It doesn’t matter whether you’re sewing your next garment, choosing your wedding dress, or picking the perfect style for yourself; the type of neckline you choose can significantly impact how you look and feel.
There is a neckline on all upper body garments. For example, T-shirts, dresses, blouses, tops, wedding dresses, and jumpers all have some neckline style.
The neckline is a feature that adds personality to a garment. There are many kinds of necklines to choose from in fashion, leaving you plenty of exciting options. Often, designers combine different necklines to create unique looks.
The neckline is one of the first places our eyes land when we look at someone’s outfit. For example, plunging necklines accentuate the décolletage, which gives a woman’s outfit a sexy, mysterious appeal. From there, our eyes are drawn to other areas of the outfit, up, down or side to side.
Once you understand how each neckline works, you can figure out how to highlight your best features by choosing the right neckline for your body type.
Let’s jump into it!
25 Types Of Necklines:
Below is a comprehensive list of 25 different types of necklines to help you determine what styles will work best for you. My list includes 25 of the most popular necklines, although there are many more.
An asymmetrical neckline does not mirror the other side. This neckline can vary, from an off-the-shoulder style to a high neck with cut-outs on just one side. It’s commonly combined with higher necklines to create cut-out shapes around the collarbone.
The boat neckline, also known as a bateau, sits under the collarbone, highlighting the shoulders and neck. A boat neckline can make narrow shoulders look broader and wide hips more balanced. Historically, boat necklines were derived from sailors’ blouses because they were easy to grab onto if a sailor fell overboard.
This chic and timeless neckline was a staple in Audrey Hepburn’s wardrobe and is still prevalent in fashion today. It is often used for light sweaters, dresses, or long-sleeved striped tops.
Clothing collars are made from separate pieces of fabric sewn onto the neckline. There are many kinds of collars, including peter pan, round, banded, or pointed collars which can be paired with or without buttons. You commonly find collars on men’s and women’s shirts which are worn as formal attire.
A cowl neck is a flattering neckline made up of loosely draped fabric that hangs around your neck or collarbone. When made in soft, draped fabric, the cowl neck flatters an extensive range of body types. Many garment styles can accommodate cowl necks, such as sweaters and dresses with soft drapes.
Cowl necks are constructed during the pattern drafting stage by widening the neckline edge, almost like a paper fan. The excess fabric drapes into a cowl neck when the garment is worn. Depending on the width of the opening, the cowl will change in fullness. This neckline is suitable for woven, stretch and knit fabrics.
A halter neck is a type of strap neckline that ties behind the back of the neck. The straps or ties can be thick or thin and be paired with other necklines like a strapless style. A halter neckline highlights the shoulders and draws the eye upward, creating a balancing effect.
This neckline can be seen on crop tops, dresses, swimwear, jumpsuits and even lingerie.
An illusion neckline gives the illusion that a bodice of a dress or top has no straps. This style is commonly seen in the bridal industry on wedding dresses that are designed to look strapless. However, this isn’t always the case, as lace fabric can be used to add detail to a garment. Sometimes beads are sewn onto the sheer fabric to add a feature around the neckline, making the illusion not so mysterious.
A jewel neckline is a simple round shape that sits close to the collarbone. It’s called a ‘jewel’ neckline because the round, high neckline works well with necklaces. This neckline is commonly seen in business attire on dresses, sleeveless chiffon tops, and blouses.
A keyhole neckline is a small slit or keyhole located at the front of a blouse or top. There can be both big and small keyholes. It is not uncommon for keyholes to be combined with a small loop and a button to close the garment. Many peasant blouses feature open keyhole necklines with ties or neck ruffles.
The off-the-shoulder neckline sits across the top of the chest from shoulder to shoulder. It is common for off-the-shoulder necklines to have elastic sewn into them, making them comfortable garments. Its boho appeal makes this style incredibly popular in the summertime. Off-the-shoulder necklines work best with a strapless bra.
The one-shoulder neckline is as it sounds. This style can be curved or kept straight across the chest to under the arm. Depending on the type of garment, one-shoulder pieces can be sleeveless or have a long sleeve. This neckline suits being paired with a choker or short chain necklace. This neckline style is often seen in formal or evening wear, jumpsuits, going-out tops, dresses, and swimwear.
A plunging neckline is considered one of the sexier necklines because it accentuates the décolletage by cutting down towards the belly button or below. This style is often seen in evening wear, dresses, tops, jumpsuits, and swimsuits.
Named after Queen Anne, this neckline is trendy in the bridal industry and is commonly seen in wedding dresses or formal gowns. Not an everyday style, this neckline consists of a flattering sweetheart bodice with sleeves on either side wrapping around the back of the neck. In fast fashion today, this style is sometimes used in tops or dresses with ruching.
