How to Stack Your Necklaces to Keep Them from Tangling

Raise your hand if you’ve accidentally snapped a necklace trying to get it untangled.

By: Amy Sciarretto

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The layering trend isn’t just about clothes. Case in point: One of the coolest looks is stacked or layered jewelry. You can easily pile gobs of bracelets on your wrists or multiple rings on each finger to look cool AF with minimal effort. But stacking your necklaces? Now, that’s a challenge.

Stacked necklaces are sexy and fun. When done right, you can mix materials (gold and velvet), lengths (chokers and long strands), and thicknesses (wide and flat cuffs with thin and braided chains) to add a funky dimension and depth to your OOTD. It’s the ultimate in smart accessorizing.

Stacking necklaces isn’t easy, though, since the strands tend to tangle. You can go the entire day without touching your stack of necklaces, yet they still inevitably end up intertwined and ensnared.

While the layered-necklace look is totally on point, removing the individual pieces or re-arranging them is cumbersome, and you end up with knots or—even worse—damaged and destroyed pieces.  It’s a true fashion frustration. But don’t let fear of The Tangle deter you from owning this trend.

These are the golden rules of loading your neck up with multiple strands so you can slay that layered look and #StopTheTangle. Go forth and stack with confidence.


Decide What Statement You Want to Make

Determine what statement you want to make with your accessories. If you are aiming for edgy, stylist Naima Turner Fleming suggests pairing a choker and a link chain. If you want to make a classy statement with a hint of fierceness, “try mixing a necklace that has a gem with a delicate choker,” Fleming tells Bustle.

Photo: Courtesy of Topshop

Play with Length

It’s always best to mix long and short necklaces to #StopTheTangle. “Choose one long necklace and then add shorter necklaces to complement it,” says Philadelphia-based stylist Susan Padron. “The contrasting lengths will prevent tangling and look chic.” Stephanie Jenkins of Styled By Noir suggests building stacked looks around a choker because “you start with one really short layer and it most likely will not touch other chains and stay tangle-free!”

Photo: Getty 

Consider Weight

Dina Scherer of Modnitsa Styling suggests mixing it up with length and weight when stacking necklaces to achieve overall balance. “Choose varying necklace lengths and weights when layering, measuring about 1 to 2 fingers apart when worn,” Scherer states. “All the necklaces will have a chance to lay flat, instead of rolling onto each other.” To balance the weight of the stacked necklaces, select pieces with a stone or pendant detail. That will weigh them down and keep pieces separate. “If you’re mixing multiple lightweight chains without pendants, it’s best if they’re in varying thickness,” Scherer says. “There is more chance they will stay apart that way.”

Photo: Getty 

Mix Materials

Mixing materials, like pearls with chains or metals with leather, is crucial for the layered look. Not only does it add depth and dimension, but it keeps the necklaces from coagulating. “Wear a thin bar choker made of metal or material such as velvet, and layer it with a long chain,” Fleming says. “If the aesthetic of the necklaces is harmonious and one doesn’t overshadow the other, then it’s an ‘untangled’ win-win.”

Photo: Getty

Thicker Is Better

Thin chains usually end up as a knotted ball, so get a little chunky when layering. “The thinner the necklace, the more likely tangling will be a problem,” says David Greenhauff of David Jewelry Miami. He suggests layering with thicker necklaces, like rope chains. Super chunky gold chains, like the Cuban and Franco link, are “trendy” and “super easy to layer.”

Photo: Courtesy of Gallery Byzantium

Personal Space

Kristina Smith of Gallery Byzantium recommends giving necklaces space to exist so they don’t encroach on one another’s turf. “One necklace should be closer to the base of the neck—typically a 14- to16-inch chain for most women,” Smith notes. “The second should hit at the clavicle at around 18-20. The third should land at the breast at around 24,” Jenkins concurs since necklaces that “lay differently on your neck” prevent tangling. Choosing “some wider and some that lay lean and long will help with them not touch each other as much.”

Photo: Courtesy of Amy Sciarretto

Order Matters

You should put your layered necklaces on in a specific order, too. Often, that doesn’t mean starting with the shortest chain first. “Thinner chains should go on first,” Smith says. “When putting them on over a thicker chain, they’re more likely to get all caught up in the other chains.”

Photo: Courtesy of Gallery Byzantium

Layer in Odd Numbers

If you want to do more than two necklaces, then go with odd numbers. Start with three, then bump up to five, seven, and so on, if you want to drift into Rihanna territory. “Odds in fashion keep things interesting without being too matchy-matchy and symmetrical,” Smith says.

Photo: Courtesy of Gallery Byzantium

Charms Are Good, Too

It’s not just about thick vs. thin or long vs. short. Charms are a cool element to include in layering, too. Claire Mazur, Of A Kind co-founder, suggests that “the key to a good necklace stack is different shapes and lengths” including “some that have charms.” Charms that hit the collarbone create a nice contrast, too.

Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@kendalljennersnapchats

Go Tight

Leon Rbibo of The Pearl Source says that tight necklaces make for better stackable pieces. If there is less looseness in a chain, there is less chance of a tangle. Layered necklaces don’t have to be long. You can and should do a tightly wrapped, multi-strand choker, too.

Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@kimkardashian

Use Necklace Extenders

When all else fails, use necklace extenders or a safety pin fastened at the back to prevent tangling. They are like the makeup primer of the accessories world in that they allow your look to stay put. You can also use them to manipulate length so you can achieve whatever look you prefer. Jewelry and accessories expert April McKenzie of says this jewelry helper can prevent tangling and twisting when layering necklaces. “Just loop the necklace extender through all the clasps of the necklaces you’ll be using,” McKenzie says. “Then, attach each clasp to the necklace extender. This makes it so the multiple necklaces essentially become one cute piece that will stay in place all day.”

Photo: Courtesy of Amy Sciarretto

Store Them Properly

You might not think about your layered necklaces when you are not wearing them. But it’s important to store them properly to keep them in tip-top shape. Scherer says her trade secret to storing long chain necklaces is to “dip the main portion of the necklace into a ziplock bag,” like a small jewelry plastic bag or a cloth pouch, while leaving the rest of the chain hanging out. With this technique, the necklace stays put and the chain doesn’t wrap around it, preventing a tangled mess.

Photo: Courtesy of Amy Sciarretto

While you are breaking out your fall layers, bring the stacking philosophy to your neck—and #StopTheTangle in the process.


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