Choker necklaces have been around a long, long time. From the French Revolution to the most recent Fashion Week in Paris. This BuzzFeed article covers the entire span with some amazing images. Check it out!
1798: Political dress during the French Revolution.
During the French Revolution, women took to wearing red ribbons around their necks to pay homage to those who met their death at the guillotine. The ribbon could be worn around the neck, or another fashion came in the form of an X around the shoulders and back. (via)
1860s: The uniform of prostitutes.
Manet’s famous painting, “Olympia,” (1863) depicted a prostitute wearing a black ribbon around her neck. During this era, a ribbon around the neck could mean a woman was a prostitute.
1874: But ballerinas and fashionable ladies wore them too.
Some of history’s most famous chokers can be found in Degas’ ballerina paintings, of which he did many in the 1870s and 1880s.
Late 1800s: Royal trend
Alexandra, Princess of Wales, reportedly wore thick rows of pearls and velvet to cover a scar on her neck which made her self-conscious. She was influential in expanding the trend. (via)