What’s a cooler piece of jewelry than a brooch? They can be shaped like anything and to wear one, you just stick it to yourself in any way you want. I’m all about them…in theory.
In reality: I’m terrible at brooches. They make me nervous. I can put them anywhere I want? What if I choose a stupid place? What if the brooch isn’t at the right angle? Is it hanging correctly? I’d better try this another day.
I’m determined to overcome my brooch fears and I’d like to invite you to join me! The weather is getting colder, and autumn and winter are the perfect seasons to wear a brooch. So many layers and accessories just ripe for adornment.
To aid me on my quest to wear a brooch like a boss, I’ve rounded up some brooch-spiration to encourage me to try new things. Without further ado, I present 13 ways to wear a brooch.
The combination of textures and colors is what really kills me about this photo from Lang Antiques. I love the chunky knit of the sweater with the nubby old cut stones of the diamond and demantoid garnet brooch.
That, and how the lizard is positioned so that it looks like it’s gazing curiously out at the world. I want a shoulder friend as cool as this one.
This is not brooches. This is rhinestone detailing on a Vionnet gown from 1938. Why is it in my article on how to wear a brooch? Because it makes me want to cover the straps of a cocktail dress with brooches.
This image comes to us from my lovely friend Anya, who is kind of a wizard with brooches (teach me your ways, Anya!).
Here’s another wining brooch look from Anya, who says this one was accidental: she’d been wearing the brooch on her top, but her adorable baby daughter was far too interested in it. She moved the brooch to her jeans to protect both jewel and baby, and a fabulous style was born.
Look at this A+ dress clip styling from Hancocks. I think the temptation with dress clips is to do something easy and symmetrical with them – and that can looks awesome, but I love the way the placement of the brooches here plays with the lines on just one side of the jacket.
Jennifer Tilly, noted celebrity jewelry lover, has an advantage here: these brooches are all by JAR. It’s hard not to feel awesome when you’re covering yourself in the work of a contemporary jewelry genius.
That said, I still think this is a fantastic example of the scattered similar brooches approach. The way that they’re placed really plays with the space between them.
This gorgeous shot from Frank Everett’s Instagram account proves that going big on a brooch doesn’t mean you have to make all of your other accessories subtle: you just have to make sure they play well together.
In this case, I think the coordinated graphic effect of the similar but not identical Tony Duquette brooch and earring close together is just fantastic.
This one right here is a lot of look – the model in this photo basically has brooch epaulets on her shoulders – but I think it’s awesome. I also think it would be easy to scale down to something less dramatic.
Here’s the lovely Elisha of ArtArdorned reminding us that it pays to think big: this brooch’s large scale might make it intimidating, but it looks so cool on Elisha’s sweater in this shot that I want to run out and find one exactly like it.
My friend Charlotte is a serious Jedi master of wearing brooches in real life. What I love about her look here is that instead of doing the easy thing – wearing one floral brooch on her shoulder – she’s wearing two, and then an itty bitty one in her decolletage to continue the motif and make the whole look more visually interesting.
This remains one of my favorite red carpet brooch moments of all time. Ana Faris in that yellow gown, with the vivid green demantoid garnet lizard nestled perfectly in the small of her back. It’s an antique piece from Fred Leighton, and I’m obsessed with the styling.
You may not have a yellow gown to wear to a red carpet event, but I bet there are some great everyday moments in which a clever jewelry lover could find the right time to wear a brooch on the back of a dress.
I actually saw the fabulous Yvonne wearing this cut steel brooch on her chic little black dress in real life, and it looked just as amazing out and about as it did here. The placement is genius: it would never have occurred to me to dress up this neckline with anything, but the cut steel butterfly’s simple outline and rich texture are the perfect foil.
This is how I want to wear a brooch: deftly making a statement putting the perfect piece in the perfect place.
This image comes to us from fabulous Instagram jewelry lover, Jasmyntea. I’m always in awe of her styling, and this deployment of a Victorian turquoise and diamond crescent brooch on a jean jacket is no exception.
I love the color of the turquoise and the bright smattering of diamonds against the denim. I also love the juxtaposition of fine jewelry on typically casual materials, and the fact that she’s still wearing necklaces in addition to the brooch.
That’s all I’ve got for you today, my dears! Now go forth and brooch.
For more brooch-spiration, definitely check out this great article from my dear friend and a seriously top-level brooch style master, Beth Bernstein. She’s one of the reasons I’m feeling inspired to improve my own brooch panache.
And if you’re worried about pins pulling on your clothes: check out this post from the Glamourai about how to use makeup sponges to stabilize large brooches.