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A bit of research shows that brooches were being used as far back as the Bronze Age, but their purpose was more functional than decorative; they were simply used as clothes fasteners. By medieval times, they became more ornamental, with geometric patterns, intricate metalwork and patterns and forms taken from nature. The wealth and opulence of the Renaissance gave birth to elaborate brooches made with gemstones and pearls, and each successive period in Europe saw brooches that reflected the trends and artistic movements that were common at the time.

Are Brooches Out of Style?

In the 21st century, brooches have been maligned as old-fashioned and something that only old ladies wear. While some contend that brooches are back in style, others argue that they never really went out of style. The truth is, it’s not the brooch itself, but the style of the brooch and what it’s worn with that may make it appear a dated accessory.

How to Wear a Brooch

It’s not difficult to know how — or where — to wear rings, bracelets, earrings and necklaces. A brooch may present a little more of a challenge, but that’s the beauty of it — it’s actually one of the most versatile pieces in a woman’s jewelry box. In addition to other accouterments — shoes, clutches, handbags and other jewelrybrooches can spice up an outfit and make a silent but confident statement about the woman wearing it.

First of all, it’s important to remember that a brooch should always match the clothes being worn. It isn’t a separate fashion entity existing in its own universe; rather, it’s part of an ensemble. And a brooch is an accessory to a dress, blouse, blazer or another top — not the other way around.

The type of fabric, style of clothing and occasion should also be considered. A large brooch worn on light, thin material will cause it to pull and sag, and a beautiful formal evening dress should be allowed to speak for itself without a lot of extra accessorizing. Additionally, a brooch should stand out against the garment it’s attached to. Dark-colored brooches work best with bright-colored garments, and brooches with a lot of gold, silver or color really pop against dark shades.

The most common place for a brooch to be worn is on the right or left side just over the bust, and they can also serve as an attractive embellishment at the center of a buttoned-up collar. But modern trends see women wearing brooches on lapels, collars, around the neckline, on coats and jackets, on hats, and even as part of a hairstyle. Several small brooches can be tastefully combined into a cluster.

Today’s woman doesn’t have to be afraid of looking old-fashioned in a brooch. The right brooch worn the right way can look trendy and modern, and it nicely proclaims the wearer’s confidence and personal sense of style.