“Every new thing is a well forgotten old thing.” This saying is very accurate and fitting when it comes to the cycles of fashion. It explains why the brooch is returning to the catwalks in contemporary times. Just as our grandmothers used to decorate their dresses in the early years of the previous century with this marvelous accessory, the contemporary woman cannot imagine her outfit without a brooch to complete it.
In the last few years, fashion designers not only use brooches to enhance and decorate their creations but occasionally create the whole concept of the outfit around this accessory.
The brooch is not just any accessory or ornament. It has to have class and be luxurious. You can wear plastic bracelets and trinkets of lower quality, but never a low-quality brooch. This is one of the few jewels that can be used with many different outfits. It can decorate a causal top as well as a wedding gown or business suit. If you choose your brooches wisely, you will be able to take the fullest advantage of them because they will have wider applications.
The first brooch appeared in the Bronze Age. Many things have changed since then. The appreciation for this accessory has been fluctuating throughout the years but we know it was greatly valued in the 17th century, when it was popularized by Madame de Sevigne. What followed was a real boom of the jewel during the time of the spy games. Every self-respecting high-class woman had at least several brooches in her jewel box and they were frequently used as signs and means of communication when she wished to convey information to a certain person. In this way, none out of the many to admire her ornament could suspect that Madame has given out information to one of her guests.
Today no one uses the brooch to spy and disclose information. Nevertheless, it is still a sign – a sign of femininity. Its floral lines and motives speak of a pleasant, noble character. A brooch with sharp angles and straight lines speaks of a firm, goal-oriented lady. The vintage brooch is an indication that the lady wearing it has romantic taste.
Thanks to fashion, the popularity of the brooch has increased. It is difficult to imagine a vintage outfit without this seemingly small detail. In the 50s brooches were considered an ornament for confident ladies. They were worn by Queen Victoria, the British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the secretary of state Madeline Albright, and other prominent ladies. Today they are revered also by many celebrities who use brooches to highlight their grace and beauty. For example, Sharon Stone wears a glyptic brooch and earrings. Even the fashion legend Coco Chanel says that a woman should wear minimal jewelry. According to her, a brooch, a wristwatch or bracelet and one ring is quite sufficient amount of jewelry to compliment the perfect outfit.
It is an interesting fact that a brooch can highlight different parts of the body. Placed in the neck area it will emphasize the face, on the shoulder, it will accentuate on the neckline. If you fasten your brooch to the arm, it will draw attention to your wrists. You can also wear it on your hat if you want your new hair-do to be noticed.
The brooch is a universal accessory that can decorate hats, hair, scarves, coats, formal gowns, or business suits, purses, and shoes. It is important to remember that brooches can be combined with rings and earrings, but not bracelets or beads. They are most often used to add an interesting element to shoes and bags. Lately, the fashion of wearing a brooch greatly varies from the traditions that began in the middle ages.
Today showing your own style and expressing your personality is considered much more important than the traditional placement of the brooch. There is also a greater variety in the brooches than in classical times. Today they can be fashioned out of precious metals and stones, but can also include materials such as leather and fabric, and have several different textures. The classics however remain admired and preferred, being the representatives of a woman’s truly exquisite taste.