5 Ways to Wear a Brooch

5 Ways to Wear a Brooch

Ay . . . Me wee lass and I attended a Celtic festival over the weekend. It was a sunny celebration that included toe-dancing girls with bouncing curls, haunting bagpipe tunes, monstrous yet noble hounds, and muscular legs protruding from woolen plaid skirts. Other than the point at which I unwittingly headed a speeding rugby ball (ouch!), it was a pretty mellow time. In another life, I may have headed to the Jameson’s booth to soothe such a head injury, but that’s not quite my thing anymore (especially with *** daughter in tow), so we headed to the shopping tents instead. We encountered the expected piles of tams, namesake key chains, and St. Patrick’s Prayer throws.  But you know what struck me most? The many vendors selling brooches: ornate gem-encrusted ones, stamped ones, and simple wire ones.

I have to be honest, I couldn’t help but think, “Brooches? Who really wears them unless needed for pinning up a tartan cape to keep out the moorland damp?” It’s not that I don’t like to make brooches; they work up quickly and are a great platform for creativity since they don’t necessarily need to be comfortable like a bracelet or necklace. I truly have dozens of brooches in my jewelry locker.  But I don’t think to wear them that often.

So when I got home I pulled out all my brooches and decided the reason I don’t wear them is because I haven’t experimented quite fully with how to wear them. I think, like many people, I automatically pin them where a lapel would go.  That just evokes nightmarish imagery of Office Space’s Jennifer Aniston’s 37 pieces of flair. So I did a little experimentation and came up with these alternatives wearing my “Paulette’s Brooch” from my book Beaded Weddings:

;1. At the neck
2. In the hair

4. On a necklace

3. On the hip
5. On a purse

Hey—this little experiment has made me excited to wear my brooches again! I think the next part of this little study will be to check out some pins and brooches in the Beading Daily store. I’ve got my eye on Linda Jones’s Shell Brooch, which might be just the right thing to pin up my beach sarong.

How about you? Are you a brooch wearer or avoider? Have any other ideas about how to wear them? Share your thoughts below.

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Michelle M.

About Michelle M.

I was the founding editor of Beading Daily (2007-2009) and my now a freelance designer/writer/editor.  My designs have been published in Stringing, Step by Step Beads, Jewelry Gifts for the Holidays, Creative Jewelry, Beadwork, and other magazines. I enjoy stringing, bead embroidery, wirework, metal work, mixed media, beadweaving—pretty much anything that involves beads or jewelry.  I also enjoy exploring new crafts like pottery and felting.  I write a personal blog if you want to see more of my work. 16+ Free Beading Projects: A list of the free projects I created for Beading Daily. Contact Info If you have a question regarding Beading Daily, please contact customer service at beadingdaily@interweave.com or the current editor, Kristal Wick. If you'd like to contact me, you'll find my info on my website:  www.michellemach.com.  You can also follow me on Twitter at:  http://twitter.com/beadsandbooks Pictured here is a pair of earrings I made for the Spring 2010 issue of Stringing in an attempt to get over my fear of designing with the color orange!

32 thoughts on “5 Ways to Wear a Brooch

  1. Love the new ideas!

    I’ve seen people wear them on their shoes, too. Course you’d have to have two that match… I’ve often wondered how they attach them, tho.


  2. I agree that most women don’t wear brooches or pins, but maybe they’ll make a come back someday! I love to wear brooches, but mostly antique ones. Another way to wear them is to group 3 small ones together. I do it all the time, and it looks neat. I also wear them pinned to my handwoven cords (Kumihimo), to look like a necklace. This is a good way to wear them without poking holes in a favorite blouse.

  3. I found the most sparkly gaudiest brooch at a flea market, and I wear it on a (formerly) plain baseball cap. It makes the hat more feminine, and WAY more interesting.

  4. Jan N

    I put a collection on the front of a fanny pack. You can personalize it with your colors and will always get great comments. They sell them at art fairs in Arizona.

