Making a short neck appear longer or sizing down a long neck is simple with a few wardrobe and accessory guidelines. The neckline you choose, along with men’s and women’s accoutrements ranging from neckties to necklaces, helps create a visual illusion that balances out your natural features.

Swaddle the Neck to Shorten

To make your neck appear shorter, swaddle it in fabric, add a bulky knit or tie things up with a knot. A turtleneck, high-collared blouse or high shawl collar can all create this effect. The flowing folds of a cozy cowl-neck sweater or top can make a neck appear shorter unless the fabric drapes into a low neckline. A short scarf wrapped around your neck with ends that don’t trail down the length of your body helps to lend a shortened look. Details that hug the neck, such as ties and ruffles, will also keep it from looking longer.

Find a Happy Medium

Some styles can just slightly affect neck length or act neutral. A crew-neck sweater or top, which curves along your collarbone, will help your neck look shorter by visually cutting your neck from your torso, but the effect isn’t as extreme as a high collar. How you wear a button-down shirt also affects how your neck looks simply by how many buttons you leave undone: hugging the collarbone keeps a shorter-looking neck, while unbuttoning the top few gives a longer-looking plunge. To keep your neckline from interfering one way or another with the illusion of neck length, pick a bateau or boat neckline that skims the body from shoulder to shoulder. The horizontal line draws attention to your neck as it is.

Take the Plunge to Lengthen

If you’re looking for a longer neck, the optics are easy to achieve. The plunging point of a V-shaped neckline draws the eye downward, creating the illusion of a longer and slimmer neck. If you’re dressing on the more conservative side, add a skin-skimming camisole close to your skin tone under a V-neck. You can also achieve this elongating effect with a wide scoop neck. If you’re working with a collared shirt, opt for a flat design with as little pomp or detailing as possible to keep the neck from looking too short. When the temperature drops and you need to add a scarf, try a long graceful style that can loop easily around your neck and drape down your body.

Hair, Accessories Affect Length

It’s not just the style of clothing that flatters the length of your neck. Monochromatic colors from head to toe create a longer line, the neck included. Long, thin earrings that dangle against your skin help elongate a shorter neck, as do long necklaces as opposed to chokers. Hairstyles that hit at the base of the neck cut a line that makes a short neck appear shorter, while a shorter cut or long hair creates a longer line. Longer necks are flattered by hoop earrings and shorter necklaces and can better pull off hairstyles that hit at the collarbone.