Tattoo Choker Necklaces

Comfortable to take on and off, cheap, and inexplicably cool – the tattoo choker necklace is nearly synonymous with nineties fashion. The tight, stretchy black or colored plastic necklaces adorned the necks of actresses, models, and musicians throughout the decade, including Kate Moss, Drew Barrymore, Lisa Kudrow, Gwen Stefani, and Britney Spears. While the tattoo choker is often associated with nineties grunge, the crossover popularity of the springy henna tattoo-inspired throat decals eventually rendered them genre-less.

With no tricky hooks or clasps, the one-size-fits-all tattoo choker necklace was a statement piece that was also easy to trade among friends. The accessories could be purchased in multi-packs for roughly the cost of one’s weekly allowance and stretched up to 18 inches while still returning to their original shape. This made them the jewelry piece de jour for angsty middle schoolers attempting to channel the lighthearted magical vibes of Melissa Joan Hart on Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

While the tattoo choker necklace grew popular in the last decade of the century, the history of this style of jewelry extends much further back. First documented in hieroglyphics from ancient Egypt, the popularity of the choker has risen and fallen much like many of the world’s great empires. In France, red ribbon chokers were used as a political symbol during the French Revolution to criticize the beheadings that defined the Reign of Terror. Fashion experts highlight the necklace’s ability to both conceal and highlight the neck as part of their appeal. The style became popular again during the 1920s, as short hairstyles like the bob allowed the neck to be more visible. In the 1970s, men also began wearing chokers to defy gender stereotypes. David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, and Mick Jagger were just some of the stars who experimented with the style.

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