  5. Jean, I loved your photo shoot. You made me smile and a co-worker asked “what are you up to?”. LOL!
    Ive seen teens wear antique brooches on their jean jackets. One girls was practically covered. She said her and her cousin were collecting them.

  6. I love brooches and wear them quite often. I have vintage (even a monogramed art deco one from my grandmother), retro, modern, handmade (by me and others) and they are a favorite of mine to make. I have worn them in all ways except in the hair (I don’t have enough to hold one in). As far as the necklace goes, if you have a simple string of beads or pearls… or a nice large link chain for that matter, you can use the brooch as a clasp.

  7. Enjoyed this one immensely! Being a knitter, I love to combine my crafts. So of course, I use brooches as scarf & shawl pins, put one on a felted hat for flair. To keep a brooch from stretching delicate knits, I pin the brooch through a piece of craft store felt or plastic foam on the wrong side of the scarf or shawl to give it stability and to bear some of the weight.

    Back in the days when I wore a suit or a blazer to work every day, I wore one or more brooches on my lapel, often placed unexpectedly (e.g. having a silver lizard facing downward from just below my shoulder). I didn’t know it had become my signature until a coworker told me that she looked forward to seeing which one I’d wear each day.

  8. Loved the idea! My favorite shop is Liztech (www.liztech.com) and she sells a silver item which makes it possible to slip on the pin part of the brooch and then has a pendant ring so the brooch can be worn on a silver or gold chain. She sells this separately but I dont know the cost.

  9. I enjoy your articles and the very stylish photos you usually share with us, but this one takes the cake! You’ve outdone yourself – those photos are hilarious.

    Thanks for the fun, oh, and information!

  10. I have several tops that have a slit at the neckline to ease putting them on. The slit goes a little farther down than I’d normally wear and a brooch can close that up and look great at the same time.

  11. I like putting at the neck. If you are not wearing a turtle neck, I suggest a nice scarf – go around the neck a couple times, if possible – to give something sturdy for the pin.

    ??? HOW did you get it to go in the hair??

  12. Thank you for showing us ways to wear a brooch. I bought a nice but simple one at a thrift shop and never wore it. But now I will do something with it because wearing a brooch on clothing is not me I find.

  13. Everyone has such great ideas! Thank you. One way I forgot to add is to use the brooch as a tailoring item–you can gather the fabric at the back of a too-big shirt or light sweater and pin it there; very chic.

    FYI on the hairdo version…Just put one or two bobby pins on the brooch’s pin back and stick it in your hair. If you wear a barrette, you could pin it there, or it would look pretty nifty on a headband, too!

  14. Were you at Irish Fest in MIlwaukee, by chance? One of my favorite festivals!! I Iove brooches, especially vintage metal and crystal. I only wore them on coats or jackets but love the hair, purse and necklace ideas. A friend had a dozen or so on her cloth shower curtain, that was pretty cool looking too! Thanks for the laugh as well as the inspiration!
    Wendy L
    P.S. When my sister and I were…younger we went to alot of concerts and covered our jeans jackets with lapel pins.

  15. Some of my smaller antique brooches work well as rings. You can also incorporate them into a focal for a bracelet. If you make small fabric covered boxes, a brooch makes a nice ornament and a handle to open the lid. Don’t overlook the christmas tree for showing off the larger brooches.

  16. Sometimes when you want to wear big earrings, a necklace would be a bit too much. But if wearing a button down shirt and using the brooch at the top button it adds the neccessary color/bling without clashing with the earrings!
    Thanks for this insight into brooches. It really is a lost fashion!

  17. Goes beyond wearing, but there are also “home dec” potentials in brooches: Adorn a vase by using the brooch to fasten a ribbon around a vase that has a neck; use assorted brooches with ribbon to make napkin rings for a special tea or luncheon; on a curtain tie-back; set at base of a candle; use as part of a centerpiece or floral arrangement; put a collection in a shadow-box frame . . . .