Round neck or Crew neck
As the name suggests, the round neck or crew neck is a simple, rounded shape many people can wear. This style neckline is trendy and commonly seen on t-shirts and other clothing. Round neck styles are great layering pieces. Try pairing a spaghetti strap dress over a round neck T-shirt in Spring to stay warm.
A scalloped neckline consists of convex curves around the neck. The neckline can be shaped in a V-neck, round, scooped, one-shoulder or plunging style. This neckline is very labour intensive to sew, but it will look elegant. It is best constructed from sturdier, woven fabrics or with interfacing to help keep the curved shapes in place.
A scoop neckline is like a round neck but is more scooped in shape, making the neckline sit more profound on the chest. There can be many variations of a scoop neckline depending on the fabric, shape and finishing of the neck edge. A scoop neckline reveals more than a round neck by emphasising your collarbone area. This is a great style to wear to relaxed work environments.
A spaghetti strap neckline has two straps on either side, holding the garment in place. The neckline shape itself can vary from square neck, sweetheart, cowl, or curved. Many styles are designed with spaghetti straps in many kinds of fabrics. It is not uncommon to find strapless styles that have removable spaghetti straps.
Split Crew neck
Split crew necks are the same as a round neckline (crew neckline), but they have a split in the front. This is a style feature that adds interest to a simple neckline without it being too extreme. It can be paired with tiny buttons and loops to close or as a design feature. This neckline is often seen in men’s and women’s t-shirts or singlets.
A square neckline adds a lovely contrast to curves and elongates a short neck and narrow shoulders. This neckline can work well for bigger or smaller busts. Square neckline tops, blouses and dresses have become very popular over the last few years.
One of my popular sewing patterns the Chloe maxi dress has a square neck style that is paired with spaghetti straps.
A strapless neckline is indeed a strapless top. Strapless tops or dresses cut across the top of the chest and under the arms. This style can be formal or relaxed, depending on the garment style. It is popular in womenswear as knit bandeau tops to wear to the beach or out to parties. Strapless styles are usually made in knit fabric or woven paired with elastic to keep it up. Strapless corsets have many seams, which include boning inside of them to hold the garment up around the body.
The surplice neckline is a crossover style that mocks a V-neck shape. One side of the front will cross over the top of the other. This is a flattering style of neckline for most body shapes. A surplice neckline is seen in many tops, including knitted styles and dresses.
The décolletage is accentuated by the sweetheart neckline’s delicate lines across the body. The middle of the neckline resembles a slight V-neck, which some designers have emphasised, creating a classic, timeless look. Wedding dresses with sweetheart necklines are popular in the bridal industry. This neckline is often paired with an illusion neckline to create a strapless style.
Tie Bow neckline
A bow neckline can be with or without a collar. With a collar, the bow neckline ties up under the collar at the front. If without a collar, the tie is sewn onto the neck edge to tie at the front. This neckline style is classic and elegant. It is seen on blouses appropriate for workwear or formal occasions.
Turtleneck (High Neckline)
A turtleneck or high neckline wraps around the neck and sits below the chin. It is common for turtlenecks to be folded down if there’s excess fabric or bundled up just below the chin to keep warm in cooler seasons. Black long-sleeve turtleneck tops are popular among women in Winter as they can appear slimming. This neckline is often used on jumpers, knits, and sweater dresses.
A U-shaped neckline is cut in the shape of the letter “U”. It sits deeper than a scoop neck and comes straight down towards the bust, often showing a small amount of cleavage. A U-shaped neckline can be more flattering than a round or scoop neckline. This neckline is mainly seen on T-shirts or singlet styles made from knit fabrics.
A V-neck is made up of two lines dipping down into the shape of a “V.” This neckline is very flattering for many body shapes and is seen a lot in men’s fashion, also. The V-neck can change depending on the angles of the “V”. The deeper the “V”, the more cleavage that may be revealed. A V-neck style can vary depending on the garment choice. For example, a V-neck can be paired with spaghetti straps as a singlet style. V-necks can be found on knitted jumpers, vests, t-shirts, dresses, and singlets.
I have designed my Sylvie blouse sewing pattern to include a flattering v-neckline. This style of blouse is extremely popular for its relaxed, boho vibe when made in light cotton or linens.
To Sum Up
It can be disheartening to spend hours sewing a top only to find out you hate the neckline on your body. Now that you understand how each neckline fits and works on the body, you can choose the best types of necklines for your body shape.
By gaining this knowledge on necklines, you will be able to choose the correct sewing patterns and clothing for you with ease.