The choker is in-your complete guide to everything choker

Affiliate Disclosures

As Jewelry Shopping Guide  editors, we write about things that we love and we think you’ll like too. We often have affiliate partnerships, and may generate some revenue from these links at no cost to you.

There are some trends that we can’t wait to make a comeback and the choker necklace is back and much more sophisticated than ever. It was the hottest jewelry item for 2016 and 2017 plus it is set to still be huge in 2018, with every blogger, celebrity, and girl next door wearing one whether she’s bought it or made one.

JamesAllen Engagement Rings

Mention a choker necklace to most people and they’ll tell you about how popular they were in the 90s.


Choker necklaces have been around for hundreds of years and, if you look carefully, they come in a new guise every decade. A quick search on the Boston Museum of Fine Arts will bring up a simple choker necklace that’s dated between 2400-1500 BC!

What do choker necklaces mean?

Gold Floral Choker
Gold Floral Choker by Lavender Persica. See it here.

This might seem like a strange question, but many people often ask what a choker necklace means and if there is some symbolism in wearing a choker.

While the new generation of choker necklaces is more daring and sleeker than ever before, this jewelry trend seems to have been revived with controversial opinions surrounding them. Some consider the choker necklace to be a bit “too” sexy and wearing one sends a promiscuous message.

Why do some associate this meaning when choker necklaces have been around for so long and what do choker necklaces actually mean?

The shocking and yet obvious answer is a choker necklace is simply a pretty necklace. They are usually fitted close to the neck and are a cute way to show off a slender neck. The meaning of a choker necklace is no different from a pendant necklace or any other piece of jewelry that you adorn yourself with. Nothing more and nothing less.

The reason that many think choker necklaces are provocative items is that they were once worn by women to symbolize their profession as prostitutes. This brings us to the next question:

Does this mean that choker necklaces are bad?

Victorian Style Lace Choker
Victorian Style Choker by Dark Secrets Design Co. See it here.

And should I not wear a choker necklace? No! In fact, the history of this necklace is a long and varied one. Yes, they have been linked to the idea of promiscuity but they’ve also been worn by royalty, celebrities, ballerinas, and political activists.

In the nineties, choker necklaces were worn on the red carpet and by the mainstream, much as they are today, but they were also favored by alternative subcultures. This resurrected the idea that chokers were worn for a sexual aspect rather than just for fashion. With the way the Internet reacts to trends, it was unavoidable that the idea that a choker necklace equals submissive/provocative ideas would have been turned into a meme.

If you’re still asking yourself “Should I wear a choker necklace?” then compare them to so many other articles of clothing and jewelry that you wouldn’t bat an eyelid at wearing. Red lipstick, miniskirts, leopard print, fish nets, high heels, body con dresses, and anklets. Any thoughts on these everyday wardrobe pieces? Well, you may not wear all these in the same outfit but if you do that’s your choice and no one else should weigh in on that.

So the bottom line?

Whether or not you wear a choker necklace totally depends on your preference and style. It is a fashion choice and a gorgeous one at that!

So, now that that’s cleared, let’s move on to the most important section:

How to properly wear a choker necklace

18K Gold Filled Vintage Choker Necklace
Gold-Filled Vintage Choker by Dianella Jewelry Store. See it here.

There is no secret way or formula to wearing a choker necklace but there are some good tips to follow. When properly styled a choker necklace is appropriate for all ages and can be worn day or night to any occasion. Follow our simple guide for styling a choker necklace whether you’re just starting out on this jewelry journey or you’re a seasoned veteran looking out for what’s going to be the latest thing in 2018.

Choker tip 1 – Smaller earrings complement chokers

The top tip that’s always best to follow is to keep your earrings on the smaller side when you wear a choker. As your neck is an extension of your face, really large earrings are likely to touch a choker necklace.

This is not to say that you can’t wear multiple earrings or something with high impact but large statement earrings may detract from the choker and frame your face in quite a boxy way. So when choosing earrings to go with your choker, make sure it isn’t overkilled!

Choker tip 2 – Factor in your neckline

Dangling Small Coins Choker Necklace
Minimalist Dangling Small Coins Choker by Ohana Jewels Shop. See it here.

Another thing to consider when properly styling a choker necklace is the neckline you’re going to wear with it. A crew neckline in a matching color is a discreet way to pair your choker with your outfit.

An obvious example of this is a black velvet choker with a simple black t-shirt. This will look like an extension of your top and appear much more understated.

Choker tip 3 – Layer your chokers

Opal Choker Necklace
Opal Layering Choker by Gilded Sapphire Studio. See it here.

Layering lots of simple thin chokers is a great way to elevate any outfit. Chose a metal color and then an accent color to make a detailed and well-thought-out neck party ensemble. A good rule of thumb to follow for properly styling a choker necklace is to wear thinner ones during the day and layering them up. If you’re heading out in the evening choose a single thicker choker in midnight blue or red for something a little more interesting than plain black.

