Different Types of Neckline and Their Respective Benefits

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About this Guide

As the word 'neckline' suggests it refers to the uppermost edge of a garment which usually surrounds the neck. When it comes to writing the descriptions for the items we list via our eBay Store we inevitably have to describe the neckline a particular garment has, this is not always as easy as it might sound! If you find this guide interesting/helpful then please do give it a thumbs up, we spend a fair amount of time putting these guides together so it's always good to hear what people like so we know where to concentrate our efforts!

In women’s fashion there are a lot of different types of neckline, each seeking to create a specific effect for the person wearing the dress, whether it's to increase the size of the bosom, to display varying amounts of cleavage or simply to achieve a greater degree of comfort. In this guide we explore some of the more commonly used necklines and consider the merits of each.

The Plunging Neckline

This is a reasonably common neckline that is found on both tops and dresses, as the name suggests it consists of a low cut area at the front which allows for varying amount of cleavage to be displayed. When describing a plunging we prefer to add a little more detail and would normally describe the shape as having either a 'V', a 'square' or a 'U' cut.

The example shown to the left consists of a 'U' cut plunging neckline that is then merged to a steep 'V' cut plunge to allow for a little more cleavage to be displayed. It's about accentuating your features not simply putting large amounts of flesh on display!


The Scoop Neckline

Scoop necks are very similar to a 'U' cut 'Plunging Neckline'; however, they usually have a much deeper cut and are not uncommonly found on things like T-Shirts, with a recent trend making them very popular especially in men's fashion.

A scoop neck tends to allow for more cleavage than a 'U' cut plunging neckline would, but as you will appreciate where we draw the distinction between the two can be a bit blurry. As in the example shown opposite from our store you'll notice that unlike in the plunging neckline example a lot more cleavage gets displayed.

Scoop necklines are ideal for a slightly more flirtatious outfit and are often seen in dresses aimed at the clubwear market.


The Boat Neckline

A Boat Neck is a much wider neckline that is usually cut into a shallow 'U' shape which often passes the collar bones and hangs on the shoulders. It creates an elegant look and is often seen in cocktail and evening dresses.

A very modest neckline that is ideal for those situations where you want to show a bit of flesh but where it is probably less appropriate to display large amounts of cleavage. It is rarely seen in less formal attire.

In the example shown a boat neckline is formed by a lace overlay on top of a solid black strapless dress.


The Off-the-Shoulder Neckline

Often referred to a 'strapless neckline' these necklines are similar to the 'Boat Neckline' except they hang entirely off the shoulder. They normally hangover the arms below where the shoulder ends; however, when referred to as a 'strapless neckline' this would normally imply the the neckline passes under the arms.

We often describe these necklines as having a bandeau look, with the word 'bandeau' coming from the French word 'bande' meaning a stip of cloth, due to the fact the can have a look similar to simply having the garment wrapped around you.

This is an ideal neckline for to accentuate the shoulders and neck of the wearing and often lends to a very elegant look.


The Keyhole Neckline

A keyhole neckline can have two different meanings traditionally and perhaps more technically, it should refer to a neckline that is similar to a halterneck but instead of the strap of fabric going directly around the next it crosses over at the front before then looping around with the effect being a small gap is created resembling a keyhole. This style of neckline has become increasingly uncommon.

Usually when we refer to a garment as having a keyhole effect we are simply making reference to the fact that it has a small hole usually just below the collarbone mimicking the effect created by the traditional 'Keyhole Neckline'

These necklines allow for a very modest about of cleavage to be displayed but more than anything they simply add a little more detail to the garment.


The One-Shoulder Neckline

This is another neckline that lends itself perfectly for a more formal look. Unlike most necklines the one-shoulder neck isn't symmetrical and it is this asymmetry that can give a dress a really striking style. 

It's a good neckline to allow for a modest amount of flesh to be displayed, and especially draws attention to the wearer's neck and uncovered shoulder due to it's asymmetrical nature.



The Halter Neckline

The halterneck is a style of neckline that features a strap of fabric running around the neck to hold the garment up. They come in varying styles but the main aim for the halterneck is to leave the wearers back uncovered.

They are generally considered to be more provocative than other styles because of the amount of flesh they allow to be displayed. Halterneck are ideal for less formal settings for when you want to retain your modesty yet because they leave much of the middle and upper back and your shoulder blades exposed they can still make for a tastefully flirtatious look.


The Sweetheart Neckline

The sweetheart neckline is all about accentuating the bosom, it usually formed from two downwardly concaved pieces of fabric which end up resembling a heart shape. The neckline usually stops near the top of the bosom and this is why they are so effective at really drawing attention to that part of the body, without the need to display vast amounts of cleavage.

It is not uncommon for a sweetheart neckline to be combined with the halterneck which leads to a slightly more risqué, yet elegant look. Allowing the wearing to make the most of their neck, back, shoulders and bosom.



The Surplice Neckline

A surplice neckline is when two pieces of fabric overlap to form the neckline in a similar way to show a bathrobe loo ks when it is done up. This creates a very flowing effect and is equally as well suited to both formal and casual setting s.

In the example shown a sweetheart neckline is formed using the surplice technique which adds an extra flare of elegance to the dress.

Necklines can be further embellished by the addition of things like lace or a cowl to soften the overall effect. As you can see it's not always easy to put one particular design into a discrete category and there is a certain degree of overlap. But we hope that we've helped you find out a bit more about the various styles, our main advice; however, would be simply if you like it then it doesn't really matter what it's called!

Please feel free to browse our eBay store for more examples than those detailed above, if you found this guide interesting/helpful then please do give it a thumbs up so we know what to write next!
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