What is a Split Neck?

Douglas Bonderud

A split neck is a type of neckline found on women's clothing. It is characterized by a round neckline with a split in the center that creates a small V. This split draws the eyes to the neck. The edges of the split can be adorned with embroidery or sequins to enhance its appearance. A split neck top can also draw attention to any necklace that a woman chooses to wear.

Split-neck tops are traditionally only worn by women, as opposed to V-neck tops, which are traditionally unisex.
Split-neck tops are traditionally only worn by women, as opposed to V-neck tops, which are traditionally unisex.

Split neck shirts are considered to be one of the most versatile pieces in a woman's wardrobe, as women of all body types can achieve a flattering look in them. Although a split neck top can come in a variety of styles and fabrics, one of the most common is the tunic style which is usually made of a loose, light cloth. The tunic generally falls below the hips, giving it a slightly baggy appearance. A large belt can then be worn, if the wearer wishes to emphasize the look of the waist area.

This type of neckline can also be found on dresses, athletic wear, sweaters, and the simple t-shirt. It adds an element of flair to an otherwise unbroken neckline, but without revealing too much skin. The split in the neck can vary from a sharp 'V' to a 'U' shape, and comes in multiple depths.

The split neck style should not be confused with the V neck, which features a much deeper plunge in the neckline, often revealing some cleavage. A true split neck usually has two distinct corners where the split begins to dip downward. The V neck, in contrast, has a much more gradual slope. V neck shirts are also unisex, but split necks are typically worn only by women.

Another similar style of neckline is the keyhole neck. This type of neckline usually includes either a button or hook at the top of the split, or actually has an oval shape cut out of the neckline itself. Cutting a true keyhole neck in a garment is difficult, as round and oval shapes are far harder to properly sew. A keyhole neck also tends to show more skin than a split neck.

Often, the split neck style of top will be used to give the illusion of the V neck, but without being too daring. This is an attractive option for a woman who wants to add flair to her ensemble without the focus being her chest. Split necks allow for modesty while still giving the wearer the ability to dress up an otherwise ordinary outfit.

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