There are two possible reactions to hearing that Jubilee Jones is bringing back the dress clip:
- Joy and delight (my reaction).
- Confusion (the reaction 90% of the people I told).
That’s why we’re going to start today with a definition.
What is a dress clip?
A dress clip is a brilliant piece of jewelry that peaked in popularity around the 1930’s. Dress clips are versatile brooches that attach via a clip, rather than with a traditional pin fitting. They latch onto the edge of a piece of fabric, fur, shoe, glove, or lock of hair. You can put them on basically anything.
Dress clips are usually made in pairs or sets: rather than just one piece, they’re two identical pieces that can be worn together or separately.
Ava Gardner / Carole Lombard / Wallis Simpson
Coco Chanel / Agnes Moorehead / Tallulah Bankhead
If you’ve ever looked at photos of devastatingly stylish women of the past, you’ve seen a dress clip. I’ve rounded up just a few here for you. I actually found so many great examples that I started a Pinterest board just for dress clips.
Many dress clips, especially the higher end Art Deco versions, include mechanisms for the two separate clips to join together into one larger piece or sometimes other pieces of jewelry as well. This bang for your buck probably helped the dress clip trend hang on through the Great Depression, when the concept enjoyed great success in the hands of many costume jewelry manufactures.
The dress clip is a fantastic piece of jewelry, and I’ve always loved them and thought it was a shame that they had no modern equivalent…at least, they didn’t until now!
Chelsea, the design genius behind Jubilee Jones, collected vintage dress clips from flea markets around LA for years before deciding to start making them herself. A longtime jewelry lover with a fashion background, Chelsea’s favorite part of dress clips are their versatility.
In her own words:
I have to credit Queen Elizabeth II for sparking my love of jewelry and introducing me to dress clips in the first place. She has arguably the most impressive jewelry collection in the world and it includes a diamond and aquamarine double clip brooch by Boucheron her parents gave her for her 18th birthday. That was back in 1944 and she still wears it regularly. After seeing tons of pictures of it over the years, I wanted to hunt down a costume jewelry version and learn everything I could about dress clips.
Each Jubilee Jones piece is made with great care and attention – we use Czech and Swarovski crystals and each stone is set by hand – in the hope that they can be worn and enjoyed for decades to come.”
Jubilee Jones was kind enough to lend me some dress clips to play with and let me tell you, it was hard to give them back. I loved them.
They’re so easy to throw onto anything, and because they’re a clip and not a true pin, they don’t leave any holes in your clothes (or shoes, or hats, or bags).