Why the Brooch is Your Most Versatile Piece of Winter Jewellery and How to Work it into Your Everyday Style.

Why the Brooch is Your Most Versatile Piece of Winter Jewellery and How to Work it into Your Everyday Style.

There’s a lot of dark colours about in winter, black coats, brown shoes, dark dresses and scarves. I’m a big scarf wearer, September to May I pretty much don’t take one off.Β  I hate that cold patch winter leaves on your neck. Dark colours do make an excellent backdrop for jewellery and brooches are a natural and potentially stunning choice for everyday jewellery.

The Most Ancient Form of Adornment

The brooch is back, well it never really left but for a long time it was considered unfashionable, and I rarely sold any. Now, things have changed, and brooch requests are growing. Fibulae are the oldest form of brooch and date back as far as the Bronze and Iron Age, both Celts and Romans wore them. They were made from bronze, silver or gold and used to hold clothes together before the invention of buttons and other fastenings. Made from one piece of metal with a coiled safety pin like spring and bow top decoration fastening with a hook or loop at the other end. Often these had rings through the coil to attach chains to link them together.

With a Scarf

My favourite type of scarf is a square one with a tasselled edge, folded into a triangle then wrapped around the neck, so the main point of the triangle and the two ends hang down in front. I then pin a brooch centrally to hold the scarf pieces together. This placement means the scarf stays put and I can wear a great piece of jewellery (and not get cold!) Looser weave scarves and heavier materials can take big fibulae style brooches with thicker pins, for silk scarves and more delicate fabrics choose a brooch with a finer pin or you will snag the fabric. Every good jeweller knows that you must design with the wearer’s body and often clothes in mind.

Guitar Distortion Brooches available from Poppy Porter Abstract Artist Jeweller click Shop Jewellery above

Guitar Distortion Brooches by Poppy Porter.

Click here to shop brooches

Photos: Thomas Lisle Brooker

On a Jacket or Coat

There are plenty of options here, good coats are made of robust fabric, and you can pin one or more brooches to the lapel. A big statement brooch on a winter coat or jacket looks terrific and transforms a dark garment into something far more seductive. A tip if you are going by car, pin your brooch on the opposite lapel to the seat belt to avoid you being spiked and the brooch becoming damaged. The same goes for a shoulder bag with a wide strap wear the pin on the opposite side you habitually carry your bag, so you don’t get the strap caught.

Alone or Together: Your Message to the World

One brooch or pin is great but I also I love collections, particularly when worn together, the more eclectic the better. A mixture of different symbols and shapes can be a document of experiences, opinions or pass-times, likes, loves, memories or belonging and make for a fun little museum of the lapel.

A curated lapel museum
A curated lapel museum: what does it all mean? The gold fibula pin and chain has a pocket watch on the other end, a maple leaf for my family who moved there long ago, a rabbit for luck and for my son, a Norwegian Soljie baby brooch to ward off evil spirits (and because I love it), two flowers for my grandparents, Imagine Peace Now (look up Borris Bally’s exhibition) a traction engine for a fun day out, Educational Travel because you should, Green and Black by Shana Astrachan, Nixon because all bad things eventually come to an end and the very first piece of jewellery I ever owned is the golden zebra brooch.

There are so many places you can wear a brooch or pin, scarves, coats, jackets, on a big woolly jumper, a cowl neck, pinned to a bag, at your shoulder, neck or chest, on a hat maybe? Where needs brightening up this cold, grey winter day? The best brooches are like little wearable sculptures; some are large some are tiny but only rarely large enough to cover the palm of your hand. They hold a fascination and personal attraction. Like netsuke, the small Japanese sculptures, they invite curiosity or convey a message, fasten, adorn, make a talking point or express something about your identity. Have a look, see if you can find something that takes your fancy to pin on and make your day more interesting.

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2 Replies to “Why the Brooch is Your Most Versatile Piece of Winter Jewellery and How to Work it into Your Everyday Style.”

  1. Hi Poppy, love your brooches. In S. E. Asia the kebaya, a blouse, is closed with a series of brooches, sometimes chained together, instead of with buttons. I have a cheap example somewhere I’ll be happy to send a photo of when I can get upstairs and when my smartphone is fixed–it won’t take a battery charge at the moment. Happy New Year! Judith

    1. Hi Judith I just googled a few pictures of kebaya brooches, so don’t worry about the photo. There were some spectacular ones to see. It’s really interesting to find out how brooches are used in different cultures. Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

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