Choker necklaces have been in existence for many centuries. Everywhere you look in history, there’s been a version of the choker necklace worn by different people, for different purposes, in a different styles. In spite of all these variations, their design largely remains the same. Worn close to the neck, in a way that almost resembles a collar, the choker necklace has been a global fashion trend across the globe for a long time. Who knew we were wearing so much history, huh?
History of Choker Necklaces
It was said that the choker necklace was first seen out and about in 1798 in the course of the French Revolution. Red ribbons were worn by female French expatriates around their necks to pay tribute to those who were lost. However, historians have found that they may have been around even longer than that! Anne Boleyn, the Queen of England from 1533 to 1536, was portrayed in paintings during that era wearing a choker. She wore a collection of necklaces, which included a string of pearls and a letter B initial pendant, which she always wore meticulously on her neck. Sounds almost like something you’d see around someone’s neck today.
Just like today, throughout history there have been all varieties of chokers worn. We continue to see the trend of ribbon tied around the neck as a dainty choker in the 1860’s. Manet’s painting, “Olympia.” In it, the woman featured is wearing nothing but a choker… now that’s what we call a statement piece.
The list goes on of powerful woman throughout history donning chokers. In many portraits done of Queen Victoria during her reign from 1891-1901, she is seen wearing a much more sparkly version of the necklace. Alexandra the Princess of Wales, who ruled from 1863-1901, wore a choker as both a fashion statement and a means to cover up a blemish, proving jewelry can be both fashionable and functional. It was around this time that you saw the trend copied by many society ladies. Chokers became a fashion statement worn by affluent women, starting the trend for the next 50 years.
Jump to the 1990’s where you couldn’t go anywhere without seeing a celebrity in a choker. From Naomi Campbell, to Paris Hilton, to Princess Diana, oh my! The ‘’tattoo’’ choker was one of the most popular in this era. If you don’t have very clear and haunting memories of these from your youth, let us catch you up: these black plastic chokers look like netting, or like a thin web. They start small and you expand it to fit around you head and then your neck. And while some of us got our fill 20 years ago, like all great pieces of fashion, they had a comeback in the last few years.
Thankfully, for those of us who are hoping to avoid the black web look, choker fashion has come such a long way from then to now. Choker necklaces today are made out of pearls, heavy gold chains, beautiful sterling silver, and the always perfect, rose gold. They are the perfect pair with both your favorite dress and a basic t-shirt. Proving they not only stand the test of time but look good doing it.
What Does Wearing A Choker Necklace Symbolize?
It’s clear that through various chapters of history, the choker necklace has been prevalent and reveals its symbolic values through every passing century. In various cultures and countries, including India, China, Native American, Egypt, and Europe, the choker has a strong historical presence. So while people continue to wear it today, it’s important to remember we are not the first.
The symbolism and meaning attached to choker necklaces has undergone metamorphosis through the course of history. From being viewed as symbols of political bellicosity to now today, wearing it as a fashion statement.
Are Chokers Still In Style?
Chokers might be fashionable, trendy, and elegant but are they still stylish in 2021?
The fun thing about fashion is that it isn’t black and white, you should dress anyway you desire as long as it makes you feel comfortable and confident! Chokers look great when they are worn the right way, a.k.a. in the way you want to wear it. For the choker novice though, here are a few easy guidelines for styling them. Start simple, if you add it to a simple outfit it won’t feel as though you’re stepping far outside your comfort zone. Along that vein, pair it with one of your favorite outfits, something you already know you feel great in and this new piece is just an added bonus. If you want to dress it up, however, go for it! It’s so fun to be bold and try out a new piece for a special occasion.
If you love chokers but pondering if you should still be wearing them in 2021, our answer to you – if you haven’t already figured it out - is do it! Whatever style excites you, posh, eclectic, or edgy, you will find a choker that perfectly suits you.
What Are The Best Choker Necklaces?
Making a statement with choker necklaces is very easy, especially with the right one. Below are some of our team’s favorite chokers: