Thursday, January 01, 2009

Brooches are Cool

Did you get a brooch for Christmas? I hope you didn’t dismiss it as hopelessly old-lady like. While you might think the only spot to pin it is on the lapel of your coat or blazer, there are many other places you can place it – from the merely decorative to the functional.

Brooches are a fun way to add a touch of whimsy to your outfit and draw attention to a certain part of the body. Webster’s defines the brooch (or broach) as a
“pin. . .worn at or near the neck.” You can be traditional, and use the ornament to highlight a long neck.

A little more 20th century (and dare I say, 1980s?) way to wear a brooch is fastened to the lapel of a jacket.

But why not take a more modern approach (this is the naughties after all) and scandalously draw the eye to a slender waist or full hips?

Michelle Obama famously wore a brooch to fasten her cardigan, inspiring many ladies to follow her example. Brooches are a lovely alternative to buttons and other clasps on jackets, cardigans, and other toppers.

They also do well keeping an artfully draped scarf in place.

Placed at the neckline, a brooch can take your décolletage from scandalous to work appropriate.

(This is a great solution for those wrap tops that tend to shift throughout the day to show a bit too much.)

Best of all, a well positioned brooch can take the place of an alteration. I folded a pleat and fastened it with a brooch in order to take in the waist of this jacket for a better fit.

I suggest keeping a plain, goes-with-anything brooch at your desk or in your purse for wardrobe malfunctions. It is an attractive alternative to a safety pin.

Brooches are a popular offering in department stores at holiday time. With the season winding down, I guarantee that you can find deeply discounted brooches at your local department store. Cheap and chic stores like Forever 21, Claire’s, and H&M usually carry brooches as well. However, if you are up to the hunt, you can find even better deals, and more unusual treasures, at your local thrift store. If you find a brooch in bad repair, remember that the pinning mechanism can be replaced and that a little polish can restore luster to a tarnished piece. Missing rhinestones or beads and chipped enamel are usually reasons to pass, unless you are especially crafty.

If you didn’t get a brooch as a holiday gift, I encourage you to dig through your jewelry stash or keep an eye out the next time you shop. Brooches are one of my favorite, and most useful, accessories.

Happy pinning!


Kelly said...

I love this post! Especially the idea of putting a brooch at the waist. I've only done that a handful of times and I really need to do it more, because it's so pretty!

Lisa said...

This is my first comment, although I have enjoyed reading this blog for months. Kasmira, thank you for the beautiful and creative ideas! My favorite way to wear a brooch is in my hair, pinned to a hairband. It's an unexpected place to wear jewelry, and it's a fun and easy way to add a little glitz to your look. Happy 2009 and happy brooching!

Kayleigh said...

Love, love, LOVE this post -- and it's because I adore brooches! I hate to admit it, but I missed that Ms Obama wore one to close her cardi...I do that all the time and had no idea I was so of the moment, lol!

I think it's soooo clever that you used one on the back of your jacket, I remember thinking that when I first saw that post. You've given me a GREAT idea, I think I'm going to try that on the back of a vest I have.

Great topic!

Ultrapinque said...

What great ideas -- like Lisa, I love wearing brooches as a hair accessory -- something that seems a bit too gaudy or wild pinned to a sweater looks so much better on my head! I use either a plain hairband or simple clip to attach it.

SciNerdGirl said...

This was a great post! I have a couple of heirloom brooches, but I never know what to do with them (I always think they look too stuffy). This post has given me some great ideas. Thanks.

Sheila said...

Great post - I know I stick to the usual lapel look far too often.

I've seen brooches on berets as well, which looks very cute.

And if I may say, the 80s brooch look was at the top button of a button-down shirt. I rocked that look back then. :D

myrubyslippers said...

I usually wear brooches on my jackets but now you've given me so many more options. Thank you thank you so much!

WendyB said...

Love it on the turtleneck.

hope505 said...

Great post!! I finally began wearing the rhinestone-covered brooch I've had lying in the bottom of my jewelry box and I've gotten so many compliments on it. I use it to fasten my cardigan, as you suggested.
* : )

Cathryn said...

Why yes, I did get a broach for Christmas! It's a fabulous piece of costume jewelery from my Great-Grandma's jewelry box.

All things nice said...

Hi everyone,
Ive just discovered a great new website full of stunning brooches, its called

....the brooches are fun, quirky, colourful and I want them all!
Check it out!!!!!!!

titanium said...

Thanks for this post, we got out the contents of the craft cupboard and made brooches tonight, it went really well!

Ms. Vybz said...

I just came upon this blog. My great grandmother had given me a few Brooches and i didnt know what or how to wear them. Now i do thanks so much. your post is very helpful thanks again

Kate said...

This post is about a year old, but having just stumbled upon it, I just want to express my most humblest gratitude!
About 2 years ago, I snagged a short tweed jacket on ebay for $10, brand new, retail price around $250. It would have been perfect, if it were not such a wide fit. Many times I have tried wearing it with various things, but the result was always frumpy and boxy. I considered taking it in, but lacking any sewing know-how, I finally gave up and despairingly added it to my box of clothes for goodwill. Thankfully I read this post before I got around to giving it away...not only did a brooch pinned in the back do the trick perfectly, but as a lover of brooches, I am glad to have another excuse to wear one. Thanks!

Unknown said...

Sister, brooches are super cool, they're amazing!
I love them, even in addition to a bracelet, ring or necklace. Never have too much. There are large, small, colorful, loud and all sorts of shapes and designs. Even you can make alone and stick anywhere particular garment.

Really cool, we've already said that? :)

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