What, if anything, comes to mind when you think of choker necklaces? 90’s grunge and babydoll dresses, Beverly Hills 90210, The Craft, Clueless perhaps? Or maybe you associate it with being slightly naughty or risqué, you know, only bad girls wear chokers…
…Yes, I absolutely rocked the choker back in the 90’s. C’mon, you know I did. And oh, how I wish I’d held onto them because I had several that were pretty damn cool. I’ve worn them off and on again for the last couple of years, but lately, more often then not I’m wearing one in some form or another. So imagine my delight when my style soulmate, Sheela, asked me if I’d like to take part in a little choker collaboration along with her and three other fabulous women. Just last week I worked with her and a group of lovelies for Project Sister Act too. Sheela and I share
an obsession with love for chokers, particularly Ettika; I literally want one of every single thing they have. We’ve been known to share Ettika sale updates with each other and maybe, just maybe, I first saw the tassel choker I’m wearing gracing Sheela’s lovely neck.
When I was preparing to write this post I got to thinking…what’s the deal with chokers. I mean, what is the history? Do I find them slightly sexy and others perceive them as “bad girl” for a reason? Is it because their purpose is to highlight the neck which is a known erogenous zone? Or am I just crazy and none of this is accurate?
Well, you know me and my love of Googling, so I did some research. It seems that chokers have been around for thousands of years and have served many purposes. In ancient Egypt parts of the body that were viewed as vulnerable were often bejeweled as a form of protection from harm, and the choker was viewed as a form of protection from dangers of both the physical and spiritual nature. Native American warriors sported very wide chokers as a form of protection during battle, and they were also a part of many different ceremonies in their culture.
During the 1700’s, chokers were a favorite among European royals, but were adopted by commoners in France, particularly women, as a subtle form of rebellion. They adorned their necks with red ribbons as a silent tribute to those who fell victim to the guillotine. By the early 1800’s it had taken on a whole new meaning; here’s where the naughty part comes into play. A black ribbon around the neck was used as an identifier for prostitutes. Who knew?
Fortunately, during the late 1800’s a true fashion trendsetter, Alexandra Princess of Wales, came into play and she cleaned up the choker’s shady past. During her frequent travels to India she became obsessed with the way in which the women heavily adorned themselves with jewelry. It is rumored that she had a scar on her neck from childhood that she wished to cover up, so based on her style inspiration from India she began piling ropes of pearls, jewels and velvet high and tight around her neck…and boom…it was safe for good girls to wear chokers again.
The choker pretty much fell out of favor after that with the exception of a brief resurgence in the United States during the 1940’s. Life Magazine ran an article featuring several famous actresses wearing what was referred to as “dog collars”. The popularity spread worldwide with women wearing everything from velvet ribbons adorned with cameos to strands of diamonds. But alas, it was short lived.
Fast forward to the 90’s where the choker once again went anti-establishment. The 90’s iterations were nowhere near as glamorous as chokers past. It was all about hemp, puka shells, spiked dog collars and of course the plastic tattoo choker. I personally was partial to velvet ribbons with cross or ankh pendants attached.
Nowadays I love ’em all. You name it, I’ll wear it; leather, velvet, pearls, gems, beaded…if it’s a choker, I’m in. Honestly, how can you resist something that says “super sophisticated royal”, “rebel trouble maker” and “bad girl from the wrong side of town” while at the same time protecting you from bad mojo? And shouldn’t we all be a little bit princess and a little bit rebel?
My week-long exaltation of all things Foxcroft continues. Today I bring you the white high/low hem tunic, but wait…I left out the best part of the description, it’s the white non-iron high/low hem tunic. Yep, non-iron my friends. And yes, I washed it and tumble dried it as per the instructions and…no wrinkles! Woohoo! I have to say, that was truly exciting because this girl does not iron. I seriously wish I could apply their non-wrinkle technology to my face. Oh, and update on Monday’s Foxcroft plaid dress. I washed and dried it as well, and it came out beautifully; no shrinkage and very minimal wrinkling.
Anyway, I chose this piece because not only is it a tunic, which I love, but it has beautiful stand out details. It goes well beyond a basic white tunic. There is a seam detail at hip level and a beautiful pleat on the back both serving to give it shape. Also, the buttons do not go all the way to the collar giving it a nice v-neck look.
I’ll be styling this for you two ways this week; one casual look and one work look. Obviously, this is the casual look. I’m really loving how well the non-iron high/low tunic and the silky leopard print cami play off of one other. Instead of business casual, it’s more like business playful. The denim shorts came into play because most days it is still way to hot to comfortably wear jeans outside for longer than 4.5 seconds. And the chokers. Yes, I would have styled this outfit with a choker even if my friend Sheela wasn’t involved. Why? For the same reason I went with the leopard cami. The juxtaposition between the clean crisp lines of the tunic and the fun laid back vibe of the chokers and cami just work. It’s perhaps indefinable, but it pleases me and makes me happy. And that friends, is what putting an outfit together is all about. Stay tuned Friday for my work iteration of this same tunic…
Pair pieces that are polar opposites. It makes for some surprisingly fabulous combinations and besides, it’s always fun to keep people guessing.
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And now take a minute to view the other beautiful choker stylings by this outrageously fabulous group of women…of course links are provided because you know you want to see their entire posts…