The Why and How of Y-Shaped Necklaces

With a trend this season of necklaces worn close to the face, it makes sense that designers would find ways to extend the adornment downward. Pendants on long chains have morphed into vertical design elements that dangle from short necklaces.

The Y-shaped necklace draws the eye downward toward—and often through and past—the wearer’s cleavage, for an overtly sexy look. A stunning example of this style appears on the cover of the September 2011 issue of Harper’s Bazaar on which model Karmen Pedaru wears a Van Cleef & Arpels diamond zipper necklace with a low-cut gown by Giorgio Armani.

Another example of an overtly sexy look is this ad for a mesh tie necklace from Elsa Peretti for Tiffany & Co., in which the model’s blouse is open just about to her waist.

The challenge for most women is finding looks that allow the wearing of Y-shaped necklaces without requiring an impossible amount of exposed skin. There are viable options.

In the August 2011 issue of Glamour, Heidi Klum wears a Y-shaped necklace from Sachin + Babi with sparkly pants from her Project Runway cohort Michael Kors, a Roland Mouret jacket, t-shirt from Nation LTD and shoes from Camilla Skovgaard.  The reason the look appears demure (yet still sexy) on Klum is in large part due to her proportions; she is proportionately very long between her chin and her bustline. A woman of average proportions would likely find that the necklace ends relatively much lower, nearly at the bustline, requiring a lower neckline and a correspondingly less demure style.

Here’s another sporty look that incorporates a Y-shaped necklace. Businesswoman and style icon Julie Macklowe, profiled in the September 2011 issue of Harper’s Bazaar, wears a Cartier necklace that adds the finishing touch to the neckline of her Tommy Hilfiger ensemble.

In the September 2011 issue of InStyle, Dame Helen Mirren wears a rigid Y-shaped sterling silver necklace from Pilar Olaverri with a 1960s inspired high-collared dress from Calvin Klein Collection. She also wears a white and yellow diamond ring from the Bottega Veneta Fine Jewelry Collection and vintage sterling silver earrings from House of Lavande.

A current ad for Chico’s takes a similar approach, lengthening a Y-shaped necklace enough to allow it to be worn under the collar of a blouse.

Here’s an interesting styling from the September 2011 issue of Glamour combining a Y-shaped sterling silver snake necklace from Elsa Peretti for Tiffany & Co. with a feather pendant necklace of similar scale from Fawn by Jennifer Fisher Jewelry. This look brings the eye right to the bustline although the ensemble is modest. The model wears an ensemble from Proenza Schouler with a belt from Will Leather Goods and booties from See by Chloe.

Another intriguing effect is created in a look worn by actress Cameron Diaz (seen above left) in the September 2011 issue of InStyle. With a Rachel Zoe V-neck sweater top, Diaz wears a Y-shaped necklace, unidentified, that has a knot that falls above the neckline and a dangling element that falls below the neckline for a pleasing symmetry.  Diaz also wears a jacket from Akris and trousers from Raven Denim.

The September 2011 issue of Marie Claire features Janis by Janis Savitt’s version of a zipper necklace in a fashion spread on prep school style. Not explained is how the necklace is to be worn with the garments pictured. Also featured are a pair of cuff bracelets from Vita Fede and a ring from Mawi.

The September 2011 issue of Harper’s Bazaar accessorizes the slightly scooped neck of an Alexander Wang top with a very long lariat necklace from Janis Savitt. The necklace creates a long vertical line that coordinates well with the long vest from Missoni. The pants are from Michael Kors.

The most extreme example of a Y-shaped necklace is an exceptionally long tassel drop on a short necklace from Chloe featured in the September 2011 issue of Harper’s Bazaar. Here’s a necklace that can only be styled in a manner that is all about allure.