The history of chokers - with choker DIY guide

20 March 2017

In fashion, we have to admit that certain special styles have longer staying power. For example, chokers. Its history is dated back probably to Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt, while it is one of the biggest fashion buzzes lately. Just like a dormant volcano, the jewellery trend flooded the runways and started to gain widespread popularity again. Thus, we believe choker history is worth reading; and choker (DIY) style worth being introduced into day-to-day wardrobes, making the look more accessible. 

Historically, choker symbol was related to certain groups of people. Once it was meant to be a homage to people, who died by guillotine during the French Revolution. In the middle of 19th century, choker also appeared a lot in art, such as Degas’ ballerina paintings. The beautiful ballerina girls in the paintings had one thing in common - they normally wore a black velvet ribbon on the necklace. It vividly shows that choker used to be linked closely with ballerinas. 



Édouard Manet’s painting Olympia showed that prostitutes might wear choker as well. In that painting, a white naked lady lies in the bed, being offered a bunch of flowers by her servant. Many details, including the nude pink flower, the golden bangle, the pearls earrings, the oriental embroidery silk, as well as the knotted black velvet choker, indicate the lady's profession as prostitute.



Besides, with the influence of royal family and social elites, choker once gained popularity among people of all social standings. 

After a few years of absence, choker necklaces had a renaissance twice in the 20th century, once around 20-40s when fashionable ladies wore colliers de chien (translated as dog collars in English seriously) to complete Art Deco style. In the fashion campaigns that Photographer Edward Steichen did for luxurious brand Chanel and the magazine Vanity Fair etc, one may see Art Deco style featuring chokers. 



In the 90s, the so called tattoo necklaces were just so popular that basically every girl had one of them.

The 90s were the chokers era in the film industry as well - they showed up in such movies as Leon the Professional, where Natalie Portman aka Matilda wore a velvet ribbon with a sun-shaped charm, not to mention Mia Wallace’s black ribbon choker with ruby stone from Pulp Fiction



Nowadays, one can find chokers in every kind of thickness, colour and material. Choker style varies and is more personal. Yet there is one key point we haven't mentioned. That is, choker style is just so easy to DIY.

Perhaps you already have a favourite medal or charm, that you can adapt perfectly to your outfit with a ribbon of your choice. We recommend unique vintage charm and clip-on earrings. In the following DIY steps, we used a clip-on earring from our vintage collection Rabbit the Archivist.

The history of chokers and step-by-step DIY guide | On Slowness blog



  1. Find a ribbon with a length of your choice, and wrap around your neck properly.
  2. Append the charm on the ribbon and make sure it is in the centre.
  3. Tie a knot to fix the place of the charm.
  4. String up your new choker and wear it proudly.

Tip: If you leave a big bow at the back when fixing the choker, it will spice up your outfit even more.


The history of chokers and step-by-step DIY guide | On Slowness blog

The history of chokers and step-by-step DIY guide | On Slowness blog


Go and explore your jewellery box (or your grandma's), you might find some hidden gems that are so perfect for choker DIY. Ready to show it off, but not sure what to wear with it? Be inspired by Pink matching her own DIY choker with Denim on Denim.


The history of chokers and step-by-step DIY guide | On Slowness blog


Carriage Vintage Golden Charm

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