Lariat Necklaces: A Complete Style Guide with Tips

There are many types of necklaces, but one of the most stylish and sophisticated is the lariat necklace. Sometimes called the lasso or Y necklace (because it’s shaped like the letter Y), the lariat is typically long with no clasp or closure. It’s one of our favorite necklaces here at JSG, and in this quick blog post, we’ll outline why.

What Makes a Necklace a Lariat?

lariat necklace layered
Lariat necklace. See it here.

The main features of a lariat necklace are as follows:

  1. Length: Compared to other necklace styles, the lariat necklace is quite long. It typically reaches below the chest or even down to the navel.
  2. No Clasp: It is made of one continuous chain ranging from 32 to 40 inches long, and so it doesn’t need a clasp.
  3. Versatility: The lariat necklace can be worn in a variety of ways, thanks to its length and open design. You can loop it around your neck once or multiple times, tie it in a knot, or thread one end through a loop, creating a Y-shape.

Some lariat necklaces incorporate a sliding element or adjustable knot that allows you to customize the necklace’s length. Others may have a small loop on one end that you thread the other end through. And because of their length and adjustability, lariat necklaces have an inherently elegant and sophisticated appearance. This makes them suitable for both casual wear and more formal occasions.

cord lariat necklace
Lariat necklace made of cord. See it here.

Lariat necklaces can be made of many different materials, including gold, silver, platinum, or cord, and may be embellished with pearls, gemstones, beads, or pendants. Some Western-inspired styles use leather, cord, or faux leather instead. The ends of each chain are often styled with additional fringes, loops, knots, or even feathers for added effect.  

Are Lariat Necklaces a Vintage Style?

The exact origin of the lariat necklace is difficult to pinpoint, but we know it became very popular in the early 20th century. It became quite popular during the Art Deco period, which spanned the 1920s to 1940s. During this time, long necklaces were in fashion, in part because of the flapper style of the era.

The term lariat comes from the Spanish phrase “la reata” meaning “the lasso” or rope, which describes how the necklace loops loosely around the neck. Did it originate in a Spanish-speaking country? Does its roots trace back to ancient Greece? We can’t really say, but what we do know is that it’s a timeless design and so intuitive. It’s likely that some ancient cultures used similar necklaces.

Why Choose a Lariat Necklace

a woman wearing a gold minimalist lariat necklace
Minimalist lariat necklace. See it here.

1. It is versatile. 

Because the lariat design is so versatile, you can wear one necklace in many ways. This allows you to seamlessly transition from one outfit to another without having to change your necklace.

2. It‘s affordable.

If you have a limited budget and can only afford a few pieces of jewelry for your collection, go for a lariat necklace. By styling it in various ways and matching it with distinctive wardrobe choices, it will feel like you are wearing a different set every day.  

3. It is fun to use. 

Aside from its eye-catching design, the lariat necklace lets you express your personality and creativity. Just thinking about the various ways you can style your outfit for the day with this versatile necklace is sure to stimulate your imagination.  

4. It is timeless. 

The minimalist structure of the lariat necklace makes it a classic piece that can survive any fashion or jewelry trend. With its delicate chain and ornaments made of gems, beads, or other materials, not only would you be able to use it for many years, but it may even be passed along to future generations as an heirloom piece. 

Different Ways to Wear the Lariat Necklace 

One of the key selling points of the lariat necklace is its versatility. While there are no hard and fast rules on how this necklace should be worn, here are a few good ideas that you can play around with until you find the style that suits you best.

1. Front Knot 

modern lariat necklace
Modern lariat necklace. See it here.

A standard style for wearing the lariat necklace is the front knot, which suits a casual outing or a day in the office. This is created by draping both ends of the chain over your shoulders and merging them at the center of your chest through a loop or a knot. You can adjust the length of the necklace by drawing the knot looser or tighter, depending on your preference.  

2. Back knot 

a back drop pearl necklace on a woman's back
Pearl back lariat necklace. See it here.

The back knot is created the same way as the front knot, only reversed with the loop or Y shape placed at your back instead of the chest. This style is best for a backless dress or a top with low or open-back designs.  

3. Choker 

a woman wearing a silver choker lariat necklace
Choker lariat necklace. See it here.

If you are in the mood for a choker style, simply loop the chain a few times around your neck before tying the ends together with a loop or knot. You can also create an asymmetrical effect by letting the ends droop slightly to the side rather than in front.  

4. Wrap-around 

a wrap around lariat necklace on the woman's neck
Wrap around lariat necklace. See it here.

Holding one end of the necklace in each hand, place the center of the chain at the back of your neck. Cross one end over to the opposite side, make one loop around your neck to create a choker effect, then let the edges dangle loosely at the side. You can repeat the loop to secure the necklace and prevent it from falling off while you move around.   

5. Layered 

a woman wearing a layered lariat necklace
Layered lariat necklace. See it here.

The lariat necklace pairs well with other chains of the same color, creating a cohesive and uncluttered appeal. Simply wear the lariat necklace in a front knot, then top it with slightly thicker chains that are shorter and are worn closer to the neck. Aside from adding some drama to your outfit, it also adds dimension to your overall look. 

6. Scarf 

snake adjustable lariat necklace on a mannequin
Lariat necklace like a scarf. See it here.

You can go for a more abstract or fun style by wearing your lariat necklace like a scarf. Just fold the chain in the middle with both ends running parallel to each other. While holding both ends of the folded chain, wrap it around your neck and insert one end over the loop to lock it in place. And voila! You’ve got a necklace scarf.

Wrapping Up 

The lariat necklace is a dainty and classic piece that is worth the investment. It is versatile and fun to use, so it is best to go for high-quality materials since you could use this jewelry for many years to come. Play around with the available styling options, or come up with your own – after all, one of the things that makes this necklace attractive is the way it can tickle your imagination.


Dani Rhys

Dani Rhys has worked as a writer and editor for over 15 years in the jewelry niche. She holds a Masters degree in Linguistics and Education. She has always been interested in expression through fashion and accessories, and her extensive experience in the field has made her a respected voice in jewelry trends and education. As the chief editor of Jewelry Shopping Guide, she not only leads the content strategy but also shares her insights through engaging articles. Her passion for storytelling is reflected in every piece she curates, exploring the intricate relationship between jewelry and personal identity.

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