Comeback of the Brooch: 12 Stylish Ways to Wear It
A classic jewellery item, the brooch appears to have fallen by the wayside in recent decades as a veritable piece of bejewelled accoutrement. The younger generation these days seems to view the brooch as a “boring” jewel for dressier or more formal occasions suited to the mature set. Why, we wonder, since the brooch is one of the most versatile and playful pieces of bling. Fortunately, a new wave of young tastemakers is falling in love with it, and showing the world how to wear the brooch in fun, imaginative and stylish ways. Here are 12 examples of how they did it with flair and aplomb.
1. WATCH THE WAISTLINE
An avid collector of brooches, British TV presenter and style icon Alexa Chung manages to effortlessly fuse her street-chic style with the brooch, a so-called traditional jewellery item. Here, she uses her scatter brooches to dress up and lend a feminine accent to a plain tuxedo-style jacket, on the waist and hips. This also works for a cocktail dress or an evening gown, as modelled by America actress Kyra Sedgwick, who wore her brooch on a waist sash.
2. CREATIVE COLLARS
Once again, Alexa Chung demonstrates how donning a brooch doesn’t have to look fuddy-duddy. Here, she wears a small, plain bow-shaped brooch pinned on the centre of her buttoned-up collar – in place of a necklace, which would be hidden behind a high-collared shirt anyway. Another stylemeister, Sarah Jessica Parker, shows how a small brooch can be pinned onto a twilly scarf to create a choker collar.
3. BRING SEXY BACK
Adorn a sensual low- or plunge-back dress with a matching brooch ala Nicole Kidman, who is famous for her exquisite taste and creativity in wearing jewellery.
4. BRIGHT, BOLD STATEMENT
Hollywood’s queen of vintage style Chloe Sevigny spiced up her flouncy colour-block tulle Gucci gown with a large, cheeky beaded evil eye brooch pinned right over her sternum. Blake Lively, meanwhile, becomes the talk of the town with a huge gem-studded insect.
5. NECKLINE TO NECKLACE
The fashion-forward US First Lady Michelle Obama is well-known for her love of brooches, which are an essential part of her wardrobe. While she is frequently photographed wearing eye-catching single floral brooches, here she shows you how a cluster of three beaded brooches worn around a plain necklace is convertible to accents on a pearl necklace.
6. COOL CARDYS
Would a brooch look out of place on a piece of clothing as soft and casual as the cardigan? Not in Michelle Obama’s book. The power-dresser secures her cardys by not buttoning them up, but pinning them together at the top or around the chest.
7. TRESS FLASH
Occasionally seen on the red carpet with brooches in her hair, is Scarlett Johannson, who sports various brooches on different hairstyle, with different results. She channels a girly youthfulness with a butterfly brooch on relaxed tresses; an Austen-inspired elegance with scatter brooches against a low updo; and a contemporary sassiness with a sliver of a brooch on the side of a tousled updo. The beautiful Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway is a picture of dainty elegance wearing a ribbon hairband adorned with a jewelled brooch, as well as two diamond brooches on her collar and a ribbon brooch on her chest.
8. STRAP IT UP
A creative and visually interesting way of wearing a pair of brooches would be to pin them on or at the base of the straps of an outfit, just like how actresses Emma Stone and Charlize Theron rocked their gowns.
9. SHOULDER ON
Toga gowns and brooches are a match made in heaven. Here, Cate Blanchett’s pastel yellow gown scores full marks with a Lorraine Schwartz gemstone brooch pinned on the shoulder strap. Even with a symmetrical neckline, such as Blake Lively’s white dress, a shoulder brooch can instantly add a dose of glamour.
10. HATS OFF TO ‘EM
Nobody in the world does hats better than the British royals. And adding some sparkle to their hats with gemstone brooches are Princess Beatrice of York, and Lady Sarah Chatto, daughter of Princess Margaret. Even if you don’t have a Royal Ascot to attend, you could still pin a favourite brooch to a more casual hat such as a bucket, cloche, Gatsby or Panama.
11. A WINTER'S TALE
While winter wear are practical necessities, that doesn’t mean you can’t jazz them up. Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, matches her Shamrock brooch perfectly with her military pea coat. On a more casual note, Katherine Hiegl injects a burst of bling and colour to her scarf, while Olivia Palermo pins the brooches, given to her by her mother, on a sweater.
12. GRUNGE MEETS GLAMOUR
Many of us won’t even dream of pairing a brooch with an ultra-casual, ripped denim outfit. Not Rihanna, who completely pulls off two brooches pinned on the front breast pocket.
Revival Jewels’ Style Suggestion: A turquoise, ruby and diamond bird brooch by Boucheron, circa 1960s (left); or a gem-set gold treasure chest by Marchak, circa 1960s (right). These tongue-in-cheek designs fit fashion rule-breakers to a tee. Click here for the bird brooch, and here for the treasure chest brooch.