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Guest Post: Five Ways to Wear a Brooch

October 4, 2010

Jewelry, both new and old, is in abundance at Goodwill, and with enough hunting, you can find something truly special.

Brooches have always been one of my favorite pieces, ever since I fell in love with all those colorful, bejeweled pins my great-grandma had tucked away in her jewelry box. Don’t steer clear of these seemingly outdated pieces when you spot them at Goodwill; there are more ways to wear this classic accessory than you might think!

Maybe you’re used to seeing a big brooch paired against a cardigan or a winter coat, but what makes a brooch so versatile is its simple pin-back. This little pin can attach to nearly everything, making more than just your outerwear a statement piece. Here are my top five unexpected ways to wear a vintage brooch.

  • As a Pendant on a Necklace. This is easily my favorite way to show off my collection of brooches! Attach one to a simple string of beads or a chunky chain to make your own unique pendant. The pin-back should fit right in between the beads or in between a link of the chain. Oftentimes, I’ll set it off to the side of the necklace for an asymmetrical look.
  • On a Headband. Attach a smaller brooch or pin to a cloth headband. All you’ll need in your set of headbands are a few simple solids, and then coordinate them with your outfit by what you attach to them.
  • To Decorate a Purse. I love to use brooches on purses to give them a little something extra. It’s especially fun to pair several brooches with a patterned purse, finding ones that mimic or compliment the pattern nicely. If you use more than one brooch, you can cluster them or spread them out.
  • To Finish off a Scarf. If you’re tired of looking at last year’s scarf, update it with a brooch! Place it where you tie the scarf together, or at the tip.
  • On a Hat. My rule is that if it’s an accessory, you can probably find a way to jazz it up with a brooch! Hats have made a comeback, from the knitted slouchy berets to the vintage variety. Either type would look smart with a vintage brooch along the side.

-Amanda Aileen Fisher

Stop by our Contributors page for more about Amanda, or read her other posts here.


48 Comments leave one →
  1. October 4, 2010 9:58 am

    When I hear the word ‘brooch’ I think of the Red Hat Club. Either way, this was a nice post!

    • October 4, 2010 9:59 am

      Thank you! We love having Amanda as a contributor — she has such great style. 🙂

      ~Aleigh at Goodwill

  2. October 4, 2010 10:07 am

    I, too, have found great jewelry at the Goodwill.

    • October 4, 2010 10:12 am

      Glad to hear it Annah! We have a photo group on flickr called Goodwill Hunting where people share photos of their Goodwill treasures — would love to see your finds, too!

      ~Aleigh at Goodwill

  3. October 4, 2010 10:13 am

    Love your fashion style. I am always in awe of women who wear brooches, vintage jewelry and hats, and anything flea markety. I just look like my Aunt Sarah when I do this. It’s not pleasant.

  4. October 4, 2010 10:17 am

    Hello, I’m a student and I like your post on brooches. I do wear acent ware to challenge the dress ware on occations, wow.

  5. October 4, 2010 10:24 am

    On a purse — brilliant. This makes me want to go buy some brooches for my purse!


  6. Sunflowerdiva permalink
    October 4, 2010 11:06 am

    Brooches are fun to wear if you want an extra sparkle to your outfit. Great ideas. 😀

  7. October 4, 2010 11:18 am

    This is great, I have a ton of brooches that I never wear because I don’t want to pin them through delicate fabrics, but this is great.

    • marylin McDonald-Dorsey permalink
      October 4, 2010 1:29 pm

      i feel your pain about those delicate fabrics! have you thought of replacing the pin with a strong magnet? place another magnet just under the fabric and hold in place, works for me!

      • October 4, 2010 5:46 pm

        that’s a great idea, thanks for that!

  8. becky628 permalink
    October 4, 2010 11:22 am

    Thanks for the tip on Goodwill for brooches. I used to get mine at forever 21 and Burlington Coat factory but both have stopped carrying them. So Sad :-(. I will check out my local Goodwill and see what treasures I can find. Thanks again.

  9. October 4, 2010 11:25 am

    This is honestly a great way to save money and make a beautiful Christmas present! Great blog!

  10. October 4, 2010 12:06 pm

    Anytime you can re-purpose anything for multiple uses you are always getting more value than intended. When you find a unique item that sets you apart from others who cannot help but admire and be admired. People are in awe on what I can find a Goodwill and I am equally impressed on what comes up for sale.

    • October 4, 2010 12:51 pm

      We’re glad to hear you have success in our stores, Alibia!

      ~Aleigh at Goodwill

  11. Modern Funk permalink
    October 4, 2010 12:46 pm

    Or, if you have a cherished family heirloom brooch, you could pin it on the waist of your wedding dress as your “something old.”

    • October 4, 2010 1:50 pm

      What a beautiful idea! I love it when brides find ways of bringing color and uniqueness to their wedding attire, and this is a great way to do it.

      ~Amanda Aileen, Verabelle

    • October 4, 2010 2:09 pm

      I did exactly that – wore my grandmother’s brooch on the sash on my wedding dress. I got tons of compliments and it was sweet to remember my grandparents who passed years ago.

  12. October 4, 2010 12:52 pm

    I wish you had more pictures. I would like to see how you position the brooch on a hat to make it look funky and not dorky as I tend to do. Otherwise, congrats on being freshly pressed.

