They’re Back: The Choker

I remember when chokers first came in vogue in the 70s. I made my own with velvet ribbon and little trinkets. Believe it or not, chokers have a long and storied history and are in again. They were all over the runways in Paris last January.

This choker shown is from Nordstrom.

Chokers have been worn throughout history…
– You’ll find examples of it centuries ago in Chinese, Native American, Indian, and Egyptian cultures.
– 1798: Political dress during the French Revolution (Wikipedia)
During the French Revolution, women took to wearing red ribbons around their necks to pay homage to those who met their death at the guillotine.
– 1860s: The uniform of prostitutes (Wikipedia)
Manet’s famous painting, “Olympia,” (1863) depicted a prostitute wearing a black ribbon around her neck. During this era, a ribbon around the neck could mean a woman was a prostitute.
– 1874: But ballerinas and fashionable ladies wore them too. (Wikipedia)
Some of history’s most famous chokers can be found in Degas’ ballerina paintings, of which he did many in the 1870s and 1880s.
– Late 1800s: Royal trend (
Alexandra, Princess of Wales, reportedly wore thick rows of pearls and velvet to cover a scar on her neck which made her self-conscious. She was influential in expanding the trend. (via)
– A young Indian woman wears a choker-style necklace in Bombay.
– Alexandra, Princess of Wales, was said to have been influenced by Indian dress and jewelry during her numerous tenures in India.
– Late 1800s: Upscale chokers are markers of the elite.
The term dog collars or colliers de chien catches on, and these designs — incorporating luxe diamonds, pearls, lace, and velvet — can be seen as objects of the elite because the best kinds were custom-made to fit one’s neck perfectly. No one likes a droopy choker! (via)
– 1944: Reviving the trend, as seen in”Life magazine.
– Dog collars are cute again — both on actual dogs and on people.
And then the ’90s happened…
Too many breeds of goths to list, but a pentagram choker was a favorite of Wiccans, while you’d find most NIN goths wearing a spiked dog collar or silver ball chain.
Late ’90s: The tattoo choker.

Make your own with velvet or grosgrain ribbons in black, brown, hunter green or burgundy. Use silver or gold pendants. Have fun!!
Sources: Buzzfeed, Wikipedia