How to wear a brooch without looking retro?

I have a killer insect brooch that I love and seems to be on-trend, but every time I try to work it into an outfit it doesn't feel right. Has anyone seen any outfit pics or street style pics showing how to wear a brooch "now"? 

I have seen suggestions as hair decor and on dressy dresses, but I'm looking for more of a modern take. 

Is this even a thing? Maybe people aren't really wearing them?

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  • catgirl replied 6 years ago

    I have a couple of wild cat brooches I pin onto my slouchy beanies. Have also worn as necklaces if they are suitable and on fabric bags when I carried those. Can also pin on a scarf but I don't see you wearing those much.

  • Astrid replied 6 years ago

    Maybe pinned to a denim jacket?

  • Peri replied 6 years ago

    Maybe cluster several together?

  • Debra replied 6 years ago

    I have seen them worn on a denim jacket by a very cool looking young lady and I thought it looked great. You brooch sounds wonderful :)

  • Kat replied 6 years ago

    I love a good insect brooch!  I've always longed for a scarab or a bee myself, but the right piece has never found me.  I really like the idea above of pinning it to denim, or something more casual, to make it look more modern.  I could see a nifty scarab on an army jacket, myself.  

  • Rusty replied 6 years ago

    Great question! I have something similar and have been wondering how to style it. I am following with interest to see what other suggest also.

  • Runcarla replied 6 years ago

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe TracyLiz65 posted some pics of clustered pins on denim jackets inspired by something she had seen!? I like alskagirl' s suggestion of pinning it to a slouchy toque or beret.

  • Jjsloane replied 6 years ago

    I think depending on the size it could look good on destructed jeans looking like an embellishment. I could also see it wherever a button would be as a replacement (again depending on size). I'm curious as I have a large collection of vintage rhinestone brooches I would love to bring out of the jewelry drawer. 

  • Sona replied 6 years ago

    On a coat?

  • Greyscale replied 6 years ago

    Try putting it centered at the neckline. I think that looks really modern on a blouse/shirt that's buttoned up all the way.

    Here are some ideas from Nordstrom:

  • fern replied 6 years ago

    I like Greyscale's link: I was thinking of pinning the two sides of a scarf or an open cardigan together - but they show a brooch pinning a deep orange fur stole!

  • Neel replied 6 years ago

    Thanks greyscale for that link!  Brilliant ideas in there!

  • Deborah replied 6 years ago

    Rae I'd like to see the brooch in question:). I really like Jjsloans idea. I find brooches often fall into one of two categories, retro or old fashioned and dated. I love them but they are tricky. I have a couple of lovely ones but just don't know what to do with them. A really modern design is different and IMHO easier to work with. Watching this thread with eager anticipation.

  • krishnidoux replied 6 years ago

    Have you tried putting it on a hat? I am thinking tweed cap, of the side...

  • Deborah replied 6 years ago

    I quite liked these two ideas. Possibly workable for day wear;)

  • Lantana replied 6 years ago

    On the side of your boot? At the back of your neck? On your wrist. You know, anywhere a creepycrawly would naturally gravitate to.

  • gryffin replied 6 years ago

    Rae - I once sat behind a woman at the theater.  She had a gold and black enamel bumblebee pinned to the back shoulder of her black dress.  I had to do a double take to make sure it wasn't real!  I think pinning it to an unexpected area, as if it just landed, was really witty and a lot of fun.  We spent the entire intermission discussing her collection of insect pins.  Just a thought!!

  • amiable replied 6 years ago

    Can you turn it into a pendant and wear it as a necklace?  Or pin it somewhere other than where a brooch would normally go?

  • Joy replied 6 years ago

    I've been wearing brooches as pendants on either a chain or leather. Craft stores have the leather, often with attached clasp, in different widths and colors. You might manage to pin it to a studded leather cuff.

  • Janet replied 6 years ago

    Great question and great ideas. I am watching with interest. I have quite a collection of pins and brooches -- many inherited from my mom, and some that I still own from back in the 80s when they were more popular. Some are very vintage, and some are more modern -- a ginkgo leaf is a more recent favorite that I put on a chain and wear as a pendant.

