The Brooch Styling Guide

If you haven't seen (or don't follow) the hashtag #bringthebroochback yet then I highly recommend you take a moment to peruse the amazingness that is The Brooch.  Up until a few years ago, I wasn't a big fan of brooches.  Honestly, they gave me '80s jean jacket vibes.  But, they have since charmed me and my collection has slowly been expanding as a result.  

Part of this new-found brooch appreciation is due to their wearable creativity beyond just that of jackets, blazers and the like.  I've been having fun trying brooches in new ways over the past few years and have highlighted some of my favorites below.  I hope these ideas inspire you to look at this classic staple in a new way as well!

The Personal Fave:  Hair Ornament
Just like brooches, it took me a long time to figure out exactly how to own and be comfortable with my curls.  Combining the two really made me love both individually even more.  I'm not saying that you must have curly hair to wear brooches securely as hair ornaments because even some of these ideas below are just as perfect for all you straight-haired beauties out there!

One of my favorite personal collection pieces that I found at a local jeweler, John Wallick Jewelers, & was a Birthday gift from The Mr.  It makes a great hair ornament & once I have my hair up in a messy bun; I just tuck the brooch in & fasten it around the elastic holding the bun in.

A vintage Baltic Amber stickpin that I nestled in my ponytail & secured around the elastic.  
It adds just a pop of color without damaging the integrity of the pin.

Victorian Seed Pearl & Turquoise Clover Brooch - A gift from another jewelry friend.  Perfect for every occasion.

Taming the Chains:  Pendants & Bracelets
We've all seen brooches-turned-pendants - which I adore - but I am even more in love with them when they tame a good ol' neck or wrist mess!  I love how they can loop and secure multiple chains together creating an almost swag-like effect.  Take a look at these examples and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

One of my favorite brooches - Carved Pre-Ban Ivory - holding an extra long turquoise necklace wrapped as a bracelet for a huge statement look!

A vintage, Italian Micro Mosiac brooch clipping three antique scrap watch chains together to create a bracelet.

The Classic:  Jackets, Sweaters, Shirts & More
Of course there is always the old classic standby on the lapel.  As we've seen on many a red carpet the past few years, an impressive brooch (and especially a brooch cluster!) can even take black tie attire to the next level.  Adding them to an old standby is one way elevate any jacket, sweater or shirt.  Just be sure to think outside the box when it comes to placement to given that classic a modern flair!

RegĂ©-Jean Page on “Saturday Night Live” wearing an Alexander McQueen suit with three pearl brooches on the lapel. Love a man who can rock the brooch cluster look - A personal fave of mine regardless of sex!  Photo: Getty Images

I think every woman with a wrap shirt has struggled keeping it closed when you twist & turn by adding the handy-dandy safety pin right at that troublesome "V." Why not retire the safety pin & use one of your favorite brooches for the same purpose?  It just elevates your outfit with a little extra punch!  (Not to mention it's the perfect excuse to add to your brooch collection!)

Hidden Messages:  Madeleine K. Albright, U.N. Ambassador & U.S. Secretary of State
Even though former United Nations Ambassador and U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright passed last year (March 23, 2022), one cannot have a conversation about the power of brooches without paying tribute to the subtle yet powerful way she used jewelry as a tool of political persuasion and how these small objects became part of her ‘personal diplomatic arsenal.’  So if you haven't read her book, "Read My Pins," or visited the Read My Pins Collection at the National Museum of American Diplomacy; I would encourage to take a moment to check it out.

"Read My Pins" provides an intimate look at Albright's life through the brooches she wore. Her collection is both international and democratic—dime-store pins share pride of place with designer creations and family heirlooms.  Included are the antique eagle purchased to celebrate Albright's appointment as Secretary of State; the zebra pin she wore when meeting Nelson Mandela; and the Valentine's Day heart forged by her five-year-old daughter.   The book features more than 200 photographs, along with compelling and humorous stories about jewelry, global politics and the life of one of America's most accomplished and fascinating diplomats.

Meeting with Iraqi Officials, 1997– When U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Madeleine Albright criticized Saddam Hussein, his poet-in-residence responded by calling her “an unparalleled serpent.”  Shortly thereafter, when preparing to meet with Iraqi officials, she decided to make a diplomatic statement by wearing a snake pin (even though she did not like snakes).  Although her method of communication was new, her message was as old as the American Revolution – Don’t Tread on Me!  From that day on, pins became part of her diplomatic signature.

Madeleine Albright wearing her "best brooch yet" during the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

What I've learned during this Brooch Revolution (Reinvention?) is that this longtime classic is just as modern as it was hundreds of years ago.  The only limit is your creativity!  

From her personal collection, Madeleine Albright's Meli Melo pin in 18k White Gold by Cartier.

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