Fashion editors love to call trends. At the risk of jumping on that one, we can no longer ignore the accessory craze that’s experiencing a resurgence this season: chokers. The beloved ’90s jewelry is back on the throats of style setters around the globe. We saw chokers on the fall 2016 runways at Alexander Wang and Rihanna’s Fenty X Puma show, as well as on the pop star herself. But it’s always so refreshing to see those runway trends on the streets.
We spotted these ladies in New York. Each one shows that the necklace renaissance is upon us, and open to a variety of interpretations. Here are some looks we love as well as some historical tidbits about the choker.
All photos by Kristin Yamada
The classic black velvet or fabric choker has been around since the ’90s–the 1790s, that is. Aristocratic French women would tie ribbons on their necks to commemorate those lost to the guillotine. The fashion caught on across Europe. Sometimes women would decorate these simple bands with broaches or jewels. In the 1800s, black ribbons could be used to identify prostitutes.
Beaded chokers date back to ancient Egypt, where they were thought to have protective properties. Gold and lapis lazuli were common materials on these necklaces. During her trips to India, Princess Alexandra of Wales saw beaded and gold choker designs on women, and she brought the trend back to Europe. It’s thought that because of a neck scar, the princess frequently donned elaborate choker necklaces. Many other European women in the Alps regions of Germany and Austria also used chokers to hide goiter lumps caused by iodine deficiencies. Beaded chokers returned in the 1970s and then again in the ’90s, and of course are surfacing again now.
SHOP: choker necklaces