Trend Watch: Brooches – Part 1

Brooches are only just being discovered by some baby boomers and their progeny who previously associated brooches with grandma (there’s a disparaging comment about just such an association in Candace Bushnell’s 2007 book Lipstick Jungle, for example).


But your fashion-savvy customers will know that some of our favorite celebrities have been using these sparklers on the red carpet over the last several years.


Among the notable celebrities who have discovered the delight of brooches are Sarah Jessica Parker, who has been photographed wearing a large diamond tree branches design brooch in variously creative manners, including pinned to her waist at the 2004 Emmy Awards, and Cate Blanchett, who wore a beautiful Lorraine Schwartz brooch pinned to the shoulder of her gown at the 2005 Academy Awards.


(Photo of Sarah Jessica Parker at 2004 Emmy Awards
from (c);
photo of Cate Blanchett at 2005 Academy Awards 
from by Jeff Vespa (c)

In its September 2007 issue, Vogue magazine assigned one of its fashion aces, Plum Sykes, to test drive and write about one of fall’s “most intimidating accessories” – brooches. Ms. Sykes wrote that she had never previously worn brooches. Among the lessons she learned:

·        The modern way to wear brooches is in a creative cluster.

·        Never try to pin on brooches after you are wearing the garment to which they will be affixed. Arrange and pin the brooches onto the garment first.

·        Long hair worn down works with brooches only if the hair is immaculately groomed.

·        If you are going to decorate yourself with pretty, sparkly things, everything else you wear should be kept simple.


One of the great delights of brooches is that they can be used as a punctuation mark, bringing attention almost anywhere the wearer would like it to go. Because brooches are so versatile, they are worth introducing to your customers, many of whom, like Ms. Sykes, may never have considered them.


In fact, they present a great opportunity to express a little personality and even act as a conversation starter. As Ms. Sykes noted, adding a Bakelite brooch to the shoulder of her designer dress added “a shot of color and femininity.” She found that: “Instead of looking like any other girl in a black dress, I looked like someone faintly original.”


In case you are thinking that brooches are appropriate only for women of a certain age, consider that celebrities such as Emma Watson (of Harry Potter fame, and one of People magazine’s best-dressed for 2007) has been photographed wearing a Chanel frock with a brooch prominently adorning her waist.


(Photo by Richard Young/Startraks in 9/24/07 People magazine.)

A brooch is the perfect self-purchase treat for your women customers who may already have good working jewelry wardrobes. With brooches, as with all jewelry, assist your customer in finding a brooch of the appropriate colors, size and scale to work with her personal coloring, features and personality.


Brooches provide immediate gratification for someone who cannot wear your stock sizes of rings, bracelets or necklaces. Because brooches present no issues of fit, they also make excellent gifts. They work on everyone but again, be mindful of appropriate scale. A tiny brooch, all alone, may look forlorn on a larger person, whereas a huge brooch may be too much for a small-boned customer to carry off. 


As Ms. Sykes noted, however, the modern way to wear brooches is in creative clusters. The overly tiny brooch may easily be salvaged by adding one or more additional brooches. More on that in Part 2 next week.


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