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Wedding Gown Guide: Necklines

Updated on September 12, 2008

Before you got engaged and started looking for a wedding gown, you may not have realized how many different types of necklines you would have to choose from. Each type of neckline makes a different statement and can accentuate or hide problem areas above the waist. Below you will find the 11 basic types of necklines you will find when you are shopping for your wedding dress and some tips for choosing the best neckline for your body.


An asymmetrical neckline is one that is different on one side. This dress is a good example, since you can see that one side is strapless and the other has a strap with a flower accent.

This type of neckline is great for someone who has narrow shoulders. A woman who already has broad shoulders will not look best in this neckline, as it will bring attention to your shoulders and make them look even broader.

Most often, you will see an asymmetrical neckline that is sleeveless, but I have also seen a few dresses that have a sleeve on one side and is sleeveless and strapeless on the other.

Bateau or Boat Neck

A Bateau or Boat Neck design has straps that connect on the end of the shoulders and a short scoop that goes just under the collarbone. This is not a low cut design, but can bring attention to a beautiful long neck or collarbone area.

If you have a large bust and want to diminish it a little bit, this is a great neckline, as it will draw the eye up to your neck and shoulders.

You can find the Bateau neckline with almost any type of silhouette, but it is commonly found on A-Line and Ball Gowns. If you want to cover up a bit more, you can also find a Bateau neckline that has sleeves.


A Halter neckline has straps that connect around the back of the neck. You will find the Halter neckline paired with a scoop neck or even a dipping V-neck, depending on what level of coverage you are looking for.

Halters do not have sleeves but can usually be found will all types of silhouettes from ball gowns to mermaid dresses.

This type of neckline looks best with a bride that has nice arms that she wants to show off. Also, instead of straps going straight around, the drawn in straps will look great on tall women with broader shoulders. If you have narrow shoulders or a really big bust, this type of neckline can often make you look too thin in the shoulders or off balance proportionately.

High Collar

The High Collar neckline is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. It has a collar that comes up high on your neck, creating a more formal look.

This style of neckline covers your check, so if you are wanting a more demure look, try this neckline. It can be paired with sleeves or can be sleeveless. Also , the collar part can be a lace or sheer cover that reveals the skin underneath, still giving a formal and conservative feel to any dress.

If you love this collar but still want to be sexy, look for one that has an open back or even a keyhole design in the front to reveal just a bit of your chest.

This type of neckline can look good with almost any silhouette as well as most body types.


A Jewel neckline is very similar to a High Collar neckline, but the difference is that instead of going up higher on your neck, the Jewel just follows the curve of your neck around.

The way that a regular t-shirt will have just a simple round hole that goes around your neck is the way that a Jewel neckline works, only more elegant of course.

This neckline is great if you are looking to enhance a smaller bust, especially if paired with a sleeveless ball gown. If you do not like to show off your arms, however, you can find a Jewel Neckline that has sleeves as well or even a bolero or coverup for your arms.

Off The Shoulder

An Off The Shoulder Neckline is one that has straps or sleeves that hang off of the shoulders, revealing the entire upper area of your collarbone, shoulders and some of the chest.

A variation on this style is the Portrait cut, because of the way that it draws attention up to your shoulders and face.

This neckline looks best with a larger bust, and might only serve to make a small bust look smaller. If you have broad shoulders, this is not the neckline for you, as the wide expanse of skin from shoulder to shoulder will make your shoulders look even more broad.


A Scoop Neckline has a U-shape. This is a very versatile neckline that can be found with or without sleeves and paired with almost any silhouette.

Depending on how much skin you want to show, you can go with a Scoop that is deep, which will show off a larger bust and will look very sexy, or you can opt for a smaller Scoop that just shows your collarbone and the top of your chest area.

It can also be paired with a Halter style of straps or just a regular strap.

The Scoop Neckline looks great with almost all figures!!


Very much like the Scoop above, the Square Neckline has more crisp lines, with a straight line at the cleavage instead of a Scoop.

Also like the Scoop, a Square Neckline will be good for all figures and can be low-cut or more modest, depending on how much skin you want to show. When paired with opera length gloves, the Square Neckline can be very formal and elegant.

You can find Square necklines on dresses with sleeves or without, and with almost any style of silhouette.


One of the most popular necklines in recent years is the Strapless. Just as it sounds,it does not have any strap, and therefore no sleeves or fabric above the line of your underarms.

Since you will show a lot of skin on your upper body with this style of neckline, it draws attention to your arms, bust and collarbone area. If you are at all self-conscious about these areas, this might not be the best neckliine for you.

Brides with toned arms look best in this type of neckline. Any size bust will look good in this dress, just make sure you can find an undergarment that gives the proper amount of support if you are well-endowed.

Strapless necklines can go straight across or be more scooped in the front and look amazing with ball gown and A-line silhouettes.


The Sweetheart neckline arcs over each breast, creating a shape like the top of a heart. You will mostly see this neckline paired with Strapless dresses like the one shown here. However, I have also seen wintery Sweetheart Necklines with long sheer sleeves as well as spaghetti straps.

This style of dress is great for brides with a large bust who want to really show it off. Paired with a ball gown or A-line, it will look beautiful. A sheath or Mermaid silhouette paired with a strapless Sweetheart gown will look nice, but definitely will be on the sexy side of wedding attire!


A V-Neck plunges into a V-shape between the shoulders, and is a very versatile design. It can be paired with long sleeves, short sleeves, a Halter Neckline, and Off The Shoulder dresses.

If you have smaller breasts, a plunging V-neck paired with a Halter can work to create the illusion of larger breasts. Also, slightly less deep V will look amazing with larger busts, giving support as well as accentuating your curves.

V-Necks can be found with any style and silhouette of wedding gown, looking great with ball gowns as well as sheath, giving you a variety of designs to choose from.

Thank you for looking at this guide to Wedding Gown Necklines! Please check out my other hubs on Wedding Gowns and Wedding Planning. Best wishes to you in your search for the perfect dress!


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      noel 9 years ago

      that was so beautiful when i seen i love it! hi to all americans i am from philippines and noel baser is my name

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      rechelle 9 years ago

      your gown are very nice,actually i want to order for my wedding this coming december 29 2008.