What is a Lariat Necklace, and How Do You Wear One?

Lariate necklace styled with paperclip necklace in gold

lovers, this blog is for you. If you’re looking for something timeless, versatile, yet a bit unexpected and fashion-forward to elevate your collection, you need a lariat necklace. Sometimes called a Y-shaped necklace, a lariat is a fresh alternative to your classic chains, bringing a unique shape to your layers.  
We’re pretty sure our new, fine lariat necklaces at Medley will make you want to add-to-cart instantly, but in case you want to know a little more, read on to learn what lariat necklaces are, their history, and our favourite ways to style them.  

 What Is A Lariat Necklace? 

A lariat necklace, also known as a Y-shaped necklace, is characterised by its shape which features a loop and a linear drop. Lariat necklaces don’t usually feature a clasp closure like traditional necklaces; instead, the strand of the necklace wraps around the neck and threads through a fixture at the front. This holds the lariat necklace in place and leaves a linear strand of the necklace dropping freely down your chest, creating a Y-like shape.  

Lariat-style necklaces can also be created out of a strand of pearls, beads, or another string-style necklace; either by tying the strand in a loose knot to secure it against your chest, or by looping the strand around your neck and letting the ends hang loosely at the front.

A Brief History Of The Lariat Necklace 

It might surprise you to learn that the lariat necklace takes its name and overall design from cowboy culture (just in case you needed convincing that Western style is always a vibe).  
The lariat itself is actually a type of lasso, and you can see how the shape of a lasso (a long rope with a large loop tied at the end) resembles the shape of a lariat necklace. The name lariat comes from the Spanish term le reata which translates to ‘tie again’.  
You might also recognise the lariat necklace shape in the bolo ties which are so closely linked with wild-west style. These necklace styles are usually made of cord or leather, which loop around the neck and thread through a pendant fixture, with the ends of the cord hanging down – creating a Y-shaped necktie with a double tail.  
But how did we get from lassos and cowboy accessories to the modern version of lariat necklaces?

The fine jewellery edition of the lariat first became popular during the 1920s. The combination of Roaring Twenties opulence and Art Deco design which favoured bold decoration and geometric lines, translated into extravagant Y-shaped necklaces often crafted in platinum, diamonds, gemstones, and pearls. Another popular trend during the 20s involved wrapping a long, luxurious strand of pearls around the neck and letting the ends hang long, or tying the strand in a loose knot low on the chest in an extended Y-shape.  
The lariat necklace experienced a fashion revival with 1970s bohemian style, though these were a little closer to the original Western version. Often crafted from leather or suede and featuring colourful beads, feathers, or pendants in the shape of natural objects, these styles complemented the flowing shapes, bold prints, and freeform vibe of boho fashion.  
Step forwards to 2023 and the lariat necklace is very much on trend again. While you can still find boho styles that favour earthy materials, raw gemstones and natural shapes, the modern edition of the Y-shaped necklace is often more pared-back. Precious metals like gold and sterling silver create an elevated, timeless look; and if they feature a design element it’s often diamonds, gemstones, or pearls.

 Where To Wear A Lariat Necklace 

A lariat necklace is a versatile, timeless design that you can style with a range of outfits for any type of occasion and dress code. Here’s a few of our top tips:
Everyday Style:
Elevate your go-to daily look with a lariat necklace, which is classic yet has an element of the unexpected. A fine gold lariat necklace is just as versatile as your staple
gold chains, and pairs perfectly with t-shirts, button-up shirts, knit tops and sweaters.  
Office Chic: 
Bring a playful element to corporate wear with a Y-shaped necklace. A fine style in precious metal looks great with a crisp white shirt or a blouse, while a bolder chain lariat necklace will bring a unique edge to a tailored blazer.   
Evening Wear: 
Pair a modern lariat necklace with elevated evening outfits to accentuate your neckline, and look for styles with a diamond, gemstone, or pearl feature for an elegant vibe. A Y-shaped necklace perfectly complements a V or plunging neckline, a strapless silhouette, or shining through a sheer blouse. If you want a full glam look, layer your lariat necklace with chains in the same precious metal. 
Formal Occasion: 
Yes, lariat necklaces can even be styled for formal and black-tie occasions. We recommend sticking to fine jewellery for such an event; classic gold and diamonds are versatile for every kind of occasion. Emphasise a deep V neckline with your lariat necklace; or, for a unique take, wear your lariat necklace backwards with a choker-style look at the front and the long strand of the necklace hanging down your back. Very worthy of a backless, Kate-Hudson-iconic-yellow-dress moment.

How to Style A Lariat Necklace 

Lariat necklaces are versatile to style, especially if you choose a timeless piece crafted in gold or sterling silver. Here are a few of our favourite ways to wear a lariat necklace:

 1. Fine And Simple 

While timeless, lariat necklaces are unique and interesting thanks to their Y-shape, which differentiates them from a classic chain necklace style. Let your Y-shaped necklace shine by wearing it alone, for a refined and elevated look.   

 2. Classic Layers 

Draw attention to your lariat necklace and create more of a statement look, by layering it with a complementary chain necklace. Ensure your second necklace is shorter than your lariat necklace, so the Y-Shape and drop can be seen. Keeping to the same metal colour will ensure your look is polished and chic. 

 3. Personalised Style 

Wearing a lariat necklace expresses your unique sense of style and a non-traditional take on timeless fashion. Build on the personality of your look by layering on personalised pieces, such as an engravable necklace, a letter necklace, or a locket necklace.   

4. Diamonds On Diamonds 

While we don’t believe in style rules, there is one that we really, honestly know to be true: you can’t go wrong with diamonds. Whether you’re elevating your lariat necklace for date night, a wedding, or a formal event – or you just want to add some sparkle to a jeans or sweats look (if it’s good enough for Hailey Bieber…), layer on diamonds. A diamond pendant will bring just the right amount of brightness, while a diamond tennis necklace is all about making a statement. 

5. Change The Game With A Lariat Earring 

For a truly unexpected take on this unique style, wear a lariat shape in your ear. Our diamond lariat threader earring is designed to thread through your piercing and loop around your earlobe, creating a y-shaped drop earring. This piece is perfect for adding to a fine gold or diamond ear stack, or it can be worn alone as a delicate style that’s guaranteed to draw attention.   

Lariat necklaces are a versatile and timeless piece, with an added element of interest. With a history rooted in the Wild West and a modern adaptation as a fashion statement, these pieces combine classic style with unique design. Perfect to style with everything from casual, everyday wear to elevated outfits for formal events; and drawing attention whether worn alone or stacked, a lariat necklace is a fashion-forward yet timeless piece for your collection. 
Discover our lariat styles at Medley, crafted in 10k gold to ensure timelessness and versatility. Add one to your jewellery wardrobe and get ready to style it on repeat.