Be Cool—Wear a Brooch

Most of the country has been sweltering in the heat these last few weeks. It takes planning and creativity to look and feel cool when it’s necessary to dress for business or other occasions while at the same time showing a lot of skin is not an option.

Indeed, some rules for dressing in the heat seem almost counter-intuitive. For example, adding a hat will shield your scalp and part of your face from the sun and can make you feel cooler. Loose clothes, although they are more voluminous than garments cut close to the body, allow for more circulation of air, again with a cooling effect.

Illustration: There’s plenty of style in this summer look from the July 2010 issue of Glamour magazine, although the H&M dress is not a work ensemble and the polyester scarf from H&M just looks hot..

When it’s uncomfortably hot and humid, however, the last thing you may want to wear is anything wrapped close around your neck. Scarves have been a popular accessory the last several seasons, but even rendered in pure silk, they do nothing to promote a cool feeling. Necklaces too can feel annoyingly hot on necks that long to experience a cool breeze.

There’s a ready alternative in jewelry that provides all the panache of a necklace or scarf but without adding weight or heat around the neck—the brooch. The fashion magazines have been replete with examples of how a brooch or grouping of brooches can add style to an ensemble, whatever the weather.

Lucky magazine has been an ongoing proponent of this trend. Going back to the June 2010, Lucky styles a cotton dress from See by Chloe with a denim vest by Nanette Lepore worn with a belt from the Limited and four brooches, one by R.J. Graziano and three from

A chiffon and faux pearls brooch from adds panache to a one-shoulder top from MM Couture by Miss Me worn with cotton and lace shorts by Kate Moss for Topshop, as seen in the July 2010 issue of Lucky magazine.

The August 2010 issue of Lucky adds what appears to be nine brooches by Sequin to a satin jacket from worn over a sequined tank from Alice & Olivia by Stacey Bendet. Lucky notes that the vintage-style brooches and other styling details “have a relaxed, eclectic-heiress glamour.”

The August 2010 issue of Vogue styles the “Steal of the Month,” a flared skirt by Jones New York Collection, with a J. Crew cardigan adorned with an enamel brooch from Ben-Amun by Isaac Manevitz.

Forecasting fall looks, the August 2010 issue of Glamour uses a bright brooch from Elsa Peretti for Tiffany & Co. to accent a couple of different jackets, including this one from Burberry Prorsum.

The August 2010 issue of Harper’s Bazaar adds a Tory Burch brooch to a J. Crew blazer worn over a Tommy Hilfiger sweater in a look forward to the cold days ahead.

Brooches are not going out of style at the end of the summer season. Quite the contrary! Choose an abstract or geometric design for perennial appeal or a floral design with a bright pop of color for a terrific accent wherever you want to place the brooch well into the fall and winter. In the meantime, beat the heat. Be cool and wear a brooch.

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