“A choker is a close-fitting necklace worn around the neck. Chokers can be made of a variety of materials, including velvet, plastic, beads, leather, metal, such as silver, gold or platinum, etc. They can be adorned in a variety of ways, including with sequins, studs, or a pendant.” This is the quite descriptive definition from Wikipedia, but we know now that the choker’s history is more intricate, sexy and contradictory.
Looking back, we discover different uses and models of choker necklaces in history. As old as many centuries ago, we can find many examples of the famous jewelry in Chinese, Native American, Indian, and Egyptian cultures. They were used as many ancient jewelry in a protective and amuletic way: to shield and give strength to several body parts, neck in this case.
The libertine way: between the French Revolution and sex workers
Wearing a choker 200 years ago could start from many different reasons. In France, commoners adopted the style just to simply adorn themselves but as the 1789 revolution came, girls used to put on a red ribbon as a silent homage to those who fell victim to the guillotine. This French “trend” of the red ribbon choker quickly spread to England, who copied the look as a gesture of solidarity.
Soon, the sexy accessory attracts other “fashion victims” and in the 1800’s a black ribbon around the neck was often used to identify prostitutes.
Back in Style with Alexandra, Princess of Wales
During her reigns, she became an influential figure in fashion and popularized one of her favorite pieces of jewelry, the choker necklace.
The tale that’s been told through the years is that Alexandra wore chokers to hide a childhood scar on her neck, although the scar has never been confirmed, we are certain that she used to piles on ropes of beautiful pearls and soft velvet to create an amazing decadent look!
In 1940’s, the trend became a feminine symbol of power, and many American women wore chokers, sometimes multiple necklaces at once. In 1944, Life Magazine even ran a famous spread of actresses modeling the accessory, nicknaming them “colliers de chien” or “dog collars.” The revival in popularity began to spread globally, with women embellishing chokers with lace, cameos, pearls, and even diamonds.
The 90’s and the new era
Many of us has lived the 90’s choker’s revival, when the necklace became a symbol of rebellion and an anti-establishment statement. The neck accessories were less glamorous and more gothic inspired: diamonds and lace were replaced with hemp and puka shells, spiked dog collars, and of course, the plastic tattoo choker.
Today the choker necklace fashion trend is well and alive! There isn’t a major style going on, but many directions to go and inspiration, from romantic pearl and lace choker to shiny studs and leather choker to rock your day!