How To Find the Most Flattering Neckline For Your Body

Did you ever wonder how to find the most flattering neckline for your body?

As I’ve been paying more attention to the clothes that I feel good in (and those that I don’t) I’m realizing that finding the right neckline for my body is critical.

How To Find the Most Flattering Neckline For Your Body

V-neck // halter // crew // ballet // square // sweetheart // U-neck // turtleneck // scoop

I’ve known for a long time that I don’t look good in tight crewnecks or turtlenecks. V-neck and scoop-neck tops are better for me, but not even those are created equal. I prefer a wider/deeper neckline to a narrow one, and I definitely can’t do a super deep V.

But why?

What makes a wide V-neck or wide scoop neck top flattering on my body? And more importantly, how do you find the most flattering neckline for your body?

V-Neck Tee

Houston stylist and fashion show producer Todd Ramos says this: “Often when an outfit doesn’t work, it’s because of the neckline.” [source] So this topic is definitely worth exploring.

While I’ve figured out what works for me, and I think I have a pretty good idea why, I did some research so I can share what works for other body types as well. There are actually a few factors to consider when trying to find the right neckline for you.

Let’s discuss.

How To Find the Most Flattering Neckline For Your Body

#1. Facial Shape.

I have a long, narrow face, so a wider neckline helps offset the narrowness of my face, whereas a deep V can make it appear longer. If you have a round face or square-shaped face, a deeper V-neckline will help elongate your face. Oval face shapes aren’t limited by much of anything, but read on because there are other factors to consider.

#2. Neck.

I have a short neck, so crewneck tops and shorter V-necklines accentuate that.

crewneck tee

A wider, deeper neckline increases the amount of exposed skin, which extends the line of my neck, making me appear slimmer and taller.

Wide V

I think this is why I don’t like layering sweaters over button-down shirts. All that bulk in the neck area does me no favors.

If you have a longer neck, you can get away with crewnecks and turtlenecks as well as boat necklines.

#3. Shoulders.

I have broad shoulders, so a tighter, narrower neckline will make my shoulders appear even broader. A wider neckline helps compensate for the width of my shoulders and looks more natural. Plus, showing your collar bones is always flattering.

wide neck

If you have narrow shoulders, the same rules apply, but in the inverse. A crewneck or turtleneck will help your shoulders appear wider. You can also wear deeper V-necklines and scoop neck tops, whereas I prefer a wider neckline.

Incidentally, a square neckline also helps elongate a short neck and narrow shoulders, but if you have a square-shaped face, you may want to avoid this neckline.

square neckline

Turtlenecks look best on people with longer faces, thin necks, and narrow shoulders. A smaller chest also helps. Which brings me to #4.

#4. Chest.

Mother nature was quite generous with me in this area, ahem. I have to be careful that my necklines aren’t too low or they will be revealing, but if they are too high, “the girls” tend to look saggy.

If you are smaller chested, you have a lot more flexibility with necklines. You can certainly rock a V-neck of scoop neck top, but you are also free to wear crewnecks and turtlenecks.


#5. Torso.

See #4. If you have a thick or short torso, a more open neckline helps detract from the thickness of your waist and draws the eye upwards towards your face.

#6. Hips.

Yes, even hips play into this. If you’re a pear shape, a ballet or boat neckline will help offset the appearance of wide hips since it follows the curve of the collarbone.

ballet neck top

If you have narrow hips and you’re bigger on top, you may want a deeper, narrower neckline to help elongate the upper body.


I didn’t address other necklines, like strapless and halter and heart-shaped necklines. Here are a few rules of thumb to guide you.

  • Halters cut broad shoulder lines up and add curves.
  • Heart-shaped necklines are generally recommended for curvy women with larger chests because it gives coverage while still enhancing our shape.
  • Strapless dresses and tops usually look best on women with smaller chests and narrow shoulders.
  • Off-shoulders cut the figure horizontally, and are recommended for women with larger busts as well as for women with narrow shoulders. Because I have broad shoulders, I generally steer clear of this style.

At the end of the day, figuring out the best necklines for your body may take some trial and error. We all have different combinations of features, so each woman has to figure out what works best for her.

When I saw a picture of myself in this top is when I had my epiphany. I’ve been paying close attention to my necklines ever since.

Casual Weekend Outfit: baseball, ripped denim, AG Ankle Leggings, Converse Shoreline, Converse All Stars, Chucks

From now on, when buying tops and dresses, I’m trying to find necklines that are wider and deeper, but not too wide or too deep. Ha! It’s a balancing act.

That isn’t to say that I’ll never wear another crewneck, but the ones that made the cut and stayed in my closet are the ones that are slightly wider and deeper than a traditional crewneck. I also like to compensate for a higher neckline by wearing a long necklace.

Turtlenecks are not my friends either, but I do still wear them on occasion because they’re so cozy and warm. I try to choose ones that I can pull down to show SOME of my neck, but the better alternative is a cowl neck because it creates a vertical line that elongates the body. A mock neck is another good option for those of us with shorter necks.

mock turtleneck

So how about you?? What’s the most flattering neckline for you?

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48 Responses

  1. This post is so helpful! Thank you! In addition to wider necklines, I like button ups because I can adjust the neckline and it adds to my smaller chest area while complimenting my broad shoulders and wide rib cage!

  2. I’m a small “busted” pear 😉 A lot of V-necks make the ladies disappear or look sad. In my opinion my best necklines are: boat neck, high cowl neck, halter neck, high crew neck or a round neckline as long as it’s not toooooo deep or wide. Small, tiny v-necks work.

    Have a great weekend!

    Alex – Funky Jungle

  3. Totally agree on the importance of the neckline – I look terrible in anything up too close to my neck, collars or turtlenecks. Cowl necks work thankfully….