  13. mks45 permalink
    October 4, 2010 12:57 pm

    Great ideas! I like to use brooches as a sweater pin, instead of the uneven pull of a sweater belt, pin the sweater in front with a brooch instead. You can adjust where it fall ons you so it accents the most slender part of your waist. Happy Fashion!!

    • October 4, 2010 1:48 pm

      Great idea – I’ll definitely have to give this one a try, too!

      ~Amanda Aileen, Verabelle

  14. October 4, 2010 1:16 pm

    Hey that’s nice! good job!

  15. October 4, 2010 1:34 pm

    Very clever! I am definitely going to try on a necklace and scarf.

    ❤ Milieu

  16. October 4, 2010 2:04 pm

    wowww….gr8 ideas.

  17. October 4, 2010 2:19 pm

    Love the headband idea! Don’t know why I never thought of that!

  18. October 4, 2010 2:38 pm

    I’ve never thought to put one a necklace. Must try.

  19. October 4, 2010 3:01 pm

    Good post, Goodwill! Like your ideas. (I also use brooches in my mosaics, but that is another story.)

  20. nyota0uhura permalink
    October 4, 2010 3:29 pm

    I have a few brooches that were given to me or that I inherited from my grandmothers. I think they’re beautiful but I never quite knew what to do with them, as I don’t really like the classic way of wearing a brooch (my wardrobe doesn’t usually go with a brooch in conventional places). This post was really cool and has inspired me to try my brooches on my accessories (of which I have plenty!). Thanks for that!!

  21. October 4, 2010 4:45 pm

    I’m not really a brooch kinda gal…but I’ve found so many amazing things at second hand stores, Goodwill included. Some of the most fun I’ve had shopping!

  22. October 4, 2010 5:07 pm

    love this post and blog!

  23. October 4, 2010 6:26 pm

    thanks for the wonderful tips! I love brooches in headbands.

  24. October 4, 2010 7:16 pm

    Clever ideas, especially the pictured necklace. I hadn’t thought of putting it on a chunky beaded necklace, just a chain. 🙂

  25. October 4, 2010 7:21 pm

    Great ideas! I have a bunch of brooches laying around and now they have purpose!

  26. October 4, 2010 7:26 pm

    A couple of weekends ago I went to an indie designer market in Boston and one jewelry maker told me that pins are passe. Nice to see that not all of the younger generation think so.

  27. ryoko861 permalink
    October 4, 2010 7:30 pm

    I remember in the 80’s those denim coats were adorned with pins.

    My friend just gave me an idea the other day. Display your pin collection on a decorative pillow or make a pillow cover for over an old pillow. If you want a pin,just remove it. When done, just repin it.

    Great post! Inspiring!

    • October 5, 2010 4:55 pm

      Another great idea! The possibilities really are endless, aren’t they? Thanks so much for sharing!

  28. October 4, 2010 8:19 pm

    I ADORE collecting the old marvelous vintage brooches. So many of them have so much more depth and style than what I ordinarily see at most retail stores. I even cited them as an item for single women to wear to make it easy for guys to talk with them (guys are always asking me for help that way)


    seriously, guys need some help here.
    And WE girl get to have more fun shopping, sporting, and wearing these fun brooches!

    April Braswell

  29. उन्मुक्त permalink
    October 4, 2010 8:22 pm

    I think photographs of the person wearing brooch in different ways would have explained it better.

  30. October 4, 2010 8:45 pm

    Cool ideas. Esp the one with the necklace.

  31. October 4, 2010 9:30 pm

    since im a muslim and wear a scarf, i always wear a brooch..there are two type of broof if u were with scarf.. a small and a big one..a small brooch usually we wear to pin up our scarf at chin and the big one to pin up either cloth or shoulder… =)

  32. jterrill permalink
    October 4, 2010 10:59 pm

    I love vintage jewelry, especially the brooch. I can’t wait to accessorize my hats. I am always scouring the “junk” stores for vintage jewelry. I just picked up a couple of nice pieces this past week at a resale shop. Wore them today and loved the look.

  33. October 4, 2010 11:45 pm

    Very creative! I only thought that brooches are worn on the left or right upper chest only. This post totally psyched me. 🙂

  34. October 5, 2010 1:43 am

    Clever ideas, especially the pictured necklace. I hadn’t thought of putting it on a chunky beaded necklace, just a chain

  35. October 5, 2010 6:58 am

    Good fun! I have a big collection of brooches and love wearing them — I’ll second the idea of using one to pin a sweater shut. I also use one to close a wool coat that’s bathrobe style that doesn’t have buttons or a zipper.

    Check out Madeline Albright’s brooches and use of same.

    Some women also pin them high on one shoulder. If you have small(er) ones in similar colors or styles, multiples are nice.

    I’ve also used them to pull in a too-big jacket at the back, like a jeweled detail, at the waist.

  36. October 5, 2010 7:54 am

    I love adding a brooch to a plain pair of flats. It’s adds such a fun twist somewhere unexpected.

    • October 5, 2010 4:57 pm

      Yes, I totally agree! I actually do this with clip-on earrings. I definitely see a clip-on earring post in my future… I have found so many great uses for those, as well!

  37. October 5, 2010 9:42 am

    I love vintage jewelry!

  38. Generation 26 permalink
    October 6, 2010 3:18 pm

    Wow thanks! This gives me a reason to buy a brooch now lol

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