Considering getting your first necklace? Keep reading to learn about the different styles of men’s necklaces and how to wear them.
Adding a necklace is an easy way to elevate your style. It is a simple and easy upgrade that a lot of men overlook.
If you’re like me, wearing a necklace will take some getting used to. You may have to experiment to find a necklace that suits your preferences.
I’ll admit, until recently, I never wore a necklace. That is until one of my mentors gave me a necklace that he’d worn for decades. I was honored to receive this gift, but after a few days, I stopped wearing it.
I soon realized that while I liked the pendant, the chain was too short for my tastes. I ended up swapping out the short chain for a longer one, and now I wear the pendant all the time.
When you’re in the market for a new necklace, your first step is to decide what kind of necklace you want to buy.
Next, decide the necklace’s width and length. Finally, make sure the necklace has the right clasp for your needs.
In this article, we’ll review the different types of men’s necklaces and explore how to find the perfect necklace for you.
Types of Necklaces
Necklaces are made from almost any material you can think of. We’ll cover the most common types.
Inexpensive and lightweight, leather necklaces are a great option for a man’s first necklace. It’s a good idea to make sure that you like wearing necklaces before investing in a more substantial, costly piece of jewelry.
You can experiment wearing leather necklaces of different lengths and thicknesses without spending a lot of money.
Unlike chains that often have some weight to them, leather necklaces can feel almost weightless.
By “beaded necklace,” I’m referring to any necklace that consists of small objects threaded through a string. Included in this category are shell necklaces and pearl necklaces.
Broadly speaking, the smaller and darker the beads, the more formal the necklace.
Beaded necklaces come in all shapes, materials, and sizes. If you shop around, you can almost certainly find one that you’ll love.
Chains are the most popular type of necklace for men. A quality chain is one of the few things that you can potentially wear for a lifetime without taking it off.
Although chains are available in cheaper metals such as stainless steel, opt for a silver or a gold chain, especially if you plan on wearing your necklace often. Even if it means spending more money, invest in a chain you love.
Although it will cost more upfront, by choosing a high-quality piece that you love, the cost per wear will be minuscule.
Not sure whether to choose a gold or a silver chain? Generally, silver looks better on people with cool skin tones, and gold looks better on people with warm skin tones. (Check out this video to find out your skin tone). That said, don’t overthink it. Ultimately, it’s up to you – choose whichever metal you gravitate towards.
You probably know the old trope – a shady guy on the street corner selling fake chains. In the digital age, some scammers have moved their scams online. Do your research before buying a precious metal chain to avoid getting ripped off. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Know how to read fineness hallmarks and buy from a reputable source. Purchasing from a respected jeweler will always be the safest option.
Not only can a jeweler provide assurance that your chain is real, but they can also help you find the ideal chain length, width, and link type for you.
A pendant is an ornament that hangs at the bottom of a necklace. Any type of necklace can include a pendant. Pendants are best worn with longer-length necklaces.
From coins to shark teeth, rings, lockets, and even vials– you can wear almost any small object as a pendant.
Many people wear pendants for religious reasons. Examples of religious pendants include crosses, crucifixes, Stars of David, and pentagrams.
Dog tags are another type of pendant. Dog tags are small oval metal discs worn on a chain that make it possible to identify soldiers killed or wounded in action. Officially, US soldiers have been required to wear identification tags since 1906.
While you don’t have to be a soldier to wear dog tags, if you’re not in the service or a veteran, don’t wear dog tags to try and imply that you are.
Many people wear dog tags inscribed with important medical information for first responders.
Pinpointing the ideal necklace width for you is very subjective.
If you’re a svelte guy, consider buying a thinner necklace. On your frame, chunky gold necklaces will appear disproportionate and out of place. Obviously, the thinner the necklace, the more discreet it will be.
If you’re a stockier dude, you can more easily pull of larger pieces. However, you should be aware that very thick necklaces, especially gold or silver chains, may be seen as over-the-top in some cultures.
Finding the right necklace length for you depends on your neck size and necklace type. Once again, more than anything, necklace length is up to personal preference.
Below are some general guidelines on necklace length.
16” necklaces are the shortest necklace commonly sold for men. At 16 inches, a necklace will fit very close to the neck, hence the name “choker.” Chokers shouldn’t actually make it difficult to breathe; they should fit loose enough that you don’t feel any discomfort.
With the entire necklace visible at all times, it will attract a lot of attention. That’s not necessarily a problem; just be sure that’s what you’re going for.
Necklaces this short are generally too casual to wear to the office.
While not quite a choker, at 18 inches, the entire necklace still might show when you’re wearing a t-shirt. How a necklace fits will, of course, will depend on the size of your neck.
