The Brooch : Old fashioned or come back Queen?

Posted on 26 April 2015Brooch vintage brooch collecting jewellery vintage jewellery

When I think of the humble Brooch, it reminds me of my two late Nanna's. I can picture one of them now in their plaid skirt, silk shirt, oversized coloured faux pearls, and their best Brooch upon their jacket lapel, adding just the right amount of sparkle, class and sophistication.

Up until recent years I considered the Brooch to be somewhat of an "old persons" piece of jewellery. Was this because the only people I ever knew to wear them were "old"? I never saw my mum or her friends wear them. Imagine my surprise then, when I found myself wearing these embellishments in my early thirties.

When I started collecting, buying and selling vintage costume jewellery I would have various Brooches come into my possession from bulk Estate purchases; they were not something I was actively seeking. One day I acquired some Monet jewellery, and amongst the lot was an amazing Monet 1968 'Scheherazade' Brooch; from then on I was transformed into a believer that there was indeed room for the Brooch in our accessory wardrobe. A massive statement piece in a league of its own.

I then began taking more of an interest in these forgotten gems and as a lover of the 80's styling of Chanel, I couldn't get past the Gripiox Maltese Cross Brooch and found pieces inspired by this look. I began wearing these on the lapel of my blazer, or occasionally a more subtle rhinestone piece on a dress. I certainly was not setting a trend here. Stylists had already begun using the versatile piece to enhance the looks on the red carpet.

How to wear a Brooch

The beauty of the Brooch is that it can be worn many ways : the traditional lapel, the chest of a sweater or dress, the collar of a shirt, the shoulder or waist of a dress, worn on a chain, used to dress up a hat, fascinator, headband or bag; the possibilities are endless. Scatter pins also add interest and drama when worn in groups. When you think about it, the Brooch is the most versatile piece of jewellery you can own.

2012 saw two of my favourite Brooch moments. The first was Freida Pinto wearing a red Gucci suit, black shirt and a gold and black enamel retro inspired butterfly Brooch on her lapel. The red and black was striking, the butterfly was attention grabbing. Possibly the most memorable Vintage Brooch moments saw Michelle Williams wearing a 1920's inspired Louis Vuitton dress at the 2012 Oscars. A simple and elegant 19th century Fred Leighton bow Brooch was seemlessly placed at her waistline, where one would be excused for thinking it was designed as part of the dress.

It should be noted that the Brooch is not limited to women's fashion accessories, men too have sported the look from Justin Bieber wearing the YSL monogram Brooch pin to Usher who has worn them on a number of occasions including a diamond Lorraine Schwartz Brooch to the 2014 Golden Globe Awards.

So what now for the humble Brooch?

The Brooch appears to be continuing its comeback with high-end designers including the piece in their latest 2015 collections. Celine created porcelain and gold brass figural Brooches, Oscar de la Renta's Tulip Brooch available in black resin or gold tone is a classic choice, and of course Chanel always release the CC monogram Brooch embellished in crystals and simulated pearls. Balenciaga's Runway show included long dagger Brooch Stick Pin piercing through coats, a shield Brooch on the hip and stunning "CB" Emblem Stick Pin topped with a crown. Prada took it to a new level with oversized blooms in resin and rhinestones. The Brooch is back!

So what does this mean for your everyday wear? I say embrace it. With so many styles from Victorian to Art Deco, classic 80's motifs or contemporary figural's, there is a Brooch out there for all occasions. Play around with the placement and create your own unique look; the Brooch is a piece that has come into its own.

"If you want to start a collection, start with a Brooch because you will find the most use for it. It can be pinned on a suit lapel, collar or pocket, on a hat, belt, or evening gown."
- Coco Chanel

Michelle Williams Photo Credit : Jaguar PS /


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