The Meaning behind Choker Necklaces

The necklaces are believed to be as old as 40,000 years. Stones, bone or teeth, bird feathers, seeds, shells, beads, carved wood, and other naturally found elements were used in designing the oldest forms of necklaces. 

There are different types of necklaces, such as pendant necklace, collar necklace, plastron, opera, choker, torque, charms, locket, matinee, lariat, chain, festoon, princess, twisted, negligee, sautoir, Riviere, and many more; each with their meanings. But today, let’s talk about choker necklaces only.

What is a Choker Necklace?

What is a Choker Necklace

A choker is a close-fitting necklace, typically fourteen to sixteen inches in length, worn around the neck. Velvet, beads, leather, plastic, latex, metal, such as platinum, gold, or silver, are the materials used to make chokers. You can adorn them in a variety of ways, including with pendants, studs, or sequins.

What Do Choker Necklaces Mean?

It may seem like a strange question, but many people ask about the meaning of choker necklaces and any symbolism in wearing a choker necklace. Compared to the older generation, the newer generation of choker necklaces is more sleek and daring. Several controversial opinions surrounded this jewelry trend. 

Some people consider the choker necklace to be a bit too seductive and think that the person wearing it sends a promiscuous message. Despite having an ancient history, why do some individuals associate such meaning with choker necklaces, and what this jewelry piece means? The very noticeable and shocking answer is that a choker is simply an exquisite necklace. 

Chokers are a cute way of showing off your slender neck. The meaning of a choker necklace is the same as that of a pendant necklace or any other jewelry piece that you wear, nothing more or nothing less than that. Several people think choker necklaces are a provocative item because, in history, women have worn them to symbolize their profession as prostitutes. And this brings us to the question:

Does it mean the Choker Necklaces Are Not Appropriate?

The reasons mentioned above make some people question whether the choker necklaces are bad? Should I wear a choker necklace or not? Choker necklaces are not inappropriate, and their history is long and varied. Yes, in the past, they may have linked to the idea of promiscuity, but celebrities, political activists, royalty, and ballerinas have also worn them. 

In the 90s, celebrities have worn choker necklaces on the red carpet and the mainstream, same as today, but alternative subcultures did not favor them. So, this revived the idea that the choker necklace represents sexual aspects rather than just fashion. 

The reaction of the internet was unavoidable, and the idea that a choker necklace equals provocative/submissive ideas turned into a meme. If you are still unsure about wearing a choker necklace, compare it with several other articles of clothing and jewelry that you would not bat an eyelid at wearing.

Miniskirts, fishnets, body con dresses, red lipsticks, leopard print, high heels, and anklets. Any thought on these wardrobe pieces? You may not wear them in the same outfit, but if you do, no one else should weigh in on that.

So, the bottom line is, whether or not you wear a choker necklace depends on your style and preference. It is a gorgeous and trendy fashion choice. Choose the best style that suits you and your personality.

Historic Snap into the Symbolism and Meanings of Choker Necklace 

For centuries, choker necklaces have been through various chapters of history, and every century introduced us to a new symbolic value and example of these ornaments. We can see historic presences of chokers in several cultures around the globe, including European, Chinese, Egyptian, Native American, and even Indian cultures.

Their meaning and symbolism have undergone rapid change throughout history. Moreover, from being specifically prostitute identification, it progressed towards being regarded as a symbol of political aggression. And finally, it became an entangled piece of jewelry that become the trend of the season. 

1. Anne Boleyn: 1507 

Not many people know that Anne Boleyn was the one funneling in the exciting trends of chokers. She was one of the most fashionable women of her time who introduced many styles in a conservative English society. You will find her wearing a lovely choker necklace in her paintings, and her famous choker necklace had created with a letter B pendant and pearls.

2. The French Revolution: 1798 

The French Revolution was a deafening period of revolt against the French monarchy and political aggression. And chokers were the most poignant and powerful amongst all the symbols that French people used to express their hatred for their extravagant nobility and monarchs. 

As a homage and tribute to those slaughtered at the guillotine, the women started wearing a political dress with red ribbons around their necks. They wore the ribbon in many different ways, tied around the back and shoulders to make an X or around the neck like a usual choker.

3. Manet’s Olympia: 1860 

Choker necklaces, during the 1860s, were regarded as ornamentation limited to the prostitutes, evidenced by the well-known painting of Olympia, painted in 1863 by Manet. The painting illustrates a prostitute exhibiting a ribbon-like choker on her neck.

4. Victorian Era: 1800-1900

Even though chokers were thought to symbolize prostitution in some parts of Europe, they enjoyed a great deal of popularity in England. And especially in the Victorian Era, Royals were found flaunting pearl chokers along with the layers of other pendants and necklaces. Ballerinas wore choker necklaces as part of their dancing costumes, as seen in the paintings by Edgar Degas.

Queen Victoria was also seen wearing chokers in her different portraits. Moreover, Alexandra, Princess of Wales, was extremely well-known for her love for choker necklaces. She used them as a way to cover the scar which she got from a childhood operation. 

Alexandra was conscious about her scar, and during her different tenures in India, she got fascinated with the Indian jewelry trends, and a choker was one of them. She brought the choker home and turned it into a fashion amongst the women of nobility and court.

Princess Alexandra has a significant influence on the fashion of her period, and she set trends. Her love for chokers was flaunted by women for another fifty years or more after her death. The women of nobility and society would flaunt choker necklaces adorned with jewels, crystals, and pearls to create a fashion statement fit for a queen.

5. Dog Collars Become Chokers: The Raging 90s 

We saw chokers make their way to the stage with Britney Spears and Christian Aguilera while Gwyneth Paltrow and other celebrities flaunted chokers at the Oscar red carpet. Soon, chokers underwent variation, and women started showing off chokers with NIN gothic accents, silver ball chains, pentagrams, and spiked collars.

However, it was not enough, so the designer decided to introduce the tattoo choker, and it turned out to be an affordable and adorable accessory.

6. Vintage Charm: 1920s & 1940s 

The great time to relish in the delicate femininity of chokers was the roaring 20s and 40s. The women appeared to be flaunting this trend with beads, pearls, ribbons, crystals, and lots more. However, at that time, they were known by term dog collars instead of chokers. 

Colliers de Chien started to experience infinite variations, and soon, women could select them out and show them off in a wide variety of materials. That includes velvet, lace, ribbon, pearls, and even diamonds. Chokers, at that time, were a symbol of elite glamour.

Life Magazine made an iconic spread in 1944, aimed at relaunching the raging trend of dog collars. That is increasingly flaunted by both human beings and dogs.

7. Choker Revival: 2015 and Onwards 

By all means, 2015 brought us back the hottest trending chokers to the center stage of fashion. And after that, the choker necklaces became a regular accessory on the runways and shoots. Nowadays, choker necklaces are available in different materials, patterns, ornamentation, fabrics, color palettes, and textures. 

You can pick out applique chokers, bejeweled, heavy chains, embroidered floral chokers, brass, pearls, metallic detailing, striped, and even butterfly accent chokers. With a history of more than five hundred years, it is surprising to see the evolution of choker necklaces become the raging trend of today. To learn more about the history of necklaces and other accessories, such as bracelets and hats, check out the History of Fashion Accessories.


Despite some rude trolls and controversies on girls, wearing the choker necklaces could not stop this trend. Chokers are still as popular and well-liked among girls, and there could be several reasons behind this. It may be to catch the attention, survival concerning trend, feminine peer relations, unconscious way of showing fearlessness, or role identification.

Whatever the reasons are, they are still part of the girl’s jewelry collection, and you will find almost every girl wearing them on different occasions.