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Blog

History of the Choker

Jamie Hughes

We like chokers. A lot. So much that we've made an entire company based around chokers. Although us 90s babies would like to assume the choker came to life in our decade, it [unfortunately] did not. In fact, choker necklaces were worn thousands of years ago, by women in some of the oldest civilizations as a form of protection and power. And what has turned into one of our grunge fashion staples transcended history from that point on.

 

A brief history of our beloved choker necklace:

 

1507-1536: Anne Boleyn

The Other Boleyn Girl might not have been the most culturally accurate depiction of the 16th century aristocrats. But, the movie had our girls Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson in it, so you better believe we watched. And if you look at any of the movie’s promo images, you’ll see Mrs. Portman herself wearing a choker. That’s because Anne Boleyn rocked our fav trend back in the day. Hers, made of a string of pearls with the letter “B” pendant. WHAT A BABE.

 

 

1789-1799: French Revolution

And on a more morbid note, women during the French Revolution used to wear red ribbons around their necks to represent those who were killed via guillotine. Our guess is-- they didn’t know this trend would catch on and be donned centuries later.

 

Red ribbon.jpg

1860’s: Prostitution

Manet’s famous painting “Olympia” (1863) depicts a prostitute with a ribbon around her neck. During this era, prostitutes were often seen wearing a red ribbon around their neck. And that didn’t stop the trend from catching on amongst the elite in later years.

 

Late 1800’s: Royalty

Alexandra, Princess of Wales, established the choker as a sort of royal trend. Many point to her as the main influencer of the choker necklace as she was rarely seen without her thick velvet and pearl strings covering her neck. A nod to you, Alexandra. We dig your style.

Many other rich women during this period were inspired by Indian garb as well. Their huge, decorative chokers coined the term colliers de chien (the dog collar).

 

Mid-1900’s: The Trend Lives On

A spread in “Life” magazine revealed a revival of the dog collar. Here, you see a picture of fashionable women rocking the trend. Can you say, obsessed?

 

The 90’s:

And finally, a nod to the 90’s. It’s obvious how much we love this decade, but no one can deny how influential the 90’s were at bringing the choker back to life today. Much of this can be credited to the gothic takeover, tattoo chokers, celebrities endorsing the trend (sup Olsen Twins and Britney Spears) + the fashion industry making them cool again.

 

The 90s brought us a lot of things, but the one we’re thrilled to keep around is the choker necklace.



Connect with Study Hall Shop on Instagram and let us know what YOUR favorite choker trend was!

Written by Tess Halpren