    I've been moving towards a less-is-more approach towards jewelry lately, and wearing just one statement piece per outfit, plus my rings and watch, but I'd love to get more use out of my pins. Thanks for all the good ideas so far!

  • Archer replied 6 years ago

    Have you tried it on an otherwise monotone outfit?

  • Cindy replied 6 years ago

    I have several brooches that I don't wear as often as I should so I like some of the ideas here. I like to wear a cluster of brooches on a blazer or coat. I would wear the insect with a flower or two!

  • Neha replied 6 years ago

    Pinning a brooch at the nape of your neck (if you have short hair or if you've done an updo) looks very classy. 

  • ironkurtin replied 6 years ago

    I say embrace the retro, personally.  I have several very small bug pins that I use to keep the gap over my boobs closed on certain shirts, but they are deliberately small.  For a big pin, I'd probably let it be the diva and stick it right where it couldn't be missed.

  • unfrumped replied 6 years ago

    I collected some vintage-y flower pins as well, mostly sterling or antique looking metals and liked to wear them with blazers. Then I just got too busy to fuss with much of it. Still I'd like to wear them on the jackets because often my jackets are simple styles.

    I have trouble with what would be the difference between a "signature" look that continues through different years, vs. "dated". I'm up for trying the brooch-as-pendant idea, since I'd like more pendant options (simple necklaces can often work for work) but would have fun using what I have in  a new way and the vintage pins would give a more unique result.

  • ManidipaM replied 6 years ago

    Thread through jacket cuffs or epaulettes or tabs on sleeves or shoelaces? Pin to a chain and add to a vest the way you might wear a pocket watch? Attach to suspenders if you do those at all? If you wear fingerless gloves in your climes, place them on the back of your hand? Have it crawling half out of a jacket or coat pocket? If any of your belts are fabric or perforated leather or have chainlink detailing, use on the buckle? Place on the bicep of long-sleeved t-shirts? Weat it in the cables of a chunky sweater, but either really high (shoulder, neckline) or lower than the bust...

  • Astrid replied 6 years ago

    A lot of fantastic ideas in this thread! I'm going to bookmark it.

  • rae replied 6 years ago

    This is my brooch - I have others, but this is the one I really, really want to wear. It's rather large... close to real mantis size. 

    Hm, I don't want to do a cluster for sure. Again, that feels retro and at odds with where my style has been going lately. I'm going to see if I can get it to cooperate today. Going to try either the center-of-the-collar method or the crawling-on-the-shirt method!

    Thank you for all the wonderful ideas, especially those who added pics!

  • Faith replied 6 years ago

    I was also going to suggest Greyscale's idea of pinning one at the neck of a high-buttoned shirt or blouse. It seems to me to be soooo retro (as in Edwardian rather than mid-century) that it can look surprisingly modern. I'm also inspired by Gryffin's suggestion to extend the idea to blouses that button at the back of the neck, I may just experiment with placing a brooch at the top center of a back-button collar. I've also used brooches in the past as a kind of faux button closure on a a swing-style blazer. My main concern with the vintage brooches I have is that the pins are so wide and the brooches so heavy that I worry about them damaging fabric -- some of them are definitely too heavy to go anywhere near a delicate blouse. I'll keep some of the scarf, etc., suggestions in mind for those!

  • rae replied 6 years ago

    Yes, Faith, my brooch is heavy, and I also worry about damage. Great point!

  • Diana replied 6 years ago

    Hmm, I used to wear a lizard a lot, pinned on a denim jacket like Astrid's photo.  I've also done a brooch on a blazer (not on the lapel, but just around collarbone level next to the lapel. 

    I wonder if pinning it to a belt might work too (or a belt loop).

  • rachylou replied 6 years ago

    Has anyone mentioned wearing brooches at the waist?

  • Greyscale replied 6 years ago

    Wow! I love that brooch.

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