How To Rock: Brooches

- By Angela Su – 

Olivia rocks brooches on her clutch (from her personal collection)

Despite best efforts at curating and collecting, too often we feel a sense of ambivalence and disappointment at our wardrobes. It’s a struggle famously captured by Carrie Bradshaw’s timeless quip, “Closet full of clothes and nothing to wear.”

When faced with this issue, most of us would find it impractical, if not impossible, to simply do away with our wardrobe and start anew, no matter how powerful the desire to do so may be. Because of that, we have to find ways to make our clothes feel new and exciting again. And therein lies the power of the ultimate transformative accessory: the brooch.

Brooches, too long associated with grandmothers and ill-advised sweater sets, are making a comeback because of their ability to make an old closet standby glamorous and fresh. Here are some of the most creative ways brooches are being used to augment and accentuate:

  • Color to your Collar. Designers breathed new life into the button-up blouse by adding accoutrements to the simple collar. Most notable were the beautiful hammered collar tips Balenciaga showed in their SS2011 collection which has inspired DIYs and high street retailer copy cat looks from Zara. Use an artfully placed brooch to transform a plain collared blouse to a fashion piece. Be wary of the weight of your brooch; too heavy of an accessory will drag the small piece of fabric down and sag.
  • Asymmetry is key. Asymmetrical dresses and looks continue to dominate on the runways and streets. Exaggerate the effect by placing a brooch on a single strap, centering in on the area right between the collarbone and the chest. In this case, bigger is better; find a brooch that will take up the entirety of that area and blend in seamlessly with the dress.
  • In the bag. Or should I say on? A brooch can transform a plain purse to a statement piece in its own right. The material of the bag is essential – be sure that your brooch will not cause any damage to the piece. Experiment with placement. A good rule of thumb is imagining where the designer may put their label on the bag and use this location as an aesthetic guide for where to place your statement accessory.
  • Pin it on. A simple way to reinvigorate an old necklace is to pin on a brooch. We’re feeling particularly inspired by the necklaces of designer Elva Fields with its bold baubles interrupted with romantic blooms of brooches. Take care to make sure that the chain is thin enough for the pin to secure so you avoid damaging either piece.

Angela Su, a native New Yorker, is a senior studying sociology at Harvard University. She loves cats, cassettes, and anything Miuccia Prada has ever touched. 


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  • October 26, 2011


    Thank you forthe tips! Love it!

  • October 26, 2011


    Love her clutch it is super cute :)

    Kisses from


  • October 26, 2011


    I love brooches but have a hard time working them into my outfits… I wish you would elaborate more on the first tip… I’m not sure about the sizes of my brooches and how they relate to the size of my collar… for example, would a small cameo work on a large dramatic oversized collar?

  • October 27, 2011


    Wearing one now :)

  • November 1, 2011


  • November 4, 2011


    Such a beautiful idea. I’ve been antique shop hunting for brooches and I’ve found quite a few great vintage gems!

    <3 Ren

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