How To Wear a Brooch

Whether you have a relative or a friend who gifts you a beautiful brooch, it can easily become a treasured piece in your collection. However, not everyone knows how to wear a brooch in the first place. And we get that that’s why you’re here. 

These gorgeous little ornaments are making their way onto every lapel, hat, or turtleneck, and we love to see it. However, if you weren’t gifted one but would like to own one, you might be wondering where to get them and how they’ve made their way into modern fashion.

We’ll be looking into the long and impressive history of the brooch, tell you what they’re all about, and give you some detailed outfit inspo on how best to rock these adorable (or in some cases, huge) pieces of jewelry. 

If you want to know where to pin these little accessories on your outfit, what ensembles pair best with a brooch, and where you can wear these jeweled ornaments, we’ve got the answers (and the evidence!). So, sit tight while we get down to some brooch business.

We’re confident once you’re done reading this article, you’ll know exactly what to do with your historical piece of jewelry. You’ll know how to wear a brooch, where to buy one, and what outfit pairs best with the style or design you’ve chosen. Read on to learn more!

What is a Brooch?

A brooch is a piece of jewelry that involves a small pin and latch, or a pin that goes straight through a piece of clothing that can secure on the other side, much like an earring. These little accessories can come in a variety of designs, including bejeweled, metallic, or fabric, and in some cases, a blend of materials.

Brooches are worn to zhuzh up an outfit or add a bit of spice to an ensemble that could use a bit of fun. Sometimes, these beautiful jewels can symbolize ideas, be a family heirloom, or are worn strictly for fashion purposes.

Whatever the reason, these fancy little ornaments will be a conversation piece and be an inspiration to others who don’t have one of their own.

History of the Brooch

Did you know that brooches have been around since the Bronze Age, and were originally fashioned out of sticks and metals? Think togas in ancient Greece! Yep, these little ornaments were practical yet pretty at the same time. They’ve also been worn by Celts, Vikings, and royalty.

Fast forward a few centuries to a more refined time when brooches symbolized status — men wore them on hats and lapels, while women typically wore them on their chest or as a fastener to a shawl.

In some cases, brooches were as significant as an outlandish ring and were meant to be passed along as an heirloom. They also often symbolized family or love.

Today, brooches are more available and exist as a fashion accessory more than anything else. However, they can mean whatever you want them to, or you might be one of the lucky folks who was given an heirloom brooch. Amazing!

The only thing you need to do next is to figure out how to wear a brooch. 

When to Wear a Brooch

Brooches are so versatile and flexible, it’s hard to think of a time when it wouldn’t be appropriate to integrate one into your outfit, much like shoes! However, we’ve thought of a few more specific examples of when and how to wear a brooch so you can snag some inspo for your next outfit.

If you’ve got a statement brooch (vintage, bejeweled, or just large), this might be the perfect accessory to complete your (formal or casual) outfit. Brooches that grab attention pair nicely with a plain dress, two-tone outfits, or more subtle ensembles like a hat, jumpsuit, and boots.

If you’ve got a smaller brooch that demands less attention, it might just be a nice addition to your getup, kinda like a pair of earrings, a bracelet, or a ring. However, what you’ll get with a brooch is that it’s a bit more unique than your average accessory, and can elevate your style choices to a whole new level, even if you’re just headed to brunch!

How to Wear a Brooch

If you’re wondering how to wear a brooch, we’ve come up with some tips to style and integrate it into your outfit with ease. Luckily, brooches are versatile and can be worn virtually anywhere on your outfit, as we’ll explain.

First, you have to ask yourself some key questions: How big is my brooch? How much does it weigh? These answers will help you narrow down your outfit choices, as a bigger brooch will need more material real estate, such as a breast or lapel.

And if your brooch is quite heavy, a jacket lapel might be the only area that can hold it up without any awkward sagging.

The next question you might want to ask is: How bold is your brooch? Is it a simple textile design or is it a statement piece for your outfit? If you want your brooch to stand out and get noticed, the neckline of a sweater or a turtleneck works great, as does the base of a hat or along the side of your headband.

