The New, Weird, Fabulous Ways to Wear Brooches

Your guide to the modern update of the pin.


Bring on the pin. | Images via Nordstrom and Modern Kiddo.

A few years ago, I took to wearing a cluster of vintage brooches on everything: sweaters, dresses, t-shirts, clutches. After a while I grew tired of the look — and the pinholes I poked in everything. Now my exceedingly vast brooch collection languishes in a Lucite box in our living room so I can still see my treasures, even if I don’t wear them. (In fact, the only one that gets any play is a tiny vintage rhinestone star brooch which I leave on the pocket of my Madewell chambray button-down, a pinprick of sparkle that differentiates it from the 19 other chambray button-downs you’ll see in the Philly Mag offices on a given day.)

But now the brooch is back in a big way, turning up in unexpected places like the cuff of a pair of jeans or clipped to a belt loop. Yesterday, I stumbled upon photos of the shoes that stomped down Céline’s latest runway show: painfully prim square-toed shoes with a disarmingly long toe-box and a low stacked heel. They were rather nondescript — even a tad ugly— except for the pairs that featured a spangly spray of rhinestones and pearls, huge antique brooches that hung like fringe at the sides of the shoe or that burst with wild abandon from the toe. 

I suddenly had the urge — and still do! — to run home, upend my box o’ brooches and affix them to everything I own. And it seems I’m not alone: Everyone is revisiting the once-staid accessories, and the ways to wear them are endless. Here are just some of the coolest spots to place your pins now. (Lucky you, these are the easiest accessories to score at vintage stores!) Happy pinning.

So you don’t have to go all out like this, but a brooch clipped to a shoe — like a perforated loafer or a woven-leather strappy sandal — adds an interesting touch.


Céline’s autumn/winter 2015 shoes.

Brooches are not just for wedding updos. Clip a brooch at the top of a high messy bun or, if you prefer a low bun, tuck one near the nape of your neck. Keep your hair loosely undone, though. Too perfect and you’ll look like a misguided prom-goer.

Pin a few to your belt loops, or on the inner cuff of your jeans.

I’ll be revisiting my old brooch clusters this spring. Pile ‘em on — the more, the better. Brooch epaulets? Yes, please!


Photo on right via Nordstrom.

The old standard! But see how cool it looks?


Image on right via Man Repeller.

Think of it as the beginnings of a very fancy bolo tie. (Whatever you do, don’t try this with a cameo pin, or risk looking like a Victorian lady.)