Perfect necklines

Your neckline is crucial when it comes to creating that special look. Sussex Life style expert Carol Goodsman shows how to make a great first impression by choosing exactly the right one for you

Sussex LifeLook at the length of your neck You'll seem slimmer and more elegant if you elongate a short neck by wearing a lower neckline. Never cut a short neck in half with mandarin collars or turtle necks. The height of your bustline should be taken into consideration along with neck length. Your bust may be high, medium or low and this has nothing to do with the passing of years! If the distance between your collar bone and bust is less than that between bust and waist, you have a high bustline. If it is the same your bustline is medium and if the distance is greater, it is low. If you have a low bustline, avoid T-shirt necklines, polo necks and very low necklines, all of which will have the effect of making your bust appear lower. High and medium busts can take any neckline, but of course there are always other factors to take into account.

Your shouldersThink about the width of your shoulders in relation to your hips. If you have narrow shoulders, opt for wider necklines to balance your silhouette. If your shoulders are very wide, avoid Bardot necklines and halternecks, which will make them appear wider. As well as the breadth of your shoulders, the size of your bust is worth considering. Women with large busts should choose lower necklines and avoid polo necks. High necklines are ideal for smaller busts, but you will only need to avoid a lower neckline if you are slim and your chest is inclined to appear bony.

Straight or curved lines? If the lines of your body are curved, follow this with rounded necklines and collars and curved V necks. Straight V necks, square necklines and angular collars work well with a straighter figure. Think also about your scale. This is based on your frame, weight, height and clothing style. Do large jewellery and accessories suit you or do you look your best in small, delicate items? Your necklines should follow the same guidelines: only if you can wear large accessories should you go for big collars or large frills at the neckline. The same applies to texture and pattern: if you suit large collars, then a small, floral pattern at the neckline is unlikely to flatter, but heavily textured fabrics or bold prints may work well, as they will not overpower you.

Your style If it's classic, polo necks and crossover necklines will be appropriate. Whichever neckline you choose should have clean lines. For a more girlie style, sweetheart necklines, lace trims and Peter Pan collars should fit the bill. Grandad collars, kaftan necklines and any neckline with an unfinished look will suit those with a natural, dressed-down style. If you suit dramatic, statement pieces, you will be able to wear asymmetric necklines and large, over-the-top textures and pattens.

Carol Goodsman is the owner of Alice Carroll Image Consultancy. For more information or to make an appointment call 01273 494396, email or visit their website at

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