Brooches, Part Two: Wearing

Part Two of a two-part post

Now... h
ow do I wear it?

Unlike earrings, a brooch is placed, which may be why some women avoid them.
In fact, pins or brooches can be worn so many ways, more than any other item, from the classic to more novel.

Michelle Obama likes to wear hers at the centre neckline of a cardigan or dress (shown far left and below.)

On a jacket, wear yours on the collar (shown on the turquoise jacket, upper right). A pin at the lower lapel or breast pocket takes the eye too low.

Queen Elizabeth wore the Williamson pink, the world's largest pink diamond, at her shoulder when she met the Obamas. This is her preferred style, one that draws the eye to her face and her magnificent natural pearls.

Mrs. Obama wears a brooch off-centre at the neckline, on her pink dress.

On a blouse, a pin on the cuff is one of my favourite ways to wear a jewel, and it won't clank like a bracelet.

On a dress, a brooch goes anywhere you wish to direct the eye, including on a shoulder strap, at the waist, or on a soft sash belt.

A brooch enhances an accessory: pin it to a beret or felt hat, or on a fabric clutch bag.

Pinned to a ribbon, tied on your wrist, a brooch becomes a bracelet; if not too large, you can achieve the same effect around the neck.

Some brooches can be hung from a chain and worn as a pendant, or converted to pendants by adding a bale.

You can wear a brooches to close a shawl or on a scarf, but as spacegeek noted yesterday, you have to be careful not to snag fine fabrics with the pin. Pinned shawls look either costumey or dowdy to me, but a lot is in attitude and an interesting pin on a pashmina might change my mind.

Don't attach brooches to genuine pearls because they will abrade the pearls. (If you love to wear that brooch on your pearls, have it made into a clasp.)

Wherever you pin it, use a little stopper on the bar-pin, called a "bulldog", available at jewelry counters, as an extra security measure.

How much bling with a brooch?

You can go as minimal as a brooch and simple earrings, or mass up the pieces till you topple. It's your party.

Daphne Guinness marches a row of exquisite antique diamond brooches down the front of a dress.

Anna Wintour styled singer Adel
e, in a diamond daisy brooch. (I love brooches on voluptuous women.)

And brooches on black, sigh.

Check out Madeleine Albright, in a 1940's Joseff of Hollywood brooch with related pins, and a whole lotta other clank. Woman was decked.

The simplest way to begin brooch-wearing is to place one at the side of a v-neck sweater or top, a universally flattering placement. Add a pair of earrings, casual as gold hoops or pearl studs, or choose more elaborate ones that compliment but don't necessarily match the brooch.

Michelle Obama shows another brooch-sweater idea: turn a cardi into a wrap by adding a trio of pins.

I'm betting on brooches, even if the young crowd is on to them. So womanly, personal and–whether Albright-sized or petite–jewels of presence and charm.


Susan B said…
Great ideas here, Duchesse! I'm always wary of both a necklace and a brooch, but HRM shows it can be done, and tastefully.

I'm still eyeing some brooches over at Beladora 2, and am going to try mixing a couple of smaller brooches I already own today. Love these looks!
Maravonda said…
Love the photos and ideas! A few New Years Eves ago, I threw caution to the wind, put on a plain black outfit and wore everything I wanted with it...many strands of pearls, a huge brooch, bracelets, a couple of rings, and small tasteful earrings (because dangles would have just been Too Much!). It was great fun, and I got a lot of compliments, on my daring, if nothing else. My favorite idea of yours, Duchesse, is the brooch on a shirt cuff...
Shelley said…
I've long worn pins on my jackets, but I love your ideas on other placement locations! Brilliant.
J.W. said…
What a great post! So full of very good ideas. I, too, like the idea of the shirt cuff. Thank you!
Unknown said…
Great ideas for better placing Grandma's brooches (and my fewer own).

And, darn you, Duchesse - you've got me thinking about keshi pearls! Lovely, strange keshi pearls.....
mette said…
Queen Elisabeth looks very elegant! What a fun way Mrs. Obama has her brooches on the lower picture.
spacegeek said…
Like the idea of putting one on the cuff of a blouse! New to me! As Deja Pseu said, I still have trouble with the brooch/necklace/earrings and then glasses too. Seems like too much around the face. So I usually skip the necklace when I'm wearing brooches... Wouldn't mind a few more examples of that option-done-right!
SewingLibrarian said…
A timely post for me as my mother just gave me several of her brooches. My sentimental favorite is my great-grandmother's, a yellow gold oval with seed pearls. The bottom of the oval is dented where her grandchildren bit on it. Why she allowed this I have no idea, but it's a charming story to pass down.
Thanks for the tip on linen knits. We seamstresses can make our own tops once we find the linen knit fabric.
Duchesse said…
Pseu: Yes, and she has the finest jewels from which to choose, yet this is quire discreet.

Maravonda: My motto is "After 50, real"- but exceptions allowed. Vintage costume is so much better made than current.

Shelly and J.W.: Thank you, the shirt cuff ideas came to me when I had no bracelet.

Artful: I'm wearing two 50+ inch keshi stands from Kojima all the time, very versatile.

metscan: Though they could hsrdly be from more different worlds, both women can really wear jewelry.

spaceggek: IMO the earrings would look best on the ear, not dangles or even hoops. Will keep my eye open for photo or if you see one, pls send me the link!
Duchesse said…
Sewing: Delighted by those personal dents and their story! Pins can work on cotton knit if the pin is in good condition. Tip can be re-pointed or replaced.
s. said…
For me, brooches have always been the most terrifying of jewellery items. Thank you for this post, that helped somewhat diminish my brooch-anxiety.

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