For a more unusual layered look, pair your choker with a lariat necklace. What’s a lariat necklace you ask? It’s a necklace that has no clasp and you tie a knot with the jewelry itself. Lariat also means lasso to give you an image of how these necklaces appear. Part of the necklace drapes down to give a pendant illusion. Lariat necklaces can be worn in a choker fashion with a tighter knot and a longer chain. If you’re off to a sophisticated formal do, you can wear a lariat necklace back to front so that the long part trails down your back.

Wear a layered choker, lariat, and choker combination with a backless dress or top for a head-turning combination.

The best chokers for your style

Black Stretch Velvet Choker
Black Stretch Velvet Choker by Atelier McChang. See it here.

The best chokers for beginners are simple ones that can be layered subtly and aren’t too showy or obvious. If you want to start out with something classic there is nothing that compares to the simple velvet choker.

The best part?

You can make your own or easily find them at almost any accessories store at a very low price.

If, however, you already think this style is over worn then check some of the trendiest choker styles out there.

Choker style 1 – Easily layered chains

Box Chain Choker Necklace
18k Gold-Plated Box Chain Choker by Trium Jewelry. See it here.

Go for simple layered chains. For example, check out this handmade multi-layered chain choker from Vanessa Mooney which is a great starter choker necklace. The three layers are two chains and woven leather which are joined by one clasp. This three-in-one necklace means you can pop this on without having to arrange the chains or buy multiple necklaces to achieve the look.

Choker style 2 – try a bandana choker

Suede Bandana Choker
Suede Bandana Choker by Strung Out Shop. See it here.

If you jumped on the choker trend early, it’s likely you’ve already tried some simple chains or a velvet choker. If so, a choker such as this Steve Madden necklace would be perfect for you. The material and metal combination elevates the classic bandanna with its floral print neckerchief.

Choker style 3 – drape it up

If you’re looking to take this trend to the next level then you must simply check out this choker from Annelise Michelson. It is an absolute showstopper. This choker is unlike anything that you’ll see in another shop window or online. Wear over a simple high-neck top to draw all the attention to this unbelievably cool necklace.

Gold Vintage Chain Choker
Gold Vintage Chain Choker by Memory Created. See it here.

What started as a revivalist trend has evolved into entirely its own thing. Choker trends are more varied than ever before. See our favorite trends below, from nineties throwbacks to glamorous eveningwear, there’s a trend to suit every neck and you’ll be living the #chokerlife before you know it.

1. The nineties – the good old days – The tattoo and the gothic velvet chokers

90s Tattoo Choker Pack
90s Tattoo Choker Pack by Hello Julie July. See it here.

These nostalgic favorites are fun and great to wear whilst it’s summer. The nineties choker is usually 1-2cm thick and is perfect for everyday wear due to its casual nature. This also makes them perfect to pack for a festival or holiday getaway. The two that always come to mind are the classic gothic velvet choker attached with a charm and the tattoo necklace we all wanted.

Choose a colorful velvet choker to match your outfit or alternatively opt for a thicker one for an evening do. The original tattoo necklace is a subtle way to add an edgy twist to everyday casual outfits and is perfect for weekend wear.

2. Ribbons and Bows

Bow Lace Choker
Bow Lace Choker by Jumwrit. See it here.

Speaking of nineties trends, ribbons and bows are the next steps from the nineties choker trends. Delicate and very feminine and a nod to the ballerinas that popularized the choker, this style of the choker is another example where you can make your own version.

The ribbon can be thicker and mimic the look of a velvet choker. Alternatively, a thin ribbon tied in a bow is a cute and sweet way to embrace this trend. Choose a wrap-style bow to add just enough edgy contrast to this soft feminine look. Check out this collection of ribbon and bow chokers

3. Chunky Chains

Chunky Chain Necklace
Chunky Chain Choker by Bazalel Design Shop. See it here.

Sometimes you’ve got to go big or go home and these chunky chains are for the maximalists among you. Layered jewelry is so easy to wear but a chunky chain is a refreshing change from the minimalist jewelry that’s so popular now. The all-metal and no-frills give a clean finish to these choker necklaces which is ideal for the maximalist craving something different.

4. Crystals

Moonstone Crystal Choker Necklace
Moonstone Crystal Choker by Hello Moonstone. See it here.

This is tipped to be the next big choker trend in 2018. Chokers have been predominantly worn in the day but now, as they are becoming jewelry box staples, choker fans are looking for something they can wear in the evening.

Enter the embellished and crystal-encrusted choker necklace. A glitzy choker necklace drenched in crystals or diamonds is an elegant way to play up this trend. Wear your crystal choker with a simple straight-down evening dress to give you the wow factor on any glamorous occasion.

Wrapping Up

Now you know about the symbolism and meaning behind the choker necklace (plus a sneak peek at what trend is going to be huge in 2018), there’s nothing to hold you back from embracing the choker necklace.

These necklaces are sleek and super stylish and without a doubt, they will always come back into fashion. So maybe the next time you reach for that pendant necklace, stop and try swapping it for a choker instead.

Jewelry Guide