Susan Miller

·Master of Fine Arts in Jewelry Design, Pratt Institute, 2012

·Bachelor of Arts in Gemology, University of California, Los Angeles, May 2005

·Editor-in-Chief, White Victoria (2018 - present)

·Write and research feature articles and profiles for print and online publication

·Contributing Writer, Modern Jeweler and Ornament

·Write and publish freelance articles for IGS and WSJ Magazine

·Jewelry Appraiser (2012 - 2020)

There’s nothing quite as regal and timeless as wearing pearls—just look to any classic movie star or ambassador of style in the 1950s, and you’ll know it’s true. From Coco Chanel to Jackie O, pearls have the power to elevate an outfit from merely stylish to absolutely breathtaking. 

But how can you make sure yours are statement-worthy? As a fashion stylist and jewelry expert, I saw many women wearing pearl necklaces incorrectly. Some chose the wrong necklace length or didn’t pick the right necklace for their particular outfit.

Pearl Necklace

That’s why I put together my top Dos and Don’ts list for wearing a pearl necklace with class, confidence, and style. I’ll share all the tips and tricks needed to pull off a classic, sophisticated look that speaks volumes about your fashion prowess! So let’s dive right in.

Dos of Wearing a Pearl Necklace

As I have already mentioned, pearl necklaces are timeless, elegant, and stylish pieces of jewelry that can be dressed up or down. They offer sophistication, charm, and sophistication to any outfit without being too flashy. 

But, for many people wearing pearl necklaces can be intimidating. So, here, I’ll provide some advice on how to wear them right. 

Choosing the Right Length and Style

Necklace length and style can have a powerful impact on the whole look. However, when it comes to pearl necklaces, you’ll want to ensure they don’t overpower your outfit or hang too low.

So, here are some tips on how to choose the right necklace length and style.

Choosing the Right Length

Pearl Necklace

The first tip for wearing a pearl necklace is choosing the right length. Necklace lengths usually range from choker style (14-16 inches) to opera style (28-36 inches). 

Choker styles are often thought of as more formal. In contrast, longer lengths, such as princess style (17-19 inches), matinee style (20-24 inches), or opera style (28-36 inches), are considered more informal or casual. 

Pearl Necklace

You should also consider your body type since petite women may feel overwhelmed by longer lengths. In comparison, taller women may find shorter lengths too short.

The best advice is to try on different styles and lengths until you find the one that looks best on you! 

Choosing the Right Style

The second tip is choosing the right style. There are three basic types of pearl necklaces – single-strand, double-strand, and multi-strand. 

Pearl Necklace

Single-strand pearl necklaces typically feature one long string of pearls with some variations, such as knots between the pearls to add texture or color to the piece. 

Double strands feature two strings with similar beads or different-sized pearls, which add volume. In comparison, multi-strand necklaces create a statement piece with three or more strings that can take any outfit from day to night instantly.

Pairing Pearls with Different Outfits

Pearl necklaces can be a great accessory for any outfit. Whether you’re dressing up for a work or just going out for lunch with friends, pearls can add that touch of elegance and sophistication. 

Pearl Necklace

Here are some tips on how to pair pearl necklaces with different outfits:

Formal Wear

Opt for longer lengths, such as an opera style (28-36 inches), for formal wear. Single-strand pearl necklaces look great with dresses, tuxedos, and suits. 

Pearl Necklace

Double strands also work well with formal attire, especially if you wear an open-neckline dress. 

But remember to keep the length proportionately to your body type – shorter women may want to go for something shorter. In comparison, taller women can opt for a long double-strand necklace.

Casual Wear

Pearl Necklace

For casual wear, try a simpler single or double strand with varying sizes of pearls and colors such as pink or black. 

Pearl necklaces in choker style (14-16 inches) are great if you want something subtle yet eye-catching – this length works well with T-shirts and blouses alike.

Business Wear

Pearl Necklace

Finally, when it comes to business wearing pearl necklaces lends an air of sophistication without being too over the top. 

Single strands with matching earrings look great when paired with pantsuits and blazers – make sure the length isn’t too long; otherwise, it may distract from your outfit. 

