An eclectic blog about beads, beading and beyond

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The brooch in history and beyond - the top 30 ways to wear a brooch

I have just completed some gemstone brooches that I am planning to post in my Etsy shop. In honor of the brooches I decided to find out more about the brooch. I have discovered that the brooch, like many things in our lives, has a long history. For instance, it is thought that safety-pin type brooches were widely used to hold clothing together in the Bronze Age. Apparently, brooches were first mass-produced in Europe in the 9th and 10th centuries. Those early brooches often used elaborate designs that included beadwork. Whilst the brooches were decorative they were also hardworking and practical as they were still primarily used to fasten clothing, especially women's dresses. But, brooches were not just for women. In the ancient Greek and Roman empires women and men secured tunics, capes and other pieces of clothing with the modern day equivalent of a brooch (it was called a fibula). By the early 20th century, women in Europe were experimenting with different ways of wearing brooches. It became fashionable for a period to wear brooches at the waistline and later on the shoulders. Now, the brooch knows no fashion bounds. It is used to embellish clothing, wrists, handbags, hairbands and beyond. I've drawn on various bits of historical and contemporary advice on about wearing brooches(see references below) to compile the current top 30 ways to wear a brooch (or two or more) with flair.

How do you use brooches to add flair or fun, zing, zest or zizzle to your look?

Dress, top, blouse, T-shirts
1. Tradition says wear it on the upper left of your blouse, dress or top.
2. Break tradition and wear several at once.
3. Wear it at lowest point of your neckline on a low cut dress or top.
4. Wear a plain shirt buttoned to the neck and pin a brooch over the top button.
5. Pin some matching brooches on a blouse like decorative buttons - pin in lines, make triangles or whatever takes your fancy.
Cardigans and Jackets
6. Use a brooch to close a cardigan
7. Follow tradition and pin a brooch to your label, break tradition and pin more than one.
8. Cover a vest with lots of brooches for drama.
9. Wear just one on a vest to make a statement – formal, fun or casual.
10. Pin brooches on plain shoes to dress them up – match or not depending on your style.
11. If you wear slit skirts a brooch at the top of the slit will highlight your legs.
12. Pin brooches down the side of the leg of your pants. Apparently, it makes your legs look longer – but it is also fun.
13. Tie a scarf over your hips and pin the brooch on the knot of the scarf.
14. Wrap a scarf or a pashmina around your shoulders and pin the knot or the overlap with a brooch.
15. Use your scarf as a bandana and pin the brooch to the front or to the knot at the back.
16. Create a signature hat (any style) with a brooch – fun, dramatic or stylish.
Bags or purses
17. Pin a brooch on a tote bag for effect.
18. Use a brooch on the fastener or use it as one.
19. Pin the brooch on the handle of a handbag at the point it rests on your shoulder.
20. Pin a brooch on the front of a clutch purse to change its look.
21. Add a brooch to a chain strap – co-ordinate with your outfit.
22. Pin brooches onto a simple chain and draw the draw towards your neckline.
Key chains
23. Put a small length of patterned or plain ribbon knotted around a ring keychain and add a brooch to it. Use durable brooches that won’t snag.
24. Pin a brooch on the back of your gloves – just one, or both.
25. Pin the brooch over a leather (or fabric) buckle of a plain belt.
26. Pin a brooch to a cloth or chain belt for individual style.
27. Pin brooches on a headband. If it’s the colour of your hair they will pop out from your hair. 28. Pin a brooch on a plain fabric hairclip for effect.
29. Pin a brooch onto a leather thong tied around your hair.
30. Pin brooches on a simple chain, cloth or leather wristband.

Ways to wear a brooch
History of the brooch
NB - the brooches in this post are designed and beaded by Glenda - visit the Dax Designs Etsy shop for details.


Enchanted Beads said...

Great post! I am a "Brooch Artist" so I find this information very useful. You are so professional, not only as an artist but as a writer as well.

Patricia C Vener said...

Terrific blog post! Very well thought out and a lot of fun to read.


Kokopelli said...

Thanks for sharing all the "brooch ideas". I made two embroidered brooches recently and love to wear them. Your post just gave me more ideas.

Aster Sadler said...

What a great blog post! I just thought of another way too!

Pin one or two brooches to the straps of a little spagetti top to go from day to night wear!

keep up the fab blogging.

Aster xx

Kerrie Slade said...

Great post Glenda! I've just made a batch of floral brooches and I love wearing them in the traditional left shoulder way, but after reading your post, I think I'll have to experiment. Brooch covered gloves here I come .... :0)

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