Singaporebrides | Fashion

August 2012

The Wedding Gown Guide – The Scoop on Necklines

Understanding the types of silhouettes available for your choosing is only the first step to your dream gown. The next step is to determine if you want a sweetheart neckline, a bateau or a halter. That sounds easy enough, except, you don’t know what a sweetheart neckline or a bateau looks like! As always, you can rely on SingaporeBrides to solve your wedding problems for you.

Knowing which neckline you want and selecting one that goes with the silhouette of your gown is actually as simple as 1-2-3. All you need to do is to know how much skin you want to show and which areas of your body you’d like to draw attention to. Then, all that is left to do is to pick one that complements your chosen silhouette. But first, you need to know the various types of necklines available for your picking and what they look like. This second part of our wedding guide will introduce you to eight different necklines, all with their own special characteristics, leaving you spoilt for choice and hopefully, a neckline to go with the silhouette you’ve picked out by the time you’re done reading this.


As it is named, this neckline is without straps, leaving skin bare from the neck down to the bust. The Strapless draws attention to the collarbone, arms and bust. Although it is best suited for brides with defined collarbones and shoulders, and toned arms, what and who’s to stop you from wearing it if you are comfortable with showing skin and arms (even if you haven’t quite achieved those Jessica Alba arms).

Well-endowed brides will find the Strapless working well with their assets, but a word of caution: to avoid any mishaps, wear an undergarment with the proper amount of support. Brides with a smaller bust should try to avoid this neckline and direct attention elsewhere other than the bust.


The Sweetheart is a variation of the Strapless. Instead of a straight line above the bust, the Sweetheart features an arc over each breast, its shape resembling the top of a heart, thus giving it its name. Well-endowed brides will enjoy the sweetheart neckline as it gives further emphasis on the decolletage – an alternative from the classic Strapless.

Here’s where the Sweetheart differs from the Strapless: dresses featuring the sweetheart neckline need not necessarily be without straps. While a common preference, the Sweetheart can also be worn with long sheer sleeves, thin or thick straps, or even with a sheer coatie. But be prepared to show some skin off as the Sweetheart is more low-cut than the Strapless, guaranteed to draw attention to the bust.

For a romantic and fairytale look, pair the Sweetheart with a ball gown or an A-line dress. For va-va-voom sexy, pair this neckline (strapless!) with a sheath or mermaid silhouette.



Dresses with this neckline feature a V-shape slit down the front (and occasionally, down the back as well). The V-neck suits most brides: it offers good coverage, accentuates the natural shape of the décolletage and even creates the illusion of a fuller bust and a longer neck. However, brides with a smaller bust should be aware that this neckline can also make you look smaller. Also, if you are uncomfortable with attention at your bust area, avoid this neckline.

The V-neck is very versatile and is suitable for conservative brides and ones who want to bare some. How subtle or dramatic you want the slit to be, depends on how revealing you’d like your dress to be. This style can also be worn in conjunction with other necklines, like the Halter, and can be worn with any silhouette.

Go for the Grecian Goddess look by pairing the empire silhouette with a deep slit down the middle or pair the V-neck with short or long sleeves for a more conservative look.


Both the scoop and square necklines are similar except that the scoop has a U-shaped neckline while the latter has a straight line at the cleavage. Depending on how much skin you want to show, both the Scoop and Square can be low-cut – geared towards a sexier look – or modest, baring only your collarbone and the top of your chest area.

These two necklines can be worn with or without sleeves and paired with almost any type of silhouette. For a more formal and elegant look, pair the square neckline with opera length gloves to give you that extra oomph.


Otherwise known as the boat neck, a Bateau bears similarity to the Scoop. The Bateau is wide-necked and follows the curve of the collarbone to the tip of the shoulders. More conservative brides and those blessed with prominent collarbones can opt for this neckline as the Bateau only shows off the neck and collarbone area. A variation of the Bateau is the Sabrina – a neckline with a slightly squarer shape and is worn sleeveless.

Brides can choose to wear the Bateau with or without sleeves and with almost any type of silhouette they have in mind, although it is most commonly paired with an A-line or ball gown silhouette. Since the Bateau works to enhance the chest area, brides who are well-endowed should think twice about a gown with a Bateau neckline to avoid looking boxy.



The halter neckline is one where the straps connect around the back of the neck, leaving both the arms and shoulders bare. It can be paired with other necklines like the V-neck for a sexier variation, or a square or scoop neckline for something more conservative.

If you have been hitting the gym or doing push-ups at home and can’t wait to show off your toned arms, then the Halter is for you, as it looks best with a bride with nice arms. For brides with broader shoulders, opt for drawn in straps instead of ones that go around. Brides with narrow shoulders or ample bust should avoid the Halter as it can make you look too thin or unproportional. The Halter is worn without sleeves and can work with all types of silhouettes.


Off-the-shoulder dresses feature a neckline that just sits below the shoulders, with very short cap-like sleeves covering the upper part of the arm. Brides who want to accentuate their shoulders and collarbones should consider this neckline as off-the-shoulder dresses draws attention to these areas. However, if you want the attention away from your arms and on elsewhere, you should avoid picking this neckline.

This neckline is perfect for pear-shaped brides as it balances out their silhouette. However, if you have already have wide shoulders, you should avoid picking this as it will only make you look broader. This neckline looks best with a larger bust, so brides with a smaller chest should think twice about choosing off-the-shoulder dresses.



Similar to the off-the-shoulder neckline, the portrait neckline is a wide neckline that features a scoop from shoulder to shoulder, perfect for balancing out narrow or broad shoulders with the rest of the body. Unlike off-the-shoulder dresses, dresses with the portrait neckline will frame the shoulders and collarbone, all thanks to the soft scooping neckline.

The portrait neckline works best with cap sleeves and presents as a safe selection for brides with fuller arms. Brides with prominent collarbones should consider this neckline as well, as it brings attention to the area. Conversely, brides without prominent collarbones should avoid this neckline.

High Collar/ Jewel

Looking for a neckline that exudes elegance and timelessness? Look no more, for the high collar or jewel neckline is what you want. With a collar that comes up high on your neck (High Collar) or one that follows along the curve of your neck and sits on the top part of the collarbone (Jewel), you can go for a slightly more formal and demure look with the former, or a simple look with the latter.

This neckline works best for brides with a smaller bust, as the high collar cut enhances the bust area. Work a little sexy into an elegant and timeless look by opting for lace or sheer cover as the collar, or include a keyhole that reveals a little (or a lot!) of your chest. Complete the elegant and timelessness look by sweeping your hair up into a chignon. For a more demure look, pair this neckline with sleeves. Highly versatile, the high collar and jewel neckline go well with almost any body type and silhouette.

Whoa! That’s a long list of necklines. We hope you’ve found a favourite (we know we have!) from our list that complements your chosen silhouette because that means you’re only one step away from picking the perfect gown for your big day! Head over to The Wedding Gown Guide – All About Trains tomorrow to learn the different lengths of train available for your choosing and which length is best suited for your wedding.

Read Part One: The Wedding Gown Guide – What’s Your Silhouette?

Gown illustrations by Jit from Silverlining Bridal Couture