Or go for a classic choker-style necklace that adds just enough pizzazz to your outfit without removing its professional aesthetic.

Accessorizing with Your Pearl Necklace

The next important “DO” is accessorizing with your pearl necklace. Here are my top four tips that will help you choose the perfect accessories for your pearl necklace.

1. Match Your Necklace with Earrings

Pearl Necklace

Firstly, choose complementary earrings that match the size and color of your pearls. Smaller pearls work well with studs, while larger pearls look great when paired with longer dangle earrings. 

Additionally, if you’re looking to add a bit of sparkle to your look, adding some crystals or rhinestones will bring an extra layer of sophistication to any outfit.

2. Take Into Account the Color of Your Accessories

Pearl Necklace

Secondly, choose neutral colors when pairing bracelets and rings with your pearl necklace. Silver and gold tones will complement the classic look of pearl necklaces without taking away from their elegance. 

If you’d like to add some color, consider mixing in pieces with colored stones such as aquamarine or tourmaline – this will give your accessories an interesting and modern twist!

3. Don’t Forget About Texture

Pearl Necklace

Thirdly, don’t forget about texture when accessorizing with a pearl necklace. 

Adding straps or braided metal bracelets will give your ensemble an edge without overwhelming the beautiful simplicity of pearls. 

Also, pairing different materials, such as leather and copper, together creates a unique yet stylish look!

4. Keep It Simple

Pearl Necklace

Finally, keep it simple and avoid over-accessorizing. Too many pieces can confuse the overall effect and take away from the beauty of pearls – stick to one statement piece, such as a chunky ring or cuff bracelet that complements but doesn’t overpower your necklace!

Maintaining Your Pearl Necklace

Once you know how to wear and accessorize with your pearl necklace, it’s time to learn how to take care of it. 

Pearl Necklace

Pearls are very delicate and need special attention to keep them looking their best. Here are some common tips on how to take a proper care of your pearl necklace:

Cleaning Your Pearls

When cleaning your pearls, use a soft cloth and lukewarm water with a few drops of gentle dish detergent to remove any dirt or grease. 

Make sure to rinse them thoroughly afterward with clear water and let them air dry naturally before putting them away – do not use toothbrushes or hard brushes as these can damage the surface of the pearls.

Storing Your Pearls

To store your pearls, wrap them in a cloth or soft tissue paper and place them in an airtight container like Tupperware. This will help protect the delicate gems from dust, moisture, heat, & sun, which can all damage them over time. 

Pearl Necklace

Additionally, make sure that you change out the tissues once every six months so they won’t absorb any oils from your skin, which could dull the brilliance of your necklace.

Handling Your Pearls

Finally, when handling your pearl necklace, always hold it by the clasp rather than the strand itself – this will ensure you don’t accidentally break it! 

Furthermore, refrain from spraying perfume, lotion, makeup, or hairspray directly on it, as these chemicals can discolor and weaken the metal of the clasp, which holds everything together.

How to Wear a Pearl Necklace

If you’re searching for the best way to accessorize with your pearl necklace, these tips will help you achieve the finest look!

Drape Style

Pearl Necklace

The drape style is perfect for highlighting your décolleté or the open neckline of a dress. Simply drape the necklace between your collarbones to draw attention to your upper body and bring an air of sophistication to your look. 

When going for this style, opt for longer-length necklaces, as they will usually compliment the draping effect more easily than shorter strands.

Layering Style

Pearl Necklace

For a layered look, layer up several different styles of pearls, including multiple lengths and sizes, to create an interesting yet elegant ensemble. 

To achieve this look, start with one long strand followed by two shorter strands, then finish with a choker, and you’ll be ready to go!

Choker Style

Pearl Necklace

The choker style adds a modern twist to your traditional pearl ensemble, simply loop the necklace around your neck and let it sit close against your skin like a choker – this will give you an edgy yet sophisticated look that is sure to turn heads. 

Then, to further enhance your ensemble, pair it with matching earrings for added drama.

