Ode to Brooches: Pin-On Jewelry With Sharp Style

Collection of butterfly, insect and hummingbird brooches on blue background

What do Blake Lively, the British Royal Family, haute fashion house Alexander McQueen and former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright have in common? A passion for pins — not just the tailoring sort, but big, bold and bright brooches to set off an outfit as no other accessory can. The marvelous thing about brooches is that gorgeous bling can be had regardless of your budget. And shopping for these personality-packed jewelry pieces is an absolute pleasure.


See a pin and pick it up, all the day you’ll have good luck. – nursery rhyme

Here’s how to choose ’em…

  • Before you shop, make a list of your favorite colors, creatures, flowers, gemstones and metal tones. Keep these in mind as you browse.
  • Decide on size: One big statement piece or a smaller size that might work well as a cluster or themed collection. If you decide on smaller pieces, consider also exploring large stud earrings which often come in playful designs great for accenting a brooch array.
  • Look high and low. Your favorite piece may be hiding inside a discount costume jewelry collection — or you may discover a splurge-worthy piece at a local artisan goldsmith’s boutique.
  • Be a little bold. A brooch is a statement, so plan to own it. Pick up each piece and see if you feel excited imagining it pinned to a jacket or dress — that’s the one you should dare to wear.

Here’s how to wear ’em…

  • Dress up denim. Mixing splash and sparkle with the distressed vibe of denim has been a style win for ages.
  • Secure a coat, shawl or sweater. Add shine and security to your layers by pinning a cardigan closed at the neckline or securing the wrap of a large scarf with a brooch on your shoulder.
  • Create actual patterns. Runways are rampant with brooch-bedazzled dresses and sweaters this season. You can get the look simply and affordably by adding a cluster of pins to a hat or beret — or affixing an assortment of the bright accessories to accent a neckline or evenly positioning them across an entire garment.

Woman wearing distressed denim jacket decorated with floral brooches

Here’s how to share ’em:
Brooches are an evergreen trend that transcend ages, making them a great gift for jewelry lovers at all stages of life. You can select colors or motifs that truly reflect the personality of the recipient, showing how well you know them and how much you appreciate their unique style. And there’s a brooch for every price point! Once you’ve picked it, here’s how to gift it:

Make a DIY jewelry gift box:

  • Decorate a clean oyster pail (paper take-out box) with washi tape, and tuck a tissue-wrapped brooch inside.
  • Slide a brooch inside a 4″ section of paper towel tube; wrap in tissue and tie the ends like a traditional British Christmas cracker.
  • Bend and tape mismatched playing cards into a box shape.
  • Fold a sheet of newsprint or a page from an old, damaged book into an envelope, decorate with stamps.
  • Put a playful costume jewelry pin on top of another small present (such as a book or scarf) instead of a bow — for a little extra gifty-ness.

We’re hoping our coaching has given you the confidence to approach the brooch as terrific accessory or gift. Here’s to a season of style-right shine!