If you want to wear your brooch more subtly, you might want to consider the sleeve of your shirt, the hip of your dress, or the strap of your purse. This way, you can rock your stylish accessory without committing fully to its presence.

Next, we’ll give you some visual suggestions along with more detailed inspiration on how to wear a brooch.

5 Outfit Ideas with a Brooch

If you’re looking to give your outfit a bit of an edge when wearing a new brooch or find unique ways how to wear a brooch, then use it to cinch a scarf together or decorate a favorite wrap.

By pairing these two accessories together, it’s like a match made in heaven. In moments, your outfit can be elevated from simple to chic. 

When you want to wear your brooch on a scarf, consider a few questions: Does the rest of my outfit match? Do I want my brooch to be the centerpiece?

If you do, then the best ways of knowing are to keep some elements simple. If your outfit is loud, ensure the brooch and scarf combo is more subtle. 

One easy and unique way to stay ahead of the trend or update a basic wardrobe with something special is with the brooch. Some outfits can come across as kind of simple, but by adding something vintage, colorful, or intricate to a headband. Once you do, you’ve upgraded a plain ensemble to chic in moments. 

Pinning one to your hat might seem obvious, but it’s one of the areas people don’t think about wearing one. If you’ve considered donning your favorite piece of jewelry on a simple and typically low-key item of clothing, then you’re getting it right! 

There’s no argument that the classic chest placement of a brooch is a more traditional location to sport this adorable little accessory. Regardless of your outfit, the brooch will elevate your ensemble if you’re placing it front and center, right where it’s been known to exist since its beginning.

Whether you’re decked in the ol’ jeans-and-T-shirt outfit or sporting a gorgeous sweater dress, a brooch placed at the breast is the best way to pay homage to this little number.

Pin your grand or minimal number to a centrally-located spot and you’ve not only got yourself a memento of fashion, but a conversation piece many folks might be jealous of.

For an extravagant yet low-key placement, your neck is a great place to pin this intricate piece of jewelry. By employing the rise of a turtleneck, crew neck, or V-neck shirt or sweater, you can ensure some prime-time viewing pleasure for your iconic accessory.

This may not be an obvious place for your brooch but your neck is a central place to draw attention to your ornate jewelry. By pinning a brooch to your nape, you’ll gain surprise and a ton of compliments at your unique placement. It’s definitely one place to try right away. 

A classic and unwavering spot to place your brooch is the lapel of any blazer, sport coat, or jacket. It’s nice to keep it simple but we totally understand the urge to elevate your easy outfit with this small element of style.

That’s where the brooch comes in. A shiny, bejeweled, or even basic metallic construction can add a bit of an edge or flare to your ensemble.

As you can see, the drama of a lapel-located brooch isn’t anything to scoff at; it’s equal to wearing a fantastic hat or a striking pair of earrings. And who doesn’t love that? You want to know how to wear your brooch? With confidence, style, and ownership. After all, you’re in possession of one of the accessories that are high in demand!

What Type of Brooch Can You Get?

What type of brooch you get entirely depends on the occasion. There’s a variety of options that might help you decide what, how, or where you’ll want to wear this gorgeous piece of jewelry. Not to mention creating a specific aesthetic with its size, location, and design.

For example, you might want a traditional, bejeweled, heavy piece of artwork displayed on your lapel. Additional qualities might have it be handmade, vintage, or one of a kind.

Or, if you’re looking for something sleek, modern, and more metallic-based, then you might end up with a lightweight piece. This is an attainable style that can be found anywhere!

Then again, you might be on the market for a tiny jewel and metal-based brooch. Something like this can be versatile, as it can be placed anywhere on your clothing without making too much of a statement. Often, heirloom brooches are made in such small-profile terms.

Whichever type of brooch you’re looking for — old school vintage, handmade, one of a kind, or modern — places like Etsy would be a great place to search for a piece that suits you. We guarantee it!

How to Choose the Best Brooch

Now that you know how to style and wear your brooch, there are a few core questions to ask yourself when searching for the best brooch. Naturally, a large part of your journey is going to depend on your outfit. But that’s not the only deciding factor on what’s going to influence your decision.

