Popular Neckline Styles for Clothing

In preparation for learning to sew, I have been studying the industry terminology for the different cuts of clothing styles.  Today’s lesson was necklines.  I had no idea there were so many!  I’m a t-shirt and jeans kind of girl on most days.  So, I was familiar with crew-neck and v-neck styles, but I learned a lot of new things that I’d like to share with any of you out there who are also beginners at this.

Audrey Hepburn wearing a bateau neckline dress.

Bateau Neckline

Named after the French word for boat, this cut is also called a boat neck and refers to the wide neckline that runs horizontally across the the collar bone.   It typically stretches about halfway across the shoulders and has the same shape on both the front and back of the garment.  They were made popular by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Audrey Hepburn.  It eventually became nicknamed the Sabrina neckline because of a famous dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in the movie Sabrina.

This gown has a portrait style neckline.

Portrait Neckline

Portrait necklines feature a shaw-like strap that wraps around the shoulders.  It is similar to the Bateau neckline except that it falls approximately one hand breadth from the collarbone.  This is, in my opinion, one of the most classic cuts in women’s fashion.

Jewel Neckline

Jewel Neckline

It gets its name because the style is often selected to provide a backdrop when showing off a particularly special piece of jewelry.  A Jewel neckline closely circles the base of the neck and completely covers the top of the torso and shoulders.

Front and Back of a Halter Dress

Halter Neckline

This neckline consists of two points of fabric that rise up from the bodice of the garment and attach around the neck, typically by tying.  The Halter neckline works well when creating a backless style shirt or dress.  It provides support for the garment without needing to connect material over the shoulders or back of the torso.

Sweetheart Neckline Evening Gown

Sweetheart Neckline

Named because its shape resembles the bottom of a stylized heart, a shirt or dress with this neckline typically has a high cut back and low front line.  This is a very flattering cut for almost any woman.

An Empire Neckline Dress

Empire Neckline

The Empire neckline is square and has a distinctive horizontal coverage of the breasts.  It is most flattering to average-sized to well-endowed women because it provides balance and makes the neck appear longer.  I have a very petite frame and can tell you first hand that this neckline does not do much for my body type.

Queen Anne Neckline

Queen Anne Neckline

As evidenced by the name, this neckline was popularized by Britain’s Queen Anne.  It is characterized by a diamond-shaped opening of the chest area.  Those of you who are on the “A” squad with me this is the best cut for us.  It makes our upper half appear a bit larger by drawing the eyes to the horizontal line along the right and left points.

There are certainly many more than simply these 7, but I’ve found these to be some of the most common.  I’m partial to the Queen Anne and Portrait necklines.  I think they create some of the most flattering lines and have a very classy, timeless look.


About Jessica Van Sickle

Aspiring fashion designer and avid style explorer. View all posts by Jessica Van Sickle

2 responses to “Popular Neckline Styles for Clothing

  • aubrimichelle

    hey i found this amazing book at F.I.T. in NYC; i’ve found it incredibly helpful. it’s called Me and My Sewing Machine: a beginner’s guide by kate haxell.

    • Jessica Van Sickle

      Thanks so much for the reco! I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent on Amazon trying to decide what the best beginner’s sewing book would be to pick up. There are so many! It’s great to have one recommended by someone who’s used it successfully before. Thanks again!

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