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January 6 2017

The Horror of Men’s Chokers

Heat Street
Jillian Kay Melchior

It’s been a horrible week in men’s necklace news, wrote an author aghast as she typed that sentence, me.

The fashion world has apparently decided that men’s choker necklaces should be a thing, and then Matt Lauer sported one on the Today Show Wednesday, calling attention to the trend.

As Lauer noted, the retailer ASOS has “a wide selection of male chokers,” ranging from pink velvet to butch neck belt to metal. (Unsee it if you can.)

As GQ noted, society owes a debt to Lauer, 59, because “if this trend were ever going to happen, there’s no quick way to kill it than to have Matt Lauer wear it on national TV.”

Vogue, though not mentioning men’s chokers explicitly, takes this trend seriously in an article aptly titled, in part, “New World Disorder.”

The headline purports to describe “The Fall 2017 Menswear Moments to Look Forward To,” though we’d suggest “to dread” would be a better verb choice.

Fashion reflects both mass culture and individual self-expression, and the 2017 men’s lines are shaping up to reflect our confusion about gender, broadly, and masculinity, specifically. The argument made by Vogue’s Luke Leitch, which he admits is “a little soapbox-y,” nonetheless encapsulates this moment distressingly well.

“Much traditional menswear is a wearable code designed to signify masculinity,” Leitch writes. “Yet the privilege inherent in masculinity—particularly straight, white masculinity—is now being kicked against more determinedly than ever by those that privilege marginalizes. It has become an orthodoxy that men are the oppressive gender, and who wants to provide a uniform for that? Men who don’t wear red baseball caps or ill-fitting Italian suits with their ugly certainties are in urgent need of a new uniform that’s emblematic of what we are—and not what others by association assume we are.”

Enter the choker necklace, metaphorically a perfect fit for these newly trendy ideas about masculinity.

Several colleges are now offering courses on so-called “toxic masculinity,” and today’s social-justice warriors have rushed to equate manhood to violence, self-destruction and other societal ills. Given the full-fledged cultural embrace of misandry, why shouldn’t fashion designers garrote men?

Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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