Here’s an idea of what could play into you deciding on a specific brooch:

  • Price: Brooches come in all shapes, sizes, and definition. Depending on where you purchase your brooch and what standard you’re looking for, expect a difference in price. Just like any other piece of jewelry, you can find brooches that range from costume to high-fashion, and the price is going to reflect that, so choose wisely!
  • Quality: Know that every brooch has been made with its own level of integrity. If you just want something easy to wear on the lapel of your jean jacket, then quality might not be at the top of your search. But if you want a brooch that adds something blue to your wedding dress, enough said — quality is going to be at the top of your mind.
  • Material: Everyone has different tastes and needs regarding their jewelry 

needs. If you’re all about the bling, then you’re going to be seeking a brooch that draws the eye to your accessory like a crow to a shiny thing. 

However, if you’re more of a subtle brooch-wearer, you’re going to be looking for an unassuming and bling-free model, which might involve metal, wood, or textiles. These can still bring the wow with a little less pop.

Fashion Tips to Avoid With a Brooch

If you’ve got a brooch or two in your possession and are still fresh out the gate on how to wear a brooch, we’re here to lead you in the right direction.

A quick list of fashion tips should give you insight and inspiration on how best to rock that regal and unique piece of jewelry you’re holding in your clutches.

Okay, so we figured a quick list of don’ts is the best way to get you started on how to wear a brooch:

  1. Don’t pin a brooch on a piece of fabric that can’t hold it up. A lot of brooches are quite heavy, and if you’re trying to pin it to a thin shirt, then you’re going to experience an epic fashion fail. The last thing you want is a saggy brooch! Not only will it look sad, it’ll ruin your clothes and the ornament will be the last factor.
  1. Also, consider the type of fabric you’re pinning your brooch to. Keep in mind the majority of brooches are attached using a pin. If you’re wearing fine or temperamental fabrics, then you won’t want to poke holes as it might cause permanent damage. We love brooches, but we don’t love ruining clothes!
  1. Make sure your brooch is visible and comfortable, otherwise, why are you wearing it? There’s not a whole lot of don’ts regarding how to wear a brooch, but if you’re going to put it where it might dig into your skin (like the hem of a shirt or waistline on ), then you’re going to be sorry!

These little devils can be sharp or serrated, depending on the design. If you’ve got it placed in the wrong spot, then it might be the bane of your existence for an entire evening. Let’s all try to avoid that.

  1. Don’t over-accessorize, especially if you want your brooch to be a statement! It’s similar to putting too many busy patterns together, your eye just doesn’t know where to look. If you’re going to wear a beautiful brooch, show it off. 

Aside from how to wear a brooch wrong and where you won’t want it digging in, the list above is just a few classic mistakes you might want to avoid. 

Best Places to Buy a Brooch

Luckily for all of us, brooches are easy to access and there are many designs available. However, finding the right brooch is the key to success, so shopping around for the perfect accessory is just as essential as looking for an epic hat or a pair of earrings to match your personality. 

Although choices for brooches are abundant, finding the right one is no less important. Whether you’re looking in-store and finding a weight and size to your liking, or searching online for the perfect match, here is a list of places that might have what you’re looking for:

  • People’s Jewelers
  • Hudson’s Bay
  • The Irish Store
  • Zulily
  • Amazon
  • Wolf & Badger
  • Glencara Irish Jewelry
  • Worn to Love
  • Melanie Lyne
  • Glamira
  • Shein
  • Etsy

Final Thoughts

Brooches aren’t only reserved for elderly ladies anymore; there are a lot of women — from Gen Z to millennials and up — who have started accessorizing their outfits with these ornate pieces. 

Brooches may be an age-old accessory, but they’re still popular for a reason! Their simplicity, accessibility, and the fact that they can be worn with any outfit make them one of the best accessories in our books.

If you’ve got a brooch hiding away in that jewelry box, or you’ve had your eye on a modern brooch at your favorite store, don’t hesitate to rock that little ornament as soon as possible. That way, you can inspire your friends and onlookers to seek their own unique brooch. 

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