  18. I have a large and ever-expanding collection of new and vintage brooches and just as many scarves. My favorite are silky scarves but because the fabric is slippery they never stay in place so I tie it in the style I desire and then wrap a brooch around and pin it to the top I’m wearing to hold it in place in that style. The luxury of the silky fabric and a little bit of flash from the brooch makes me feel a little spoiled.

  19. My grandmother always wore brooches, and I have inherited some, which I didn’t know what to do with (they are still in storage boxes). In the last 6 months, I have had two brides who asked me to make bracelets with a brooch as the focal. Very LARGE, rather heavy, crystal and metal brooches. The first ended up with 5 strands of 3 sizes of freshwater pearls with a unique peyote stitched clasp for the brooch to hook into (this took a while to figure out-turned out to be easy!), the second bracelet was a more modern, AB and opal cube peyote stitch cuff with a snap closure and hidden pin support for the brooch to hook into. With both designs, the wearer can wear the brooch separate, with the bracelet, or the bracelet alone. A 3-for-1 deal!!

  20. I Love brooches!. But I’m not as creative as you as to where I wear them…. Thanks so much for the suggestions. I’m going to my jewelry box right now and put one on my summer purse!!
    Beverly Hickman

  21. I love wearing brooches and usually wear them everyday, I have made several out of polymer clay that I really love. I have some lovely enamel ones that I use to hold my curtains in the bathroom, they really add some fun and color.
    Thanks for some more great idea’s.

  22. oh my it beauithful and i think its so great i would love to make one just like it i want to know somw thing did you use real shells or ??? and if i was going to use shells how do you punch holes in them or go you just use E6000 that what i like to use, thank you so much I love makethings people hasne seen yet……………brooches are the best!!

    Mary Redford

  23. I usually wear mine on sun hats. sometimes I put a scarf on it first and then pin it o the scarf after. I also have taken a belt and pinned a lot of scarfs to it with brooches to make a gypsy like skirt over leggings.
    you cold also pin them to a ribbon for a bracelet:)

  24. I made two embroidered brooches recently. One will be the accent piece on my winter coat and the other…..well, let’s see. I also love to wear different brooches on my jeans jacket to style it up.

  25. I saw some fabulous leaf/flower broaches on ETSY made by a gal in Ireland. they were felted, dyed bright and glorious colors and then stiched with seed beads – lightweight, inexpensive (at around $8 to 12 I think) and so different.

  26. Brooches on hats…especially not terribly attractive chemo hats…brightened up my days of baldness and helped me to feel really pretty even though I wasn’t feeling very pretty while going through chemo and radiation treatments. They also intrigued my friends because nobody ever knew how I would wear the lovely things today. Now my sister and I have a brooch race going since we have had major surgery withing 2 days of each other. I am winning….she is not yet up to making a brooch for me but I have needle felted and beaded two for her……ta da! By the way, she was the person responsible for my brooch collection. What a wonderful lady!

  27. Although brooches can be fun to wear — anywhere, I like to use them in my studio (or even the frig)! I remove the pin, glue on a magnet to the back and use them as magnets that hold up my newest designs! You’d be surprised what inspiration they can be when you are struggling with designers-block. Vintage or kitsch — it all works.

  28. hello, I adore brooches, especially vintage or ones inherited from my family. I haven’t read all of the posts, but one idea is to wear a pin to connect a jacket. Most likely this would be a jacket without buttons.

    I like to make pins/brooches, but one problem is that most design books/magazines call for 16 g wire. The 16 g wire works great until it comes time to wear the pin. Even 20 g wire is just too much for pinning to clothing.

    One pin I made worked well with my magnet adapter thingy. I don’t know what to call this thing, but I like in most cases. One side of the magnet has a piece to slide the pin on and then the other side of the magnet holds the pin in place. This doesn’t work with other pins that I’ve made.

    I realize that the point of the pin may be filed to a point, but who would want to pierce their clothing with 16 or 20 g wire.

    Any ideas are appreciated.