Behind The Choker : There’s Much More To That Velvet Ribbon Than You Knew!

Remember the plastic tattoo chokers that were a rage growing up in the 90’s?They seem to be all over the place these days; right from Forever 21 to the street of Colaba Causeway.

Probably the most minimal of all neckpieces, Chokers are, after all, just a slim strip of either metal or fabric, sometimes embellished with stones, worn tightly around the neck, kind of choking you out! Well, not exactly!

So what is it about a simple ribbon that makes it stylish even to this day? Apparently, it has everything to do with the vulnerability of an exposed neck: the point where the head and the body connect.
The necklace — a straight line across the throat is “faux self-harm”, thus making it a symbol of reclaiming powerlessness.

But the choker was just as badass back in the days of the Ancient Mesopotamians and Egyptians too. Apart from being stylish, chokers made with certain elements were believed to have special protective powers and keep bad energy away.

Chokers were first seen as a statement in 1798 during the French Revolution when women wore red ribbons around their necks in tribute to those who had lost their lives at the guillotine.

The young women in England, however, couldn’t care less and began wearing them in mockery of the beheadings during the Reign of Terror.

A decade later, prostitutes started identifying themselves with the black-ribboned versions of the choker as depicted in Édouard Manet’s 1863 painting of “Olympia.”

The 18th-century artist Degas also began painting his ballerinas with black ribbons tied around their necks in a similar fashion.

In the Victorian times, it was Alexandra of Denmark who favoured the thick banded necklaces that later came to be called dog collars. Women of lower ranks wore heirloom brooches and pendants on pieces of velvet in imitation of the look.

Chokers were once again revived in the psychedelic ’70s by Rock stars like Mick Jagger, David Bowie, and Jimi Hendrix.

They came back in the 90’s with everyone from Britney Spears to Sabrina the Teenage Witch sporting them on screen.

Despite being so simple, Chokers somehow manage to be both: Bold like the ones worn by Rihanna and exquisite like the ones worn by Princess Diana. And it is in this beautiful balance of vulnerability and power, that women today have found their perfect adornment in the choker.

Now that these 90’s staples have made a comeback on the runway, go ahead and flaunt your choker! 🙂

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Amanda Francesca Mendonça

After spending pretty much all of my teen years waiting for a Hogwarts letter that never came, I gave up and settled for being a wizard with words instead. A hopeless romantic, when I’m not penning down short stories, I’m busy imagining my own happily ever after.

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