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.

Alexa Chung (left) and Kyra Sedgwick (right).

Alexa Chung (left) and Kyra Sedgwick (right).

Revival Jewels’ Style Suggestion: A diamond double-clip brooch by John Rubel, circa 1945, which can be worn separately as scatter brooches or together as a single item.    Click here    for details.

Revival Jewels’ Style Suggestion: A diamond double-clip brooch by John Rubel, circa 1945, which can be worn separately as scatter brooches or together as a single item. Click here for details.

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.

Alexa Chung (left) and Sarah Jessica Parker (right).

Alexa Chung (left) and Sarah Jessica Parker (right).

Revival Jewels’ Style Suggestion:    A gem-set African mask brooch by Boucheron, circa 1949.    Whimsical and colourful.

Revival Jewels’ Style Suggestion: A gem-set African mask brooch by Boucheron, circa 1949. Whimsical and colourful.

Revival Jewels’ Style Suggestion:    An Art Deco diamond and emerald jabot brooch by Cartier, circa 1920.    Elegant and tasteful.

Revival Jewels’ Style Suggestion: An Art Deco diamond and emerald jabot brooch by Cartier, circa 1920. Elegant and tasteful.

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.

Nicole Kidman

Nicole Kidman

Revival Jewels’ Style Suggestion: A diamond brooch by Boucheron, which features an articulated cascade of diamonds that will immediately draw attention to a low-back silhouette.    Click here    for details.

Revival Jewels’ Style Suggestion: A diamond brooch by Boucheron, which features an articulated cascade of diamonds that will immediately draw attention to a low-back silhouette. Click here for details.

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.  

Chloe Sevigny (left) and Blake Lively (right)

Chloe Sevigny (left) and Blake Lively (right)

Revival Jewels’ Style Suggestion: A turquoise, ruby and yellow gold bird brooch by Van Cleef & Arpels, circa 1960, which is whimsical, adorable and full of personality.    Click here    for details.

Revival Jewels’ Style Suggestion: A turquoise, ruby and yellow gold bird brooch by Van Cleef & Arpels, circa 1960, which is whimsical, adorable and full of personality. Click here for details.

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.

Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama

Revival Jewels’ Style Suggestion: A platinum and diamond brooch by Van Cleef & Arpels, circa 1950, which matches any colour, classic outfit, pearl sautoir or diamond necklace.    Click here    for details.

Revival Jewels’ Style Suggestion: A platinum and diamond brooch by Van Cleef & Arpels, circa 1950, which matches any colour, classic outfit, pearl sautoir or diamond necklace. Click here for details.

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.

Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama

Revival Jewels’ Style Suggestion: An Edwardian diamond and platinum bar brooch, circa 1915, which is great for pinning both sides of a blouse or cardigan together.    Click here    for details.

Revival Jewels’ Style Suggestion: An Edwardian diamond and platinum bar brooch, circa 1915, which is great for pinning both sides of a blouse or cardigan together. Click here for details.

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.

Revival Jewels’ Style Suggestion: A diamond and white gold tremblant brooch by Bulgari, circa 1950s, which will be as stunning on a chignon as it is on a dress.    Click here    for details.

Revival Jewels’ Style Suggestion: A diamond and white gold tremblant brooch by Bulgari, circa 1950s, which will be as stunning on a chignon as it is on a dress. Click here for details.

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.

Emma Stone (left) and Charlize Theron (right)

Emma Stone (left) and Charlize Theron (right)

Revival Jewels’ Style Suggestion: An Art Deco diamond and platinum double-clip brooch, circa 1930, whose symmetrical proportions make it perfect worn on straps or either sides of an outfit.    Click here    for details.

Revival Jewels’ Style Suggestion: An Art Deco diamond and platinum double-clip brooch, circa 1930, whose symmetrical proportions make it perfect worn on straps or either sides of an outfit. Click here for details.

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.

Cate Blanchett (left) and Blake Lively (right)

Cate Blanchett (left) and Blake Lively (right)

Revival Jewels’ Style Suggestion: A ruby and diamond floral brooch by Van Cleef & Arpels, circa late 1950s, whose glamour, colour and sparkle will make it a worthy talking point.    Click here   for details.

Revival Jewels’ Style Suggestion: A ruby and diamond floral brooch by Van Cleef & Arpels, circa late 1950s, whose glamour, colour and sparkle will make it a worthy talking point. Click herefor details.

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.

Princess Beatrice of York (left) and Lady Sarah Chatto (right)

Princess Beatrice of York (left) and Lady Sarah Chatto (right)

Revival Jewels’ Style Suggestion: A diamond and platinum brooch of French origin, whose neat, geometric double-circular motif will make an excellent adornment for many styles of hats and outfits.    Click here    for details.

Revival Jewels’ Style Suggestion: A diamond and platinum brooch of French origin, whose neat, geometric double-circular motif will make an excellent adornment for many styles of hats and outfits. Click here for details.

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.

Kate Middleton (left), Katherine Hiegl (centre), and Olivia Palermo (right)

Kate Middleton (left), Katherine Hiegl (centre), and Olivia Palermo (right)

Revival Jewels’ Style Suggestion: A diamond clip brooch, circa 1950s, whose simple swirl design and proportions afford it great versatility for different types of attire, winter wear or not.    Click here    for details.

Revival Jewels’ Style Suggestion: A diamond clip brooch, circa 1950s, whose simple swirl design and proportions afford it great versatility for different types of attire, winter wear or not. Click here for details.

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.

Rihanna

Rihanna

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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.

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Brenda Kang