If you were to browse through Instagram, TikTok, or the editorials of your favorite publications, you’ll find plenty of folks whose accessorizing skills seem far more advanced than simply wearing one necklace at a time. Instead, they’ve employed the playful neckline stack: A combination of two or more necklaces in coordinating (sometimes clashing) lengths, materials, weights, and colors, to create a final look that’s greater than the sum of its parts. But before you go piling on pieces willy nilly, take note that there’s some method to the madness of how to layer necklaces.
Alyssa Sutter practically has necklace-layering down to a science. While the stylist is already accustomed to creating unique looks for her clients, Sutter is also the founder and designer of Omnis Studios, a young gender-free jewelry brand that’s become especially popular for its charm-detailed designs. "I would say most necklaces are capable of stacking in multiples," she ensures. "It just depends on how much of a statement you would like to make and how you can best balance out each necklace to complement each other."
That said, even when working with bolder designers—like Sutter's mushroom-charm necklace that boasts Justin Beiber as a fan—there are several routes to creating a unique necklace stack for a harmonious look, not a hodgepodge. Ahead, Sutter shares her five tips for the best ways to wear multiple and varied necklaces all at once.
Meet the Expert
Alyssa Sutter is a fashion stylist and the the founder and designer of gender-free jewelry brand Omnis Studios.
Start With a Two-Strand Stack
If you’re a necklace-stacking newbie, feel free to take baby steps and start with a two-strand blend. “My suggestion for stacking an impactful two-necklace combination would be to have each chain be similar in thickness and, if you have a charm necklace, that one should lay on the bottom,” says Sutter.
Whether two or six necklaces, this stylist's approach is generally to mix pieces in varying textures, thicknesses, and lengths. This ensures there’s plenty of dimension and your jewelry won’t end up in one clump. “For a subtle, ‘everyday’ stack, I recommend mixing styles that are close in thickness and length," she says.
DIY a Statement Necklace
The current charm-necklace trend brings a bit of playfulness and nostalgia to your look—be it with fruits, veggies, or a smattering of colorful baubles—and it doesn’t need to be worn solo. If you prefer, follow Sutter’s lead and tailor the statement accessory to your own liking.
“I personally love mixing metals and thickness to create a look that feels new and fresh,” she says, sharing her latest necklace combination. “I am currently wearing a thick sterling silver puffed mariner chain with a thinner ball chain that has colorful mushroom charms on it from my unisex jewelry line, Omnis Studios. The way the chains lay together makes it look like it could be one big statement necklace."
Choose a Dominant Metal
“A good rule of thumb when it comes to mixing metals is to pick one metal as your dominant and the other metal should be a subtle compliment,” suggest Sutter. For a more natural approach, she recommending adding a small dose of contrast in your necklace stack, or simply wearing an earring of a different tone to balance the whole look. “It is always best to mix metals across the board so you’d want to mix metals with your necklaces, rings, and earrings if you have multiple ear piercings.”
Mind Your Lengths
Stacking goes beyond gold and silver chains with pearl and beaded necklaces that combine to create a cool, mixed-medium approach to accessorizing. In order to avoid tangled-up results, Sutter says that you should make sure what you’re wearing has marginally different lengths. “Making sure each necklace is laying stacked and not in one big clump is going to look the most flattering. For example, if you have a pearl necklace at 16 inches and a charm necklace at 18 inches, a simpler necklace would look best laying under those two for balance and framing of the more statement pieces.”
Opt For Adjustable Necklaces
Finally, a very practical piece of stacking advice: Look for necklaces that give you some personalization. “A little trick I use while stacking necklaces is clasping chains on a shorter link to find my desired length,” says Sutter. “Sometimes a necklace is made at 18 or 20 inches but I want it shorter to complete my stack.”
Necklaces that have multiple clasp options or fasten with a ribbon or string will allow you to determine exactly where they’ll fall on your neck or collar bone, and therefore, which other pieces will pair best with them.