The InStyle Guide to Every Type of Neckline

Crew, halter, sweetheart — we explain 'em all.

The InStyle Guide to Necklines

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A neckline is an underappreciated outfit detail: There are endless variations, and each can frame your face and set the tone for your outfit in completely different ways. From your basic crew to a skin-revealing deep V to a polished turtleneck, here’s the ultimate guide to some of our favorite necklines and how to make them work for you.

Crew Neckline

Jennifer Garner in a crewneck top

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A classic for T-shirts, sweatshirts, and more everyday basics, a crewneck is a high, round, and collarless cut. 

How to wear it: There aren’t many ways you can’t wear a crewneck, since this straightforward style looks good on everyone and with practically anything. Keep it super simple for a streamlined aesthetic, or layer it with necklaces, scarves, jackets, and more. 

Sweetheart Neckline

Selena Gomez in a sweetheart neckline

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This necklace gets its romantic name from its heart-shaped plunge, and is often seen on strapless gowns or blouses with dramatically puffed sleeves. Thanks to the cottagecore trend, you can find it popping up in vintage-inspired, dreamy silhouettes everywhere.

How to wear it: If you want to embrace this ultra-feminine style without going too twee or retro, try it in a bodycon fit with neutral accessories.

Strapless Neckline

Yara Shahidi in a strapless neckline

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This sleeveless style straight up dominated bridal style in the aughts, and another Y2K strapless staple, the tube top, has been making a comeback in the last year. 

How to wear it: If you want to try the silhouette without feeling overly exposed, try slinging an open jacket over a strapless sundress.

V Neck

Brooke Shields in a V-neck

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This popular plunging neckline can go from a casually sexy T-shirt to a verrrrrry sultry red carpet gown — and may require some double-sided tape depending on how deep you decide to go, from a touch of skin to full JLo (or in this case, Brooke Shields).

How to wear it: Make a deeper neckline work for a daytime outfit by pairing it with a simple hairstyle and casual accessories. Plus, v-necks make a great showcase for your favorite necklaces.

Scoop Neck

Quinta Brunson in a scoop neck dress

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Think a rounder neckline like the crewneck, but wider and lower so it shows off a bit of collarbone, and maybe even the smallest hint of cleavage.

How to wear it: Depending on the surface area your scoop neck shows, it can be worn day or night. Like a v-neck, scoop necks also offer an opportunity to show off your necklaces (though we love a “naked neck” moment too).


Ashley Park in a turtleneck and shorts suit

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There’s no real mystery as to how this one got its name, but it tickles us nonetheless. The high neck is the best way to stay cozy and look chic at the same time.

How to wear it: A chunky knit turtleneck is great for staying warm, but a lighter weight version makes a great layering piece underneath dresses, jumpsuits, or other tops in milder weather.

Halter Neck 

Aubrey Plaza in a halter top and suit

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A shoulder-baring style with straps that fasten behind the neck. This style has retro vibes from both the Y2K era and the ‘70s.

How to wear it: Lean into the nostalgia with some low-slung jeans, or layer it under an oversized suit for a more modern take. Either way, we recommend skipping any necklaces and letting this statement neckline speak for itself.

One Shoulder

Reese Witherspoon in a one-shoulder dress

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As the name suggests, this style involves a strap or sleeve on one shoulder only. The top or dress cuts across the chest, revealing the opposite shoulder and arm. It's a great way to show skin without revealing any cleavage.

How to wear it: Because a one-shoulder silhouette creates a sharp angle across the body, it's best to let the neckline shine on its own, skipping any necklaces. That said, it's a great moment for a statement earring.

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