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You finally got used to wearing bandanas, scarves, and necklaces, and now designers throw a curveball at you: chokers for men. Yes, if you’ve ever wanted to channel the hero of a ’90s TV show like “One Tree Hill,” “Dawson’s Creek,” “My So-Called Life,” or dress like you’re a member of a boy band, you’re in luck.
What can we say, except that fashion designers have been pushing this trend for a while? Maybe they’re taking inspiration from Prince, Elvis, Lenny Kravitz, David Bowie,* NYSNC, and the other rock stars who have worn chokers for men on stage. Back in the ’60s and the ’70s, a lot of guys wore choker necklaces. Then, like wide lapels and bell-bottom jeans, they slowly faded away.
What Is a Choker Necklace?
A choker necklace is a necklace that either lays at the base of the neck or is worn on the neck. The average length of a choker necklace is about 18 inches. However, if you want that choker effect, but an 18-inch chain might be too short or too uncomfortable, go up a size to a 20-inch necklace to achieve a similar look. And if that’s too uncomfortable, try a larger size until the necklace lays where you want it. The below photo is a model wearing a 20-inch choker from French fashion brand Lazoschmidl.
Why Are Chokers for Men Popular Again?
The revival of the chokers for men started as a micro-trend sometime around late 2016 to early 2017. After the popularity of large chain necklaces of the ’80s and ’90s, they began to wane out of the limelight. Chokers were revived in the early aughts by the crew of “Jersey Shore,” whose large, long links were part adornment, part of their personas. That style isn’t as popular as it once was, and now 20-inch men’s necklaces are what you can find anywhere.
However, you know fashion … designers can’t leave things alone. During the menswear shows of 2016 and 2017, the usual suspects, i.e., Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Hood by Air et al., were showing men’s chokers to accessorize their outfits. Chokers for men have been quietly coasting along since then. By the time the Spring ’22 menswear shows came around, chokers for men were on male models in Burberry, Loewe, Prada, MSGM, and Lazoschmidl, to name a few.
Male Celebrities Wearing Chokers
Singer Shawn Mendes has been sporting necklaces and chokers for a while. If you’re looking for a quick visual how-to, follow his lead, as his style is natural, not theatrical. One thing to mention when it comes to chokers for men is that one of the top materials used is pearls. Now, we know what you’re thinking, pearls on guys? Hey, during the Elizabethan age, no noble worth his salt would forget his pearls when he got dressed. We’re looking at you, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Robert Devereux, The Earl of Essex.
Pearls were, at one point were considered to be very manly. One reason pearls are so abruptly brought up right now isn’t just because the TikTokers have been throwing them on, but also, director Lee Daniels (“The Butler,” “Precious,”) wore a heck a lot of pearls at the 2021 Met Gala.
Other bold guys wearing chokers for men include Lil Nas X, Harry Styles, A$AP Rocky, Timothée Chalamet, Polo G., and Bad Bunny (he seriously rocks the pearl choker trend). Some of those celebrities (and regular guys) layered their chokers with longer necklaces, creating a cascading look. Some male celebrities wear tailored suits for formal events; however, instead of the traditional tie, wearing a choker either over the buttoned shirt or open with the choker taking center stage.
How to Wear a Choker
There are a lot of styles out there, from barely noticeable links to chunky Lucite to eye-grabbing rhinestones. The trick to wear a choker for men is to find a necklace that works with your style and is comfortable. You can always take a fashion cue from Timothée Chalamet and wear a hoodie, chain and choker. If you’re an outdoorsy type, opt for a thin leather or faux leather choker style necklace. If you’re a minimalist, try out a choker made from links. Fashion-forward? If you just like to play around with lewks? Play with layered chokers, pearls and whatever catches your eye.
Chances are unless you’re working in a traditional field such as law, insurance, or banking, you can wear a choker to work. Below you’ll find a list of chokers for you to add to your accessory arsenal.
1. SHEIN Men Bear Charm Faux Pearl Beaded Layered Necklace
2. BlueRica Smooth Puka Shell Heishi Necklace
THE ICONIC SURFER TOTEM
It’s hard to tell which came first; the pukka choker necklace or the surfer? The two are so entwined that when one conjures up an image of a surfer, they’re undoubtedly sporting a pukka necklace. Conversely, once you see a puka or pukka necklace (both spellings are correct), you can’t help but have a surfboard come to mind. It’s a puzzle we’ll never figure out. However, we can wear this cool choker all year around. You can buy this choker in sizes that range from 18 to 24 inches.
3. NardinArtDesign Leather Cord Necklace
BEST FOR MINIMALISTS
Are you looking for a sleek, discrete piece of jewelry? NardinaArtDesign’s choker is a slender leather cord that has a silver tube in the middle of it. It comes in at 18-inches, but can be customized to a larger size.
4. SHEIN Men Rhinestone Décor Necklace
For those who believe that “glitter is good,” and there’s no such thing as “less is more.” here’s the men’s choker of your dreams — and a price that won’t break the bank. This 17.5-inch choker has glittery stones that look like Mystic Fire Topazes. If you really want to show it off, frame it with a black button-up dress shirt.
5. Urban Outfitters Mushroom and Pearl Necklace
BEST FOR SHOWING OFF PEARLS
6. DeloronJewelry Pearl River Necklace With Steel Chain
Many of the high-end pearl chokers for men feature a necklace that is half pearls, half links. This choker for men could be the cousin of the one that Bad Bunny’s wearing. The pearls come from the Rio river, are handmade in Portugal, and come in various sizes.
7. Marcelo Burlon County of Milan Gunmetal Cross Necklace
BEST DESIGNER DEAL
8. Ashley Gold Stainless Steel Gold Plated 18-Inch Rope Chain Necklace
MOST REAL LOOKING
9. Nautica 1mm – 3mm Figaro Chain Necklace for Men or Women in Yellow Gold Plated Brass
10. Reclaimed Vintage Inspired Chain Necklace With Black Stone In Silver
MOST VINTAGE LOOKING
11. KegMinimalist Men’s Leather Magnetic Choker Necklace
This handmade in New Hampshire men’s choker necklace can be personalized, and this might be the perfect item to give since the gifting season is getting closer. Best of all, it has a magnetic closure, making it super easy to put on and take off.
12. Polite World Multi-Bead Necklace
MOST LIKELY TO BE MISTAKEN FOR HANDMADE
Los Angeles-based Polite World is an eco-conscious brand that creates items in small batches. Utilizing ethically run factories, its pieces use sustainable and upcycled materials. That said, this beaded choker has a very hippie vibe to it. While it’s an excellent men’s choker and has so many colors that you could pair it with lots of stuff, it does kinda look like it would win the “best craft item award” at sleepaway camp.