Whether you want a snappy blouse to wear to the office or the perfect dress for your wedding, picking the right neckline will highlight your best features. The challenge is that you have dozens of different necklines to choose from! Check out this complete guide to types of necklines to learn which one will work best for you.
The most popular necklines for shirts include crewneck, V neck, and Y or Henley necks. Neckline styles for blouses include the Bardot, scoop, and gathered neckline. Dresses can feature various styles like a cowl, sweetheart, Queen Anne, or pleated necklines.
In this article, you will learn what a neckline is. You will learn about the three basic types of necklines for shirts and dresses. Finally, you will discover the 69 most popular styles of necklines.
69 Types of Necklines
The sixty-nine most popular types of necklines all feature unique shapes like circles or diamonds. The term “neckline” is used exclusively for women’s clothes. It means the shape of the cutout your head goes through in a garment.
The three basic types of necklines include shaped, round, and V styles.
Shaped necklines can have elaborately shaped edges that form diamonds, asymmetrical forms, or other silhouettes. Rounded necklines can form a simple circle at the base of the throat or a wide curve that reaches all the way off the shoulders. V-shaped necklines can form a basic V, have a tiny slit at the base of the throat, or plunge deeply down the torso as in a blazer style.
An asymmetrical neckline has a different shape on one side of the neck from the other. It often features cutouts or a shoulder strap on one side, and a full sleeve and closer-fitting neckline on the other side. This dramatic style looks good in formal clothing.
A banded neckline has an edging in a contrasting color all the way around the shape of the neck opening. Some henley-style shirts also use this banded finish, though in this case, the band forms the Y-shaped cutout at the center front of the neck.
A Bardot neckline forms a straight line from just below the tops of the shoulder, across the collar bones, and around the other shoulder. It has an elastic gathering of fabric around this off-the-shoulder line as well. An actress named Brigitte Bardot made the style famous in the 1950s, which is how it got its name!
A bib neckline has a U-shaped piece of contrasting lace or fabric sewn into the garment at the center front of the neck. The bib often features a row of decorative buttons down its center, mimicking an old-fashioned dress style.
A blazer neckline in a shirt or dress has a deep crossover style, often featuring folded-over edging or lapels like a blazer. The idea of merging a more formal business style with this sexy look creates an interesting contrast that may seem daring and stylish.
A boat or bateau neckline forms a high, slightly curved line across the front of the chest, just barely covering the tops of the shoulders. Unlike a Bardot neckline, though, it does not go off the shoulders. This style looks good on people with a rounder midsection who want to make their shoulders look larger.
A bow or tie neckline has a small, narrow V-shaped slit at the throat and two long ties extending from either side of the neck to form a loose bow at the front of the shirt. This classic style remains popular for both blouses and dresses.
A cage neckline looks like the bars of a cage made out of fabric, crisscrossing over the skin of the upper torso, neck, and shoulders. Often the woven strips of “cage” fabric meet at a tight, choker-style strip around the neck. As you might imagine, this look has a sexy and fashion-forward style.
A camisole neckline copies the shape of the classic women’s undershirt with a completely straight line across the body at armpit height, and straps over each shoulder to hold it in place. This style can feature thin spaghetti straps or wider shoulder straps.
A cardigan neckline has a closefitting rounded edge around the throat, sometimes trimmed with lace or jewels, but it always opens at the throat with a row of buttons. This style features most often on actual cardigan sweaters, but you sometimes see it on dresses as well.
A choker neckline forms a tight circle around the neck and sometimes features contrasting fabric to the dress, such as a strip of velvet, lace, leather, or even beading. You often find this style paired with cutouts in the throat or shoulders of the dress to create a greater contrast.
A cold-shoulder neckline has cutouts at the corner of each shoulder or bare shoulders with shoulder straps over each collarbone. This is a new style that reached peak popularity in the past five years. Recently, the peek-a-boo look has trended in everything from formal dresses to casual t-shirts!
