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What is a Scoop Neck?

By Lauren Romano
Updated May 21, 2024
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The term scoop neck refers to a specific type of neckline that an item of clothing may have, for example, on a dress or a t-shirt. An item of clothing that has a scoop-style neck has a rounded neckline that dips down to reveal some portion of the upper chest. While a standard top has the neckline ending right at the base of the neck, a scoop neck top has a neckline that ends below that point.

While the depth of the scoop neck can vary, the general shape of it is usually one or two ways. The first is a semi-circle; the other is a U-shaped neckline. The two styles are relatively similar and are seen on everything from t-shirts to evening gowns. This type of neckline may be found on both men's and women's clothing.

When choosing a scoop neck top, it is important to consider the occasions for which it may be worn. Although it is acceptable in almost any job, working in a conservative environment could require a higher neckline. For hotter temperatures, a lower neckline may be better as it could feel less restricting.

For women, wearing a scoop neck top also requires an appropriate bra to go underneath. For a neckline that is high to medium, an everyday bra more often than not will be acceptable. For a lower or a U-shaped top, a scoop or plunge bra may work better so there is no chance of the bra being seen.

Choosing a necklace to wear with the scoop neck can be a bit challenging. When choosing a necklace, the base of the chain or the pendant should not fall right on the neckline. The chain or the pendant can fall on the shirt itself; however, depending on the style of necklace, it may look better falling above the neckline. Considering some shirts have a tendency to not stay in one place, when putting on the necklace, test where it will fall on the neckline by pulling the neckline up and down as far as it can go, then let it fall into place.

A scoop neck top can be a comfortable option for those that do not want to wear a neckline too high. With the several variations of the depth, there are plenty of choices for those that are not comfortable wearing, or simply cannot wear, a lower neckline. No matter what the preference, there are options and styles that almost everyone can be happy with.

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Discussion Comments
By Valencia — On Jul 13, 2011

I wear scoop neck tank tops under shirts and see through tops, to make sure I don't upset anyone at work! It's a convenient style because the shirt can be unbuttoned a bit, without showing cleavage.

I rarely wear scoop necks alone as I have a scar near my collarbone. I should be used to it by now, but I am in the habit of avoiding anything that shows that part of my body off.

Reading the comments here has made me realize I could team a long sleeve scoop neck tee with a scarf. in the winter. That's something I never thought of before.

By Mae82 — On Jul 12, 2011

Does anyone know if you should choose delicate accessories with a scoop neck top, or is something chunkier better?

I have a gorgeous silk scoop neck top that I love but I always feel indecisive when it comes to matching the perfect accessories with it. I feel like I should go with something delicate because the fabric is so light and airy, but the idea of a contrasting item seems good too.

In the case of a scoop neck sweater, do you think that it is a good idea to forgo a necklace if the material is very fuzzy? Or is their something I could buy that wouldn't pull off the wool?

By animegal — On Jul 11, 2011

I love scoop neck shirts as I find they come in a huge array of materials, and the cut is always flattering on my figure. I find that if I need to go someplace a bit more conservative you can layer a nice camisole with the scoop neck in order to bring the neckline up a bit and give the outfit more detail.

Choosing a contrasting camisole, such as a yellow one with a black scoop neck looks quite smart and is an easy way to make your outfit a bit more modest. A good thing to remember is to get a camisole that is silky and won't stick to the material of your scoop neck shirt. Bunching material is never any fun.

By tlcJPC — On Jul 11, 2011

@sunnySkies and JaneAir – I couldn’t agree with you more about this bra issue! I think scoop necks are great – but please, can we just have bra action that works. It is so not cool to go around with the wrong kind of bra on. It’s just plain tacky.

The thing is, though, that a lot of ladies just don’t know how to find the right kind of bra for their body types. And I have an answer to this problem!

The next time you go to buy your delicates, ask the clerk if they do bra measurements. Then be very aware that bra sizes vary by each make of bra. If you buy a cheap bra, the size is probably not going to be the size you’re measured. You’ll have an idea of what you need, but try it on for sure.

Actually, try on any bra before you buy it whether it’s cheap or not. If it looks good on you without clothes there is a really good chance that it's going to with clothes on over it.

Then when you go to buy your scoop necks, wear the bra that you are most likely to wear with the shirt! Try the shirt on. Yes, it takes a little bit of effort, but it is totally worth it to look like a fashionable lady rather than a scoop neck bra bandit!

By cloudel — On Jul 10, 2011

Scoop neck sweaters are among my cutest winter clothing. I like to wear them to holiday parties.

If it's very cold out, I will wear a scarf for extra warmth on my chest. I love to accessorize, and it is fun to pick out scarves with patterns and colors to match different sweaters.

Last winter, I bought a few scoop neck sweaterdresses. When I wear them with leggings, boots, and scarves, I feel very fashionable. I have a black sweaterdress that goes with everything, and I can mix it up and wear different colored accessories each time I go out with it on.

By kylee07drg — On Jul 09, 2011

I have a certain style of necklace that I wear with my scoop neck clothing. It helps me avoid the issue of the jewelry falling too low or too high.

I love necklaces that have a string of loops through which to fasten the clasp. I can choose from about ten or more different loops, and I can make the necklace fall wherever I please.

Some necklaces with large charms in the middle look best when adjusted to hang below the scoop neck. Others with small pendants or none at all look best when placed about midway between the bottom of my neck and the material.

By nanny3 — On Jul 09, 2011

I absolutely love a scoop neck top! Gone are the days when this middle aged lady can wear turtle necks effectively. That’s okay, though, because I never like a turtleneck anyway.

I’ve got this little tiny bit of extra skin around my neck, now, that I'm a older. It gives me like thirty chins or something when I wear something that is too high cut (okay, maybe not literally, but that is how I feel). So I stay away from regular necked shirts and dresses, and go for the plunge!

I find that the very best for me are the U shaped ones, although I will wear any kind of scoop neck. They give me a more youthful appearance, I think, and they don't draw attention to my little aging problem either!

By Perdido — On Jul 08, 2011

I like the semicircle scoop necks. I don't feel as exposed when wearing them. I know that they show more of the collarbone, but I would rather show that than my chest.

This type of scoop neck keeps me cool while providing enough coverage. Plus, I can wear any type of bra with it. I have a couple of plunge bras, but they are not as comfortable as my other ones.

I have several fitted t-shirts with scoop necks. I also have a few dresses in that style. I prefer it to the v-neck because the scoop just feels like a more natural shape.

By JaneAir — On Jul 08, 2011

@sunnySkys - I completely agree with you on the bra issue. With all the different types of bras available these days there is no excuse for having your bra showing in public!

I really like scoop neck shirts but I actually think they are inappropriate for most office environments. I personally feel like it looks much more professional to be covered up a little more and not have too much of your chest exposed. I guess I also feel more comfortable if I’m dressed more conservatively while I’m working but that may be just me!

By sunnySkys — On Jul 07, 2011

When I wear a scoop neck tee I usually choose to wear a choker or a very short necklace. Sometimes both if the shirt is a plain style. I just really don't like the way it looks when the necklace falls below the neckline on a scoop neck.

I would also like to second what the article said about wearing appropriate undergarments. I feel like I see ladies with their bras showing over these types of tops every single day! Is it really that hard to just buy a plunge bra and wear it? I don't think so!

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