While less discreet than longer-length necklaces, 18” is a good length for thin chains.
However, if you’re wearing a pendant on the chain, you’ll probably want to go for a longer length.
When I was gifted a pendant, it was on an 18” chain. I found that it was awkward to wear with button-up shirts at that length because it wasn’t long enough to tuck in with the first button unbuttoned.
At 20 inches, you start to be able to tuck in a pendant. Also, 20” necklaces are long enough to wear with collared shirts with the top buttons unbuttoned.
The key to wearing necklaces in more formal situations is choosing one that is long enough to be discreetly tucked in.
If your shirt is buttoned-up all the up (such as when you’re wearing a tie), length isn’t an issue, but if you have the top button or two open, you’ll want something long enough to tuck in. That way, only a tiny glimpse of the necklace will be visible when you move.
This is the chain length I prefer for pendants. For me, 24 inches reaches to about mid-chest. Not only is it long enough to tuck in, I think it looks balanced when worn untucked.
At 30 inches, a necklace will reach to about the bottom of the chest. In general, a taller guy will be able to pull off a longer necklace more easily as it will look more proportional.
While you can buy necklaces that are even longer than 30 inches, very long necklaces can look comical untucked. If you always wear it tucked in, once a necklace is “tuck-in-able,” length is pretty much a non-issue.
Types of Necklace Clasps
Before buying a necklace, examine the clasp. The clasp is the mechanism that you use to “open and close” the necklace. Some clasps are easier to use than others.
Some clasps provide an assurance that your necklace won’t fall off and get lost. Others provide safety to the wearer by easily coming undone.
While there are many different types of clasps, we’ll cover just a few of the most common varieties.
Lobster Claw Clasps
“Lobster claws” are one of the most common types of clasps. Lobster claw clasps are the standard in the industry. This clasp type opens and closes relatively easily and will keep your necklace safely secured to your neck.
While most people have no problem opening and closing a lobster claw clasp, it can be difficult to operate for people that have poor fine motor control skills.
If you have trouble manipulating small objects with your hands, you might want to consider another clasp type. (However, if you don’t plan on taking the necklace on and off frequently, this may not be as much of a problem).
Tip: For gold and silver chains, fineness hallmarks (which indicate metal purity) are often featured on a lobster claw clasp.
Sometimes also called barrel clasps, the screw clasp is another widespread necklace closure system.
To open and close, you simply screw in the two sides of the clasp. While not providing quite the same level of assurance as the lobster claw, with the screw clasp, your necklace is unlikely to fall off during the day.
Necklaces that have magnetic clasps are easy to put on. However, they are also easy to take off.
If you’re worried about losing your necklace, magnetic clasps probably aren’t for you. This is especially true for active guys and dads with small children that like to grab things.
If there’s a chance that your necklace could be a safety hazard in your work or recreation, I highly recommend not wearing it. A necklace that gets snagged in machinery can cause serious injury or death.
However, if you still want to wear a necklace in dangerous conditions due to sentimental or religious reasons, I’d recommend a magnetic clasp. In the event of getting snagged, chances are that a necklace with a magnetic clasp will safely fly off your neck instead of strangling you.
Common Questions About Necklaces
Below are answers to some common questions men ask about necklaces:
Can I Wear More Than One Necklace at a Time?
A lot of guys, especially when they’re new to wearing jewelry, wonder if it’s ok to wear more than one necklace at a time. The answer– “It depends…”
It’s a bold look. Wearing more than one necklace is like wearing multiple rings on the same hand– some guys can pull it off, others can’t. You have to have the confidence to rock this look.
Try it out. See how you feel. Consider asking friends and family for their opinion on how it looks.
Some necklaces are easier to layer than others. As a general rule, if you choose to wear two or more necklaces, they should be of different lengths.
If layering metallic necklaces, try to match metals– silver with silver, gold with gold.
Can I Wear My Necklace Untucked?
Generally, you’re going to want to wear your necklace tucked. Jewelry is inherently eye-catching and can be distracting. However, when you’re dressed very casually (think t-shirt and chinos), it’s “safer” to wear it untucked.
In my opinion, any time you’re wearing a collared shirt, your necklace should be tucked.
Can I Wear a Necklace With a Suit?
Yes, you can wear a necklace with a suit. Again, the key is to tuck it underneath your shirt.
Avoid wearing chokers with a suit. Sporting a long necklace that can be tucked in is a more traditional, conservative look.
Wearing a necklace can help you to elevate your style. With just a little bit of knowledge, you can find the perfect necklace for you.
What’s your favorite type of necklace? Let us know in the comments!