Many dress and shirt necklines have an attached collar. A collar always consists of a separate piece of fabric stitched onto the neck of the garment. Collars can have dozens of different styles ranging from vintage and cute, like a Peter Pan, to modern and chic, like a Barrymore collar with deep points on a button-down shirt for the office.
A convertible neckline or collar can fold over to look like a collar or lapel or lie flat and button closed over the front of the chest or throat. It does not have an attaching seam like a true collar and is made all out of the same piece of fabric as the dress or top.
A court style is a shaped neckline with a neck opening with the shape of a diamond. The point of the diamond may plunge deeply down the chest or the diamond shape can rest higher on the chest. You see this style on form-fitting formal dresses or in some fancy dress gowns like wedding gowns or ball gowns.
A cowl neckline has folds of fabric draped in a loose rounded shape. This casual style comes from cutting out extra material above the neckline in a bias or diagonal cut across the fabric, which drapes well.
Crewnecks form a circle around the base of the neck with a ribbed knit fabric. This is the classic t-shirt style neckline and one of the most popular casual shirt styles ever.
A crisscross or crossover neckline has multiple thin straps of material crossing over the upper chest and shoulders. Sometimes you even see this style with just two wide bands of fabric crossed over each other and then stretching over each shoulder. It makes a trendy style best suited to casual dresses or tops.
A crochet neckline can have a rounded or square shape, but it always has a band around the edge of the neck opening and crochet threads like open lace between the band and the body of the shirt or dress.
A decollete style means a deep V-shaped cowl or plunging neckline. It is a general term that just means a deeply cut neckline that reveals a certain amount of decolletage.
A diamond neckline forms more of a hexagonal shape, but the crisp angles give it a jewel-like appearance. This shaped neckline can form a larger opening and plunge deep down the decolletage, or it can fit more closely to the neck in a small hexagonal shape.
A drawstring neckline has a hollow casing around the outline of the neck opening threaded with a cord or ribbon. You can find this style on cute chemise dresses that tie in a bow at the front or in hoodies and hoodie-style shirts that use a cord as the drawstring.
An empire neckline can have several different low-cut styles, all designed to pair well with the high waistline of an empire-line dress. Empire line dresses have a waistline that sits just below the curve of the bust, elongating the lower body. To highlight this, empire necklines usually lie just above the bust, either in a strapless style or deep V crossover style.
An envelope neckline features two small diagonal flaps that extend over the back of the shoulder to the front and often fasten with buttons. This creates a large neck hole when you undo the buttons. It has a casual style and is a look you see in some knit women’s tops and many children’s and baby clothes.
A florentine neckline has a deeply cut square shape with edges that reach almost to the tips of the shoulders. This style comes from way back in history with the Renaissance-era dresses made popular in Florence, Italy. You still see it today largely because it had a resurgence in peasant blouses in the 1970s.
A foldover neckline features a folded-over edge around the outline of the neck hole. This can form a broad off-the-shoulder style in which a deep three-to-four-inch band of fabric folds over. Or it can form an asymmetrical cowl around the neck, as seen in some sweaters with a folded-over neck.
A funnel neckline has a tube of fabric extending up around the throat in a single piece of fabric, with no seam connecting the tube to the garment. This can extend up into a full folded-over turtleneck, or it can extend up just an inch or two around the base of the throat.
A gathered neckline has excess fabric pulled into a smaller shape around the neck, using gathers, elastic, ruching, or a drawstring. This can have a form-fitting shape, an off-the-shoulder shape, or a ruffly shape pulled in with an elastic band.
A Grecian neckline looks like a sleeveless X of fabric, with an upside-down V reaching down over the chest and a right-side-up V of fabric wrapping to either side of the neck. You find this style most often in formal wear like prom dresses or wedding gowns today.
A halter neckline has a shoulderless style, like an upside-down V leading to a band of fabric wrapping around the throat. Halterneck shirts almost always feature a backless style, with that choker-style band of fabric serving as the only means of holding the shirt onto the upper body.
A halter strap or tie neckline looks like a halter style, except that it has straps or ties reaching up to tie behind the back of the neck. This look works for formal gowns and informal tops made of stretchy knit fabric.
