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Style Trends


A diamond cut is a key factor to consider when choosing your next piece of diamond jewelry.

By Chinwe, Chief Creative Officer

Choker necklace , the neck-hugging jewellery style,  is making a comeback, and riding the wave of the Gen Z  baby girl aesthetics. One of the earliest documented cases of the choker necklaces, was in ancient portraits painted on boards and then incorporated into the mummy wrappings of upper-class women throughout the Fayum Basin in Egypt, circa A.D. 150. The sudden resurgence of this neck-hugging jewellery piece has sparked debates and discussions among fashion enthusiasts. Are chokers the new fashion fad?  From their ancient origins as decorative pieces to their modern-day iterations as symbols of empowerment, chokers have constantly evolved alongside culture and fashion. This article aims to help you understand the various styles of chokers, their significance throughout history and the important factors to consider in choosing and styling a choker.

Table of Contents

  1. Understanding Chokers: Meaning, Styles and Materials
  2. Are Chokers Feminine?
  3. Chokers vs. Collar Necklaces
  4. Historical Significance of Chokers
  5. Practical Guide to Choosing and Styling the Right Choker

Understanding Chokers: Meaning, Styles and Materials

 Chokers are a type of necklace that fit closely around the neck, sitting just above the collarbone. Unlike longer necklaces that drape down the chest, chokers are designed to encircle the neck snugly, creating a distinct look. Their design allows them to complement various necklines and outfit styles, making them a versatile accessory in fashion. Historically, chokers have been worn for both ornamental and symbolic purposes, often reflecting the social and cultural contexts of their time. Traditional materials used in making chokers include metals such as gold, silver, and platinum, which provide a luxurious and enduring option. These metal chokers may be simple bands or more elaborate designs featuring intricate craftsmanship. Other common materials include leather, velvet, and lace, which offer a softer and often more casual look. Leather chokers, often associated with punk and gothic styles, add an edgy appeal, while velvet and lace convey a vintage or romantic feel. Modern chokers frequently incorporate synthetic materials like plastic and silicone, especially popularized in the 1990s with the advent of tattoo chokers. These stretchy, flexible materials provide a comfortable fit and a distinctive textured appearance. Additionally, contemporary chokers often feature embellishments such as gemstones, beads, and pearls, which can enhance their visual appeal and versatility. Personalized elements like initials, pendants, and charms are also common, allowing wearers to express their individuality.

types of gold chain

Historical Significance of Chokers

Chokers have been worn for thousands of years, each period and culture attributing different meanings and purposes to them. In ancient Egypt, both men and women wore chokers adorned with amulets and beads. These chokers were not only decorative. Egyptian chokers were typically crafted from gold and other precious materials, indicating the wearer’s social status and wealth. Similarly, in Mesopotamia, chokers were worn as symbols of status.

Queen Victoria popularized mourning jewelry in the Victorian era, which included chokers. They were worn to signify the loss of a loved one. These chokers were typically made from black materials like jet, velvet, or lace and were worn as part of mourning attire. The Victorian choker thus became a symbol of grief and remembrance, reflecting the societal customs surrounding mourning and the expression of sorrow during that time.

In the 20th century, chokers continued to evolve, reflecting the changing fashions and cultural movements. During the 1920s, the flapper era, chokers made from pearls and beads became fashionable, embodying the bold and carefree spirit of the time. They were part of the flapper’s daring and glamorous attire, often paired with short dresses and bobbed hairstyles. The 1940s and 1950s saw Hollywood actresses like Marilyn Monroe popularize diamond and pearl chokers, which became synonymous with glamour and elegance.

The 1970s brought a different twist to the choker’s significance. The punk movement adopted chokers, especially those made from leather and adorned with studs or spikes, as symbols of rebellion and non-conformity. These chokers were worn by both men and women within the punk subculture, challenging traditional fashion norms and expressing a desire to break away from mainstream societal values.

Tattoo chokers, made from stretchy plastic designed to look like intricate tattoos around the neck, became immensely popular in the 1990’s. These chokers were affordable and accessible, symbolizing the decade’s emphasis on individualism and counter-culture. Celebrities and pop icons like Drew Barrymore and Winona Ryder popularized these chokers, making them a staple of 1990s fashion.

In contemporary times, chokers have regained popularity, influenced by both historical styles and modern trends. They are worn as versatile fashion accessories that can convey elegance, edginess, or casual chic, depending on the design. High fashion brands and social media influencers have played a significant role in their resurgence, showcasing chokers in various styles and materials. Today, chokers continue to be a powerful accessory, allowing wearers to express their personal style and connect with a long history of cultural and fashion significance.

Various Styles of Chokers

Choker necklaces come in a plethora of styles, each suited to different fashion preferences and occasions. One of the most enduring styles is the classic velvet choker, typically a simple band of velvet that can be worn alone or adorned with a small pendant or brooch. This style exudes elegance and has been a favorite for both casual and formal wear. Another timeless design is the ribbon choker, which can be tied in various ways to create a soft, feminine look. Ribbon chokers often feature delicate details like lace trims or small charms.

