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What is a Keyhole Neckline?

The keyhole neckline, a style designed to reveal cleavage, was popular during the disco era of the 1970s.
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  • Written By: A Kaminsky
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 08 September 2014
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Fashion designers are always looking for a new way to make a neckline in a top or dress, and one way they can do this with the keyhole neckline. This neckline may be fashioned in a couple of different ways, but may be a simple slit in the neck of a blouse or dress. The split is usually, although not always, secured at its top with a hook and eye or loop and button. This kind of neckline is easy to make when sewing a garment, since the sewer only needs to finish the edges of the slit and secure it at the top. Most easy sewing patterns that include a "keyhole neckline" refer to this style.

The second, more complicated keyhole neckline looks more like its name. It is a circle or oval shape cut out of the neckline of a dress or top and secured, usually with a button and loop at the top. A circle or oval is difficult to cut properly, and the material must be well-marked for the cutout to look right.

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This style of neckline has been around for some time, but was most popular in the 1940s. It has been used on swimsuits, evening wear and a host of other garments. The keyhole must be well-placed in the garment so it will be attractive. When the opening is placed too low, or is opened too wide, a woman may show more of her decolletage than she intends. It is mostly meant to be a different neckline, not a revealing one. Of course, if revealing is what the wearer wants, a large, low keyhole neckline will serve the purpose. This style was popular in the disco era of the 1970s and was meant to reveal cleavage — and a lot of it.

A keyhole neckline can add interest to an otherwise routine jewel neckline. It is flattering on most women and is usually an attractive feature of a top or dress.

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