A henley-style neckline usually has a band in matching fabric circling a rounded neck opening and a 3 to 5-inch placket opening at the base of the throat. The placket may feature 2 to 5 buttons. You sometimes see this style on a V-shaped neck opening for a more daring and low-cut style.
A high or high-low neckline has a collar-like band rising around the back of the neck but cuts away to a V-shaped or rounded opening at the front of the neck. This is a unique type of asymmetrical style because it looks different in the back and front rather than side to side.
A horseshoe neckline forms the shape of a horseshoe at the front and back of the neck, pinching in at the shoulders. It looks like a U-shaped style except that a U-shape has parallel lines at the shoulders, while a horseshoe shape starts to circle back inwards at the top of the horseshoe. Usually, horseshoe necklines have pretty small, close-fitting neck openings.
An illusion neckline has a low-cut line in a sweetheart or camisole shape in the garment fabric and then a transparent lace or mesh section of fabric that reaches from the top of the bodice over the shoulders. This creates the illusion that the neckline lies just above the bust, but the garment fully covers the chest and shoulders.
A jewel neckline is similar to a crewneck except that it does not typically have a ribbed edging, and it often forms a slightly larger circle around the neck to leave room for a necklace. This term gets confusing because some people consider it a collar studded with decorative fake jewels. Technically, you should call that style a “jeweled neckline” instead.
A keyhole neckline can have many different outlines around the neck hole, such as square, rounded, or Bardot, but it always has a cut-out shape below its center front. This shape cut out of the fabric looks like a keyhole in a door, though the actual cutout can have many different shapes, like a teardrop, a diamond, or a triangle.
A layered neckline can mean two or more shirts on top of each other, with a portion of the top neckline revealing the shirt beneath. It can also mean a shirt with fabric in a contrasting color filling in part of the neckline, as in a V-neck shirt with lace or fabric filling in the point of the V.
A Mandarin neckline or band collar has a section of fabric standing up in a close circle around the base of the neck, often with an opening at the front. This style has its origins in Asian dress but has global popularity today.
At first glance, a mitered square neckline looks like any square neck opening, but it has special corners. The band ending the square neck hole will have diagonal seams so that each corner meets perfectly at a 90° angle.
A mock neck is a type of funnel neckline that does not have a tall enough tube of fabric around the neck to fold over on itself like a turtleneck. You also see this style called a “mock turtleneck.”
Popular styles of off-shoulder necklines include Bardot, gathered, and foldover cuts. The important element with each of these styles is that the top edge of the neck opening circles the upper arm and does not rest on top of the shoulder.
A one-shoulder neckline is an asymmetrical style that features one shoulder strap or sleeve and then a deep sleeveless plunge to the armpit on the other side of the bodice. This dramatic style appears most often in formal clothing like ballgowns.
A paper bag neckline has lots of fabric gathered or pleated into a choker style around the neck. The bunched-up extra fabric looks kind of like the scrunched top of a paper bag, which is how it gets its name. This style often features tiny button fastenings or long ribbon ties at the back of the neck.
A pleated neckline has a series of diagonal pleats angling from the bust to the rounded neck opening. This removes the extra fabric from the wider area of the bodice at the bust and allows it to taper into the much smaller neck hole opening.
A portrait neckline has a wide, scooped shape that barely remains on the tips of the shoulders and cuts deeply across the chest. You sometimes see this look paired with a foldover style to accent the shape of the shoulders and collarbones, especially in wedding gowns.
A plunging neckline has a point that ends low down on the chest, usually either in a narrow V shape or in a crossover or blazer style. In some extreme fashions, plunging necklines can reach as low as the navel. You can also find low-cut styles such as low scoop necks, but these usually do not “plunge” as deeply as a V-shaped neck opening can.
A Queen Anne-style neckline has a banded collar around the back of the neck and a low sweet-heart style line above the top of the bust. This shaped neckline is one of the most formal styles you can find, usually reserved for ball gowns and wedding dresses.