The tattoo choker became iconic in the 1990s and is made from thin, stretchy plastic strands woven into a net-like pattern that fits closely around the neck. This style offers a casual and retro vibe, making it popular among younger fashion enthusiasts. Leather chokers, often embellished with studs, spikes, or metal rings, are synonymous with punk and goth subcultures, projecting a bold and rebellious image. In contrast, pearl chokers represent a more traditional and sophisticated style, often associated with classic and formal attire.

High fashion has also embraced more avant-garde choker designs, incorporating unconventional materials like industrial metals, clear plastics, and even unconventional textiles. These chokers can be sculptural and artistic, making them statement pieces that stand out in any ensemble. 

Are Chokers Feminine?

Chokers, as a type of accessory, are not inherently feminine or masculine. Their perception and use can vary widely depending on cultural contexts, historical periods, and personal style. 

Traditionally, chokers have been associated with feminine fashion, often seen as delicate and elegant pieces that accentuate the neck. This perception is reinforced by materials like lace, velvet, pearls, and delicate metals, which are commonly used in women’s fashion. Feminine styles of chokers often feature intricate designs, gemstones, and embellishments that align with conventional ideas of feminine beauty and sophistication. Historical examples include the lace and velvet chokers worn by European aristocrats and the pearl chokers popular in the early 20th century, which were often paired with evening gowns and formal attire.

Despite this, chokers have also been embraced in masculine contexts, especially within subcultures and contemporary fashion. In the 1970s, the punk movement popularized leather chokers adorned with studs and spikes, which were worn by both men and women as symbols of rebellion and non-conformity. These designs are rugged and bold, often seen as more traditionally masculine.

In modern fashion, men’s chokers are becoming increasingly popular, with designers creating styles specifically for male wearers. These chokers often use materials like leather, metals, and even beads, and they are designed to complement casual and edgy looks. Men’s chokers tend to be simpler and more understated compared to their feminine counterparts, focusing on a minimalist aesthetic or featuring industrial-inspired designs.

Cultural influences also play a significant role in how chokers are perceived. In some cultures, chokers are worn by both men and women for traditional or ceremonial purposes. For example, certain African tribes use beadwork chokers as part of their cultural attire, worn by members of all genders.

Chokers vs. Collar Necklaces

Choker and collar necklaces are both types of neck adornments that sit high on the neck, but they have distinct differences in terms of design, fit, and styling. Here’s a detailed comparison of the two:

  • Choker 

Chokers are designed to be snug around the neck and often have an adjustable clasp or stretchy material to ensure a close fit. They work well with both casual and formal attire, depending on their design. For instance, a simple velvet choker can add a touch of sophistication to a casual outfit, while a jeweled choker can complement an evening gown. Chokers also pair well with different necklines, such as off-the-shoulder, strapless, or V-neck tops.

  • Collar Necklace

A collar necklace, on the other hand, is generally wider and sits at the base of the neck. They often feature a wider band or multiple strands that cover more surface area around the neck , giving it a more bolder and statement making design. 

Collar necklaces work best with high necklines, such as boat necks, crew necks, and turtlenecks, as they sit at the base of the neck and can add a striking contrast to the outfit. They are less flexible for everyday wear due to their boldness and the space they occupy on the neck.

Summarily, chokers sit tightly just above the collarbone while collar necklaces are slightly higher and broader, sitting at the base of the neck. Either of both serves different fashion purposes and can be chosen based on the desired look and the outfit being worn.

Choosing and Styling the Right Choker

When choosing a choker, it’s essential to understand your neck size and shape. Measure your neck with a flexible tape measure to determine the length you need, as most chokers range from 14 to 16 inches. If you have a shorter neck, opt for thinner, more delicate chokers to avoid overwhelming your neckline. Conversely, if you have a longer neck, you can carry off wider, more dramatic styles. 

When considering materials, note that velvet and lace chokers are great for formal events or adding a vintage touch, offering comfort and a variety of colors. Leather chokers provide a bold, edgy look perfect for casual wear or adding a rebellious flair. Metal chokers are versatile and elegant, suitable for both casual and formal settings, and can range from minimalist designs to elaborate patterns. Beaded and pearl chokers lend a sophisticated, classic style ideal for formal events or adding a touch of elegance to your outfit. If you’re looking for a retro or casual vibe, plastic or stretchy material chokers, popularized in the 1990s, are a great choice. 

To properly style a choker, the neckline of your attire is very important. Off-the-shoulder and strapless tops are perfect for highlighting your neck and shoulders with a simple, elegant choker. V-neck and scoop neck tops pair well with chokers that have a pendant or drop detail to complement the neckline. High necks and turtlenecks work best with thicker or layered chokers to add interest and break up the expanse of fabric. 

Layering chokers is another styling option to consider. A common way to layer involves combining different lengths for example, adding a slightly longer chain and finishing with a pendant necklace. Mixing textures and styles, such as pairing a velvet choker with a thin metal chain or a beaded necklace, results in a rich, varied look. 

Most importantly, play with colours. Complement your monochrome outfit with a contrasting choker and coordinate your choker with other jewelry pieces like earrings and bracelets. Avoid wearing too many statement pieces together as it ruins the balance in your style. 

In conclusion, a carefully selected and properly styled choker might just be the perfect addition to your wardrobe. Chokers add a unique touch to your appearance, leaving a lasting impression on others.



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