Thursday, January 11, 2018

My Brooch Collection

Brooches, or pins, made a brief comeback in 2015 as a fashion accessory. They seem to come and go as a fashion statement. They were popular in the 1930s, 1950s, 1960s and 1980s. I happen to love them and have a small collection of my favorites. Nothing in my collection is rare or expensive, but each piece holds a treasured memory.

I made this display frame for my collection out of an old picture frame. I stretched some pieces of antique lace on the frame. It is normally propped up on a shelf in my closet so that I can see my pins every day and choose one to wear.

Fashionable or not, I love wearing my brooch collection. Here is what I am wearing today:

The turtle pin I'm wearing in the picture above was a thrift store find. He's my reminder to write my best every day - build my 'herd of turtles' as writers say. Slow and steady wins the race!

Each pin in my collection tells a story.

The cameo is an inexpensive plastic copy but it was my husband's grandmother's cameo, and I love it. Cameos are so wonderfully elegant! The wreath with pearls was my mom's and is probably from the 1960s when plain sheath dresses were adorned with one big brooch. It's heavy and looks best on a coat or a very plain dress.

These small pins are also from my mom (the upper one) and my husband's grandmother (the bottom one). They are lovely small brooches that work well with a turtleneck.

I call this painted brooch "Scarlett O'Hara." Both pins are from the 1980s. The jeweled bar pin was so "in" during the 1985 school year I must have worn it weekly. Scarlett adorned my winter coat all throughout high school, too.

And this little bee was a gift from the women in my office when I left my position as Director of Outreach for Teachers College Columbia University. I treasure it and it looks great on spring and summer clothes.

How to Wear Brooches

The key to wearing a brooch elegantly and avoiding the little-old-lady syndrome is placement. The traditional placement of a brooch on the collar or right-hand lapel is fine, but if worn with traditional styles can look stodgy. We are going for elegance and classic style, not frumpy.

A few ideas for wearing brooches from your collection in an elegant yet fashionable way:

  • Add a brooch to a sweater, as I have done above, for a whimsical look.
  • Pin a brooch to your handbag. 
  • Wear a brooch with a scarf! See the YouTube video, below.
  • Create a grouping of brooches by theme. I sometimes wear my "Gardeners Know the Dirt" brooch with the bee; the two add a sunny garden flair to an outfit.
  • Wear old with new. And old-fashioned cameo pinned to a new open-front cardigan or waterfall-style kimono looks super. A modern geometric brooch worn with a vintage blazer is also fun.

Whatever you do, don't be afraid to wear brooches. They're a great way to personalize your style!