A Queen Elizabeth neckline looks similar to a Queen Anne cut, but it has cap sleeves and sometimes a V-neck or diamond shape instead of a sweetheart opening at the front of the neckline. This mimics the style of dress Queen Elizabeth II wore for her coronation and has a formal appearance.
A racerback neckline has a small neck opening with either a crew or a V-neck in the front, and then straps that cross each other at the back of the neck. This style appears most often in athletic wear and tank tops.
A ruffle neckline has ruffled trim along its edge. The ruffle can match the body of the garment or use a contrasting color. Another more formal style of ruffle neckline, called a jabot style, has a ruffle that falls in a waterfall from the base of the throat.
A Sabrina neckline is a wider version of a boat style, made famous by Audrey Hepburn in her role in the film Sabrina. Some informal knit tops rock this style, but you often see it in wedding dresses. It has a soft, elegant appearance rather than a super sexy style like more deeply cut necklines.
A sailor neckline pairs with a sailor collar, a square flap hanging down the back of the shoulders and a v-shaped opening at the throat in the front. This style comes from navel uniforms and is often used for a vintage, Edwardian-looking style in women’s clothing today.
A scalloped neckline has half-circles cut out of the fabric along the neckline, like the ridged edge of a scallop shell. Sometimes the scallops round out into the neck opening, and sometimes they form an inverse scallop with the half circles cut toward the garment instead.
A scoop neck has a deep, rounded curve and a loose fit. This informal style can make your neck look longer. It can also highlight your bust if you wear a deep scoop neck cut.
A shawl neckline or shawl collar is like a soft, folded-over collar that reaches down and becomes lapels running down the front of a garment. It looks like you have a shawl draped over your shoulders. In vintage-style clothing, this can also mean a large rounded lace collar draped over your shoulders.
A slit neckline has a narrow, vertical V-shaped opening at the base of the throat, like a slash in the garment. You see this most often in fitted, lined dresses such as pencil dresses for business wear.
A spaghetti strap neckline usually has a straight line above the top of the bust like a camisole top and features two thin straps over the tops of the shoulders that look like spaghetti noodles. The tiny straps leave your shoulders bare and draw attention to your upper torso.
Strap V Neck
Another version of a spaghetti strap style has a deep V-neck in the front, thin spaghetti straps over the shoulders, and a rounded neckline at the back. Many flowy summer dresses made out of sheer printed fabrics feature this style.
A strapless neckline has no sleeves or straps, and a top edge that runs under the armpits and above the top edge of the bust. Strapless necklines can form a straight line or have a shaped neckline like a heart-shaped sweetheart line over the chest.
Several different styles of necklines have a straight line across the front of the body, including camisole, some strapless, and some wide square styles.
A surplice or wrap neckline has a bodice that wraps across itself and leaves a V-shaped opening at the front. Some tops with this style open fully like a bathrobe and tie together at the waist. The name comes from a style of loose clerical garment.
A square neckline forms vertical lines down your shoulders and has a straight line over your collarbones or the top of your bust, like a half square.
One of the most popular styles for wedding dresses and prom gowns, a sweetheart neckline forms a double curve like the top of a heart at the front of the chest. This style can feature a deep V at the center of the chest or pair with other styles like a formal Queen Anne with a high collar at the back of the neck.
A tucked neckline has small decorative folds of fabric around it. Some styles of shirts or dresses use pintucks and multiple rows of vertical folds stitched into place.
A turtleneck is a style of funnel neckline that reaches all the way up the throat to the chin and folds over on itself to come back down to the shoulders. This style looks good in soft ribbed knits or in sweaters.
A U-shaped neckline is similar to a scoop style, though it has a half-circle-shaped curve at the bottom and parallel lines running up the shoulders.
V-shaped necklines come in many styles, like a wrap, ruffle, or plunging neckline. A basic V-shaped style is just an inverted triangular opening at the front of the neck.
A yoke neckline is cut into the yoke of a garment, which means a separate piece of fabric is sewn onto the top of a bodice. A yoke often has a curve seam crossing over the top of the bodice.