1990s kids will remember the quintessential fashion accessory that was…the choker necklace (but what were those odd, tattoo-like ones all about?).
1980s teens will remember Madonna’s chokers as a layering piece in her accessory-heavy look.
Fact: Chokers have been gracing women’s necks for much longer, even as far back as the 1700s! Just a little history lesson there. We’ve seen it in diamonds, in pearls, in leather, in gold, and sometimes, all at once.
If you’re curious about this neck-hugging look but aren’t quite sure how to wear it, we’ve got your back with our guide for how to style choker necklaces.
The embellished choker with grunge-inspired jeans and a tee
Celebrity inspiration: Drew Barrymore was the QUEEN of the choker necklace in the 1990s. Drew was iconic with her short blonde hair, ivory skin, matte brown lips, thin brows and edgy, bad-girl attitude.
We can steal a little of Drew’s style by copying her thick velvet choker with diamante embellishment and wearing with super-casual, androgynous outfits.
Or, we could go extra and take inspiration from her layered pearl choker, stunning in its deliberate gaudiness. The goal is to fuse Nirvana-worthy grunge outfits with Cleopatra-worthy chokers.
- Pair your favourite jeans with a loose-fitting white v-neck tee with a slouchy feel, and tuck one side into the jean’s waistband. Add a thick velvet choker to your neck, choose a matte nude lippie, and throw on some combat boots or Dr. Martens
- Pair ripped skinny jeans with a worn-in band tee or graphic tee for the ultimate rock-chic aesthetic. Shake it up and add a multi-layered choker of pearls to offset the grunge vibes with 80s-glam gaudiness
- If you want to take it a step further, add a pair of costume earrings with pearls, diamantes, or a thick hoop
Eclectic layering with different lengths and textures
Celebrity inspiration: Madonna was a champion of the “more is more” style in the 1980s, known to accessorize to the heavens with layers of necklaces, bracelets, gloves, and bows.
In more recent years, Rihanna and Selena Gomez have rocked the trend with a mix of chokers and long chains of various colors and textures. This is a great way to utilize the choker and create your own custom look. It’s curated but it’s not rigid.
- Play with different materials for a mismatched look. For example, a thick lace choker, a mid-length gold chain, and a long leather necklace with a pendant
- This look works great with a menswear-style shirt with the top few buttons undone. The choker frames the neck, while the chains fall casually out of sight into the shirt
- Get creative and experiment with your jewelry, finding new ways to combine what you have to explore new aesthetics. Throw together the most clashing pieces and see what you can come up with! Mix-and-match accessorizing is a great way to achieve a modern street-style look
- The method of accessorizing using chokers can complete a casual streetwear look, but also add a personal touch to office attire
The wide gold statement choker
Celebrity inspiration: The choker needn’t be grunge leather, 80s velvet, or prom-queen pearl. As ultimate cool girl Rihanna demonstrates (yet again!), a thick, gleaming, gold choker is the perfect way to pack a statement, bringing attention to the face and flattering an olive skin tone.
- If you’re looking for a cute way to complete a formal look with a cocktail or evening dress, shed all other jewelry and get yourself a thick, hammered-gold choker, especially if the dress is low-cut to expose the neck and decolletage. This will give an ancient Grecian-meets-Egyptian vibe while making a statement that you’re bold, brave, and not afraid to “go big” with your jewels
- If you’re wearing a high-neck top, try a wide gold choker worn over the neckline. This is elegant and modest with a twist of flair. Take it up a notch and add big gold hoops to the mix, but be sure to wear your hair up to balance out the “busy”
If you don’t have any choker necklaces hanging in your wardrobe, and you don’t have any extra cash hanging in your wallet…go DIY!
True happiness is making killer accessories using what you’ve already got, resulting in a one-of-a-kind piece only you can rock. Put down the screens, turn your bedroom into a boutique, and get creative.
Here are some easy and versatile ideas for DIY chokers:
- Raid your jewellery collection and look for old or “unloved” brooches, rings, or earrings you can re purpose. Sew or thread them onto a velvet ribbon for an ornate choker
- Leather shoelaces work perfectly for DIY chokers, especially if they’re long enough to loop around twice
- Head to the haberdashery store and nab some cheap velvet, satin, and lace ribbon and embellishments such as pearls, wooden beads, and diamantes. It’ll cost you a pittance, but offer multiple options