of neckline on a garment. There are times when a show of cleavage may
be appropriate and desirable, and there are other times, such as during the
workday in a conservative office environment, when that look is inappropriate.
A good wardrobe of necklaces may encompasses a wide range of possibilities. A
lariat that drops into the cleavage can be overtly sexy; shorter strands of
beads can be exceedingly attractive and highlight a bosom in a more subtle
fashion.

Illustration: From the
May 2010 issue of Lucky, “two styles that won’t make big chests look even
bigger”

As between the two looks shown in Lucky, the shorter length is easier to wear for a wider range of
busty women. Do you like these looks equally well?  Or which do you prefer, and why?