Variety and fashion go hand-in-hand, and that applies to necklines, too! Necklines are a great piece to play and experiment with for designing tops. You can go for function and practicality or focus on style and appearance–any everything in between! Necklines are one of the most defining features of a top, which is why they’re so great to work with, and you can use them to make a huge statement for your ensemble.
We’ve collected together some of the most popular and common necklines styles and drawn up examples to compare and contrast below. Take a look and share your thoughts on your favorite designs with us!
A very common neckline, especially with store-brands. Circular in shape and has a flat collar that rests close to or on the clavicle. You could consider it one of the basic types of necklines, because it’s basically a neckline without a defined collar.
This type of neckline can be great with almost any fabric, but is often found on knit shirts.
Another common neckline where the front half of the collar is angled down the center to form V-shape. It, too, is a common store-brand-type neckline and is usually a dressier design that the SCOOP NECKLINE.
These can be made in many types of fabrics, but it’s especially good at keeping its shape in structured fabrics. The appearance is crisp and clean, making it very appealing and sharp!
A neckline that drops a little lower than a SCOOP or V-NECK NECKLINE and is basically a wider version of a SCOOP NECKLINE. It rests below the clavicle and is great for accentuating the chest. Because of the open space over the chest, these necklines are great for showing off necklaces as a statement piece!
Like the V-NECK NECKLINE in that it has a strong, defined shape to it. A SQUARE NECKLINE dips down and has the sharp structured outline of a square. Goes well for stiff fabrics, designs, and garments.
A neckline that is free at the shoulders and arms, is open at the back, and hangs from the neck alone. This is a common design in all kinds of garments from shirts and dresses to bathing suits. It’s a very feminine kind of neckline that looks great when showing off the shoulders and back.
The strap around the neck can be detachable or a single piece, and is sometimes closed with ties and a bow. This design is used for both shirt and dress tops.
ASYMMETRICAL NECKLINES can vary in design. Some have a neckline paired with a strap, others have one side with a cut-out, or even a single-strap design—the list can go on. The point is to have the two sides designed differently, hence the asymmetry.
These designs are great for more modern and stylish looks.
MOCK NECK NECKLINES have necklines that come up very high and sit above the clavicle, and they are finished with a thin, standing collar. These necklines are different from the turtle-neck collar design; the collar does not fold over.
These necklines sit lower than a MOCK NECK NECKLINE and have a flat collar that is more like a ribbed-knit trim. They look like the necklines of pullover sweaters and resemble a SCOOP NECKLINE. These are worn for comfort and are usually not incorporated into fancier designs.
Like a HALTER NECKLINE, but with an attached back. These necklines are a more conservative design, but they still retain the classy appeal. A high-standing collar paired with a HIGH NECK NECKLINE is a stunning look that is also great for showing off one’s arms.
BOAT NECK NECKLINES are another feminine design. Tops with this neckline rest from the shoulders and have a wide opening for the neckline that hangs just a bit in the front and back in a kind of bowed shape. This is where the “boat neck” image comes from, as in the underside of a boat.
It’s a very elegant garment style that uses the larger volume of fabric to help the wearer look smaller and more petite.
Like an over-sized turtle neck design, a COWL NECKLINE sports a huge and loose collar that sits around the neck. The collar of these necklines is usually very long when stretched out, but they are intended to sit gathered around the neck.
It’s a very comfortable style of fashion that’s great for knits and other soft-handed fabrics.
ILLUSION NECKLINES are one of the more decorative types of necklines that play with empty space. Paired with low-laying necklines, the empty space between the upper breast line and up to the neck is usually filled in with a sheer or see-through kind of fabric like lace or netting.
These necklines also sit low and are exactly what their name implies: necklines without straps. The actual shape of the neckline can vary (like STRAIGHT to SWEETHEART NECKLINES), but STRAPLESS designs are identified as any neckline design not supported with straps.
Support for these types of necklines come instead in the form of things like boning, close-fitting cuts, and elastic.
A neckline that literally goes straight across the chest. This neckline doesn’t usually reach up to the clavicle or actual neck on the wearer, but sits just under the arms. It’s a popular design choice for dresses and gowns as a strapless design, but it’s also paired with spaghetti straps just as often.
A strapless neckline design that gets its name from its “heart-shaped” hemline at the top of the bodice. These are often used on dresses and gowns as well as corsets and are especially popular for wedding gowns.
A PLUNGE NECKLINE is a neckline whose straps or front-facing bodice cuts deep down the middle of the chest to under the breast line. It’s not exactly a type of cut-out, but it does incorporate exposure into the design. This is a design that’s popular with gowns and dresses, and its straps are often gathered together, giving the cups of the shirt or dress top a pleated look.
What neckline designs have you incorporated into your projects before? Or if you haven’t worked on shirts before, what necklines would you like to learn how to make or work with?
The term “boat neck” comes from the shirts French sailors from Brittany were required to wear starting mid-19th century. The widely open neck made it easier to pull off the shirt (heavy with seawater) if the sailor fell overboard.