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Neckline Know-How

Clothes and accessories that accentuate the positive

spinner image Neckline Know How
Enhance the appearance of your neck with an open V-neck shirt and a long, eye-catching necklace.
Linzy Slusher/Stocksy

Give your thin-skinned, saggy, crepey neck a break! That super-flexible stem is busy holding up 10-plus pounds of brain, hair and bones, a dazzling smile and pretty damn fabulous unique features.

It's time to stop comparing ourselves to turkeys and E.T. — or hiding in turtlenecks. You don't need a nip and tuck either — just the right necklines and necklaces to keep your chin up.

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Unbutton shirts and blouses just above your cleavage

The open V turns your collarbones and upper chest into a visual extension of your neck, elongating it by inches. Try round-neck cardigans, too. Undo the top three buttons to an open V and button the bottom half (leaving the last one undone). You can also:

Leave your throat bare, with no necklace (best for wide, short necks).

Tuck delicate gold or silver chains of any length inside the V to give dry, sun-damaged skin a hint of sparkle.

Sling one or more midriff-length necklaces (20-plus inches) outside the V for extra lengthening.

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Rely on bold statement necklaces

Forget chokers. The whopper neckpiece is our style-making, neck-distracting BFF. Three kinds to have:

An oversized pendant. Legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland wore a giant tusk on a long chain but varied the length with a trick, transforming the same necklace to a Y or collarbone style. You can do it, too, with any long necklace. Hold the necklace lengthwise to form two parallel strands, wrap the doubled strands around the neck like a scarf, then pull one end through the loop before adjusting to your preferred length and let the ends dangle.

A bib necklace. Cate Blanchett's massive turquoise bib by Tiffany & Co. at the 2015 Oscars was a glamorous riff on baby-food catchers. Low-cost combos of jewels, baubles and chains that massive make any T-shirt, tunic or dress with a higher neck more flattering, framing your face with color and light. Use extender link closures to adjust the length to above, at, or just below the collarbones. (Check JCPenney, BaubleBar, HSN and Target.) It's like being Iris Apfel without trying.

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Torsades. These chunky twisted ropes of pearls or beads pair well with tailored clothes and any high-neck dress. Check out the websites of Unicef USA and NOVICA, in association with National Geographic, to do good while looking great.

Choose wide, shallow necklines

Display enough neck and collarbone to update basic T-shirts, jersey dresses and knits. Check front and side views. Three of the best options:

Boatnecks. Striped Breton T-shirts have made this modest but sexy neckline that exposes a narrow sliver of skin at the base of the throat a hit. Works best with long necklaces.

Cowl-necks. These work like a softly wrapped scarf. Play with the folds to create asymmetrical or off-shoulder looks — and no necklace, please!

Broad V's. This style is a good backdrop for combining trendy fine chains with charms or small pendants of varying lengths — from 14 to 18 inches.

All good reasons to stick your neck out!

For more beauty and style tips for women 50+, check out The Woman's Wakeup, How to Shakeup Your Looks, Life and Love After 50 and AARP's Beauty & Style for tablets.

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