Don’ts of Wearing a Pearl Necklace

Not every pearl necklace is for every occasion, and there are some important don’ts when it comes to wearing such a piece. I’ve gathered the most common mistakes people make when wearing a pearl necklace and how to avoid them.

Avoiding Common Mistakes

Pearl necklaces are timeless pieces of jewelry that can enhance any look. However, it is easy to make mistakes with pearls that can detract from the beauty of this accessory. 

Here are three common mistakes to avoid when wearing pearl necklaces:

Wearing Pearls with Sports or Athletic Wear

Pearl Necklace

Pearls are best suited for formal occasions, as their delicate and feminine aesthetic does not jive well with sports or athletic wear. 

If you want to dress casually while still sporting your necklace, it is better to opt for more muted colors, such as grey or navy blue, so the pearls won’t clash too much.

Wearing Pearls with Overpowering Prints

Keep the necklace simple when wearing prints such as polka dots or floral patterns. The goal is to have an ensemble where neither overpowers the other; otherwise, your look will be off-balance and awkward. 

Pearl Necklace

A good rule of thumb is pairing prints with either a single-strand pearl necklace or no neckwear.

Wearing Pearls with a Busy Neckline

To draw attention to your face rather than your neckline, try opting for more simple styles of tops like collared shirts or v-necks without too much detailing around the neck area. 

Pearl Necklace

This way, all focus will be on your beautiful pearl necklace!

What Not to Wear with a Pearl Necklace

Pearl necklaces are elegant and timeless, but wearing them incorrectly can easily ruin your ensemble. Here are some not-to-dos when sporting pearl necklaces:

  • Avoiding Large and Bold Necklaces – Opt for more delicate and subtle styles of pearl necklaces, as anything too large or showy will clash with the classy vibe of pearls. Instead, stick to single strands or shorter lengths to keep it dainty yet still sophisticated.
Pearl Necklace
  • Avoiding Clashing Colors – As pearls come in various shades, picking colors that flatter each other rather than clash is important. A classic color combination is white (or cream) and black. But if you want to be bolder, opt for pastel shades such as pink or baby blue.
  • Avoiding Heavy and Chunky Necklaces – Heavy and chunky jewelry pieces will detract from the elegance of wearing pearls. So it is best to stick with less bulky styles such as long strings or multi-strand designs.
  • Avoiding Shiny Materials – Jewellery made from materials such as gold or silver can overpower the delicacy of pearls, so try opting for more muted metals such as bronze, steel, or titanium instead. These will help bring out the luster of your pearls without overshadowing them!

These are just some of the dos and don’ts when it comes to wearing pearls – remember, they are delicate yet timeless pieces that can be worn in various ways, so experiment and find what suits you best! 

Pearl Necklace


So, now that you know the dos and don’ts of wearing a pearl necklace, you can take your look to the next level! Pearls are a timeless accessory that can add a bit of elegance to any look – just be sure to pick pieces that flatter each other rather than clash. 

Following these guidelines will help you wear your pearl necklace with confidence, no matter the occasion. Remember to experiment and find what suits you best. Good luck! 


How often should I clean my pearl necklace?

For best results, clean your pearl necklace at least once a month. Use a soft cloth and warm water. Don’t forget to rinse off any residual soap afterward!

Can I wear my pearl necklace in the shower?

No, you should not wear your pearl necklace in the shower, as you can damage the pearls and accelerate their aging process. Take them off before showering and store them in a safe place. 

Can I wear my pearl necklace to bed?

While there is nothing wrong with wearing your pearl necklace to bed, due to the delicate nature of pearls, they can easily get tangled in your sheets or your hair. So it is advisable to take them off before you go to sleep. 

Are pearl necklaces suitable for all occasions?

Yes, pearl necklaces are suitable for all occasions. Whether you’re attending a wedding or just going to work, different types of pearl necklaces can instantly elevate your look. 

How do I know if my pearl necklace is real?

A sure way to tell if a pearl is real is by testing its surface: real pearls have an uneven texture on their surface, while fake ones will have a perfectly smooth one. You can also take your pearls to a jeweler for further examination.