Brooches Are Back!

I’ve been delighted to observe the enthusiasm for, and staying power of, brooches in the world of fashion. Brooches remain popular for good reason – they add panache near the face when a necklace won’t work and earrings just aren’t enough, and they bring highly targeted emphasis to a portion of an ensemble or one’s best feature.

The editor in chief of Lucky magazine, Brandon Holley, takes an enthusiastic view of brooches in the October 2011 issue, commenting in the Letter from the Editor: “I am not an accessories junkie. I’m barely a recreational user. But the notion of piling on bangles and brooches with old-lady abandon is so appealing. Fact is, you’re not styled until you’ve done your accessories; and you’re not styled to the nines unless you’ve pinned, clipped or snapped on a bauble. It tells the world you have a ‘who cares’ attitude.”

Indeed, the October 2011 issue of Lucky contains a marvelous pictorial feature, “How to Wear a Brooch like Elizabeth Taylor.” Dame Elizabeth is shown wearing brooches “way off center” looking “very va-va-voom”; pinned at her waist to show off a great dress or figure; fastened to the bottom of a v-neck, and added to an understated coat to give it “a sparkly second life.” The brooches pictured are from Freedom at Topshop, Monet and

The same issue of Lucky suggests that brooches are an essential for the gamine look, described as: “It’s chicer than chic, fantastically Left Bank, and when we say it has a certain ‘je ne sais quoi,’ what we’re really thinking is, Oh my God, we just die for this look.” With regard to brooches for this look, “The more whimsical the better.” The tiger, flower and bow brooches pictured are from


The November 2011 issue of Lucky confirms that brooches have fashion staying power. In this image, reflecting the “formula for English boarding-school chic: a posh, tailored blazer and a flirty flash of tartan,” the model wears a brass, enamel and silver brooch from along with several bracelets: a cubic zirconia and gold vermeil bangle from and cuffs of gold vermeil from Jessica Ricci. Her ensemble consists of a velvet blazer from Tommy Hilfiger, cashmere and cotton lace cardigan from, Vivienne Westwood Anglomania wool skirt, Spanx hosiery, Hue socks, Manolo Blahnik boots and Fendi bag.

An example of brooches “piled on” appears in the September 2011 issue of Elle magazine in a picture of a coat and pants ensemble from Valentino worn with a silk pajama top from Olatz and a cluster of vintage brooches from

A feature in the November 2011 issue of Marie Claire discussing the “eco-cool” fashions of Stella McCartney pictures her palm tree brooch along with her organic and eco-friendly fashions.

In the November 2011 issue of Glamour, the publication’s executive fashion director extols a tweedy look for fall, accented with an elegant gold brooch in a leaf design from Jean Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co.

The November 2011 issue of Town & Country pictures jeweled eye candy, including a charming balloon brooch from Vhernier (the Palloncino brooch) that would certainly meet Lucky’s criteria for a gamine-look accessory, along with earrings from Hemmerle and from Yossi Harari.

In the feature “10 Ways to Look More Polished” in the September 2011 issue of InStyle, the magazine reports: “Loose, effortless-looking chignons were accented with chic brooches at the Chanel show. Sam McKnight, who styled the dos, says to first mist strands with texturizing spray to rough them up (this will help keep the pin from slipping). Twist hair into a knot, fasten, then clip your jeweled piece into the side. For extra security, slide a few bobby pins under the closure.” The featured glass and crystal brooch with gold plate is from Roxanne Assoulin for Lee Angel.

InStyle reiterates the suggestion to “pop in a sparkly pin” as an easy holiday hair trick in the December 2011 issue. Actress Blake Lively is pictured in a brooch-adorned ‘do from her hairstylist Rod Ortega. The magazine also pictures a pair of brooches, one silver-plated and one gold-plated, with Austrian crystals from R.J. Graziano.

The September 2011 issue of Elle features an ensemble from Celine, including a leather coat to which is affixed a vintage brooch from A savvy reader called the issue to the attention of the magazine’s editorial staff, writing in a letter published in a later issue, “if a pin is put onto leather, the holes never come out; I consider this a fashion mistake.” An assistant fashion editor for the magazine responded: “Much like in a film, on a fashion shoot, you’re not supposed to see the sleights of hand and high-flying wires. Did we use double-stick tape? Was there an intern holding the brooch, who then got magically Photoshopped away? Avoid holes in your leather by pinning a brooch on a chic scarf instead.” I would add that the Elle staff and readers might be interested in learning about a patented design called the Magna-Pin that can hold a brooch securely to a leather garment without piercing it. The model in Elle also wears a sterling silver pendant necklace from Elsa Peretti, Tiffany & Co.

The November 2011 issue of Town & Country pictures, among the latest resort collection designs, a grouping of pins from Vionnet it terms “must have,” reporting: “At Vionnet, designer Rodolfo Paglialunga’s recent trips to Africa, India, and Japan inspired pieces like a color-blocked coat with kimono sleeves and beaded elephant pins to clip onto anything—shoes, hair, a handbag—that cries out for a bit of adventure.”

Actress Kim Cattrall adds excitement to a blazer with five brooches pinned to one lapel and an additional sparkly element peeking out of a pocket on the same side, in this photo from the November 21, 2011 issue of New York magazine. 

If you still haven’t discovered brooches, now just may be the time to go a bit adventurous. Whether your preferred look is schoolgirl tweedy, gamine chic or va-va-voom, you may discover a  new-found enthusiasm for the stylish effect of brooches.

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