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What Is a Jewel Neck?

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  • Written By: G. Melanson
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 12 July 2014
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A jewel neck is a plain, basic neckline that is rounded and reaches just above the collarbone. It was named after its ability to showcase a piece of jewelery such as a pendant or brooch against the fabric, so that the eye is drawn upward to the jewelery and the face. This cut is featured on a wide variety of both men’s and women’s garments, including T-shirts, sweaters, and dresses. Jewel necks are also particularly common in workout wear, and often featured on bodysuits, cycling shirts, and muscle shirts.

A jewel neckline is very similar to the boat neck or “bateau” neck, which is another modest, rounded neckline but doesn’t cover the collarbone. The boat neck got its name from sailors’ uniforms and other nautical outfits that have the same neckline. Jewel necks are sometimes also mistaken for crew necks, which cover above the collar bone and are rimmed with an extra band of fabric or collar.

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Another more revealing version of jewel necks are scoop necks, which follow the same curved line as the jewel and boat necklines but then scoop into a dramatic dip just above the cleavage. Sleeveless jewel neck shirts and dresses draw attention to the arms, and are especially flattering to body types with toned arms. A top or dress with this kind of cut looks best with another garment layered over it, such as a cardigan or jacket to add some texture to an otherwise plain neckline. Jewel neck tops are also a good choice to pair with short skirts or shorts, as they give balance to the outfit and prevent it from looking skimpy or otherwise too revealing.

The jewel neck is one of the most popular necklines featured on “modesty wedding gowns” worn by brides who are married in churches or temples with certain dress codes that require a high neckline. This design was also popularized by style icon, Audrey Hepburn, who favored the neckline for its ability to cover her collarbone, about which she was self-conscious. The jewel neck was also favored by another 1960s style icon, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who often wore shift dresses and cardigan twinsets that featured the neckline along with a string of pearls to accent it.

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Ana1234
Post 3

@Mor - It depends on the pendant. If it's particularly large, you'll end up with it being half on the neck and half on the cloth which usually doesn't look all that good. If you've got a dress that sets off the pendant, it can look particularly striking when it is displayed on the neckline.

A jewel neck wedding dress is generally ideal as well, because it's fairly modest and traditional, but you can still make it beautiful and unique to your personality with different skirt types. It doesn't suit every body type though, so I would definitely take that into consideration.

Mor
Post 2

@clintflint - I imagine it's called that because it's ideal for showcasing pendants, which might consist of a single jewel. Although I doubt you would be doing that with a jewel neck tee shirt as they are pretty casual. I think it's just a nice neckline in general, which happens to be named after one of its functions.

I actually prefer a lower neckline for pendants, anyway, since I think they look better on skin than on cloth, but everyone has their own style.

clintflint
Post 1

There is a pretty good chart that you can find online which goes through the different necklines and what kind of jewelry you should wear with each one. I didn't actually know that you could get something called a jewel neck top though. According to this chart you can wear different kinds of jewelry with a wide variety of necklines.

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