What is a Sweetheart Neckline?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

As a choice for the design of formal ladies wear, the sweetheart neckline has been around for a very long time. The curved neckline of the sweetheart design features two curves over the bustline, which drop and meet at a point in the middle of the bust area. The result is a heart-shaped neckline that helps to provide modest coverage for the bust, while still drawing attention to the figure. The low cut nature of the design offers more in the way of graceful curves than a plunging neckline or a box neckline application.

Formal gowns and party dresses may have the sweetheart neckline.
Formal gowns and party dresses may have the sweetheart neckline.

No one is exactly sure of the origins of the sweetheart neckline. There are those who claim the scalloped trip necklines of the Renaissance age in Italy were the first true sweetheart necklines. Others credit 18th century French designers with creating the attractive contours of the design. A third school of thought places the first ones as appearing in the court of Isabella in 15th century Spain. Whatever the origins, the design has made a powerful impact on ladies' formal wear for quite a long time.

A short fancy white dress with a sweetheart neckline.
A short fancy white dress with a sweetheart neckline.

Traditionally, many of the more formal and intricately designed wedding dresses will employ a scalloped neckline in the general contours of the sweetheart. Typically, this design will be one of the several elements that separate the bridal gown from the gowns or dresses worn by the other members of the bride's party. Considered as a wonderful way to invoke both a sense of beauty and attractiveness in the appearance of the bride, the sweetheart neckline both covers and displays in a combination that many people find very appealing.

The sweetheart neckline is not just limited to wedding apparel; many formal gowns utilize this neckline. In addition, stage costuming will often make good use of this neckline. During the middle of the 20th century, it became possible to obtain blouses that were cut with a sweetheart neckline. While the place of this particular design comes and goes when it comes to street wear, the sweetheart neckline remains a perennial favorite in ladies formal wear. As an option that combines visual appeal with practical coverage, few other designs can create the same effect.

Sweetheart necklines are popular for wedding dresses.
Sweetheart necklines are popular for wedding dresses.
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments


i recently just made a dress with a sweetheart neckline and i feel that hourglass particularly suits that neckline well but i feel anyone could pull it off as it is a flattering neckline but it also depends on what pattern you use. v8360 vogue pattern was hard to work with but suited an hourglass figure.


@yournamehere -- Most of the time it ends up coming down to personal preference.

Some women with larger busts say they feel that sweetheart neckline tops are very unflattering for them; others think they look great because they show a little bit of cleavage, but not too much.

Alternatively, some smaller-busted women feel like they don't have enough of a bust to fill out a sweetheart, but when sized appropriately, it can be very flattering.

The long and the short of it is, sweetheart necklines can look good on all kinds of body types, but it just depends on the person and the item of clothing.


Are there some people who really aren't suited to the sweetheart neckline pattern?

I didn't know if there was a particular body shape that looked really good or really bad with this.

Anybody know?

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