  4. A very informative post! I keep focusing on my legs (making legs look longer) but hadn’t thought about neckline. Thanks!

  5. My two cents: I think a boatneck or modified boat neck is flattering on most people. My shoulders are more narrow so a boatneck helps with that, plus I think it’s aclassy way to show a little bit of skin. It is amazing though, how the neckline can make or break a look!

  6. Great post Jo-Lynne. Now I know why I have always hated turtlenecks. By the way, everything looks better with a really good bra. One that lifts and in my case minimizes will make or break any top. Thank you so much for the post. Happy Valentine’s Day!

  7. Thanks for this… I have many of the same figure issues on the top that you do… broad shoulders, well-endowed, shorter neck. I have figured out that the necklines you listed that you like are also the ones I liked, but it is nice to know the “why”

    1. I use double sided fashion tape to secure my wide neck shirts to my bra straps so they don’t show. I buy mine online at Amazon, but any fabric store should have it.

  8. Glory be, like a science. I love ballet or boat neck. Did I make up ballet neck?? I have had two neck surgeries that have left me with battle scars and crepey skin that should be covered up with a turtle neck I can fasten over my chin. Great tips here. Maybe if I determine what’s best for me, the neckline will actually draw attention away from my neck.

  9. I must love a boat neck because I have many in my closet and they look nice with jewelry too. I like the deep V of a button down shirt with a cami or tank underneath but I am small chested so it seems to work. Ballet necks are also a favorite and look so elegant to me – I should have more of them.

  10. So many great tips and I totally agree with you on the turtlenecks and layering sweaters over button down shirts. I tend to stick with v-neck everything. Having limitations on necklines can be frustrating but ya gotta work with what God gave ya! Great information!

  11. Thank you, this is a great post! But what I really need is for someone to tell me what shape face I have, how wide are my shoulders, what type is my body shape, etc!!! The only two things I do know for sure is I have a long neck and smaller boobs!!! ????☺️

  12. Thanks for great post! I rarely wear anything but V-Neck. I have a short neck, broad shoulders, large chest, short waisted and overall I am short. So, turtlenecks and high collars give me the short, dumpy, ski slope effect. It took me years to figure that out. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until a close friend pointed that out.

  13. Great topic and excellent discussion on the matter. You covered all the bases and found perfect examples to illustrate the points you made. The appearance of a neckline can sometimes be chanced by a necklace or scarf so I don’t always rule out a less flattering one if other elements of the top/dress really look good.

  14. Very informative post Jo-Lynne! Because I am hot natured, I don’t wear many turtlenecks. Something else I take into consideration is my skin. I have a lot of moles all over my shoulder area and torso, so the less skin I show, the better. I have never been one to show “my girls,” and now that they are larger due to Cushings Disease, I am even more self conscious about how my tops fit. I’d say my longer neck nod shorter hair does give me a little more flexibility.

    Have a blessed day!

  15. I have a short neck and narrow shoulders. I never wear turtlenecks or crewnecks, and I don’t like collared shirts. Any open, V or scoop neckline is good for me.

    I’ve read that a crew neckline makes the bust-line look larger, and is better for small chested women.

    Great topic!

  16. What an excellent and useful article. Like you, reason #4 has dictated v-neck and scoop-necks for me for years, but I hadn’t actually considered the width of either until reading this. I’m headed to my closet now to see if that’s the reason I prefer some over others. Thanks!

  17. Such a great and thoughtful post full of great information, tips and examples. Thanks JoLynne.

    Have a great Valentine’s Day weekend! Ada. =)

  18. Thank you! This is a great post with lots of good information! I’ve found as I’ve gotten older (61 next month!) and am carrying extra weight (that I need to get rid of!), my shoulders are more rounded, so I really have to watch my neckline. I stay away from raglan sleeves as well, it makes them look even worse. My biggest challenge with the necklines is finding one that isn’t too deep. Many of today’s basic tops just seem so low cut, both crew & v-neck. When I was 37, I had a mastectomy & have somewhat of a concave profile on my right side. So when I wear a v-neck and stand sideways, you can see that concaveness. (Not sure if that’s a word!). I love boat necks, but they can be a challenge as well, if they are pretty wide. You can see my bra straps, which are pretty wide! Out of all the necklines mentioned, the square works perfectly for me, but you really don’t find a lot of tops with that type neck.

  19. JoLynne,
    As always I find your fashion advice so helpful. I had a general idea of the neckline effects but your advice really focused me on what styles are more flattering to my looks. Going forward I will zero in on the neckline issues. Thank you for your valuable recommendations.

  20. Great information! Being petite, I don’t like any neckline that closes me up. I tend to wear scoop necklines. They’te elongating. I always like some skin showing on me.

  21. I am in my forties and just found out recently that I look most attractive in a wide V neck! I don’t know what took me so long to figure this out…I used to buy shirts because of the color or pattern or material and wondered why I didn’t like how they looked on when I thought they were so pretty on the hanger! I have a thin face, so the wider neckline helps balance that out……now I know what to buy and what NOT to waste my money on. Took me long enough!

    1. I have had that SAME realization in my 40s too!! That is why I wrote this post. I am still drawn to other necklines but I try to remember to buy a wider neck – either v neck or scoop neck. 🙂 Glad it was helpful!

  22. This is super helpful! I know I’m a crew neck and turtleneck fan but I never knew why, it seems it’s due to my narrow shoulders, I definitely look more balanced this way. The best thing on me is a crew neck t shirt with a padded shouldered blazer which widens my hips. My chest is a bit too big for the crew/turtleneck but I’ve found minimising bras/crop tops underneath give a better outline than a typical t shirt bra. It’s a minefield! 

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