12 In Getting Dressed/ Style

Wear a Brooch for Style Punctuation and Function


Adding a brooch to an outfit on BrendaKinsel.com

A brooch adds punctuation to an outfit


Brooches have been on my radar. I don’t know if it’s that I’m old enough to have grown into them or if I’m being influenced by the fact that they are a current fashion trend. I’m checking out the beauty in brooches, the clever placement of them and how functional they can be.

The thing about brooches is that many people have them and just aren’t using them. I love helping clients use everything they own and look current so I’ve been in the brooch department of their jewelry boxes hunting for treasures.

I remember this spring when a client pulled out a cotton black Jil Sander jacket we’d purchased together about six or eight years ago. “Should I let this go?” she asked.

Non, non, non! Au contraire! Keep it!

“Let me make you five new outfits wearing this jacket,” I said. (I love a challenge!)

My secret weapon for these new outfits? Brooches!

Brooches are so “in” right now

I’d been reading my fashion magazines and knew how “in” brooches were. I headed to her jewelry box and pulled out two retro looking rhinestone brooches.

I positioned them on her cotton jacket — one right under the other and over to the right. I put her in her rolled up jeans, her white sleeveless cotton shirt, added the jacket avec (that means “with” in French, right?) the brooches, had her slip on her fabulous white leather chunky Tod’s loafers and she was oh so chic!

Here’s another find in another client’s stash.

My client (below) had purchased this long fabulous wool coat from Pure Cashmere. I was styling it for the first time and the lapels in this neutral taupe color were calling out for adornment. I’m totally crazy about this color combination in her outfit: taupe wool coat, ginger colored crewneck sweater, and the collar of her blue cotton blouse peeking out. We’d purchased her sunglasses at Uber Optics and the color was fabulous with the neutral colored coat. I wanted to pop the neutral shades so I went for her bright gold choker necklace and added two brooches that she couldn’t remember ever wearing. Are they fabulous or what!? She looks so bien dans sa peau (content, comfortable, at ease).


Adding brooches to a coat on BrendaKinsel.com

Brooches that had never been worn get a chance to shine


I know you must be thinking, “Brenda’s had way too much coffee today” but really, I find brooches to be so exciting! They make me want to speak French or at least say oui, oui all day. I imagine French women wearing them every chance they get. I think they are due a renaissance if they were every “out” at all, don’t you?

Where clothes can often be simple, brooches can be so full of detail. And the mix of metals, stone, and design give endless possibilities. Je t’aime, brooches!

Brooches for Brenda

At the Petaluma Antique Faire on the last Sunday in September (and repeated on the last Sunday in April) I scored a brilliant blue brooch. The colors in it made my knees weak. So so pretty. I went specifically to look for brooches. I wanted to add them to dresses, coats, or sweaters and since I’ve been building the “bleu department” in my wardrobe, this brooch was a no brainer.


Adding a brooch to a sweater coat on BrendaKinsel.com

Enjoying my new blue brooch on my sweater coat


Playing with brooches on BrendaKinsel.com

Wearing my blue sparkly brooch with my column of blue


My nickname is Mommyfoxy to my girls and several of their friends. When I spotted this fox brooch on the jean jacket of my Australian friend, Suzanne Dekyvere, I had to make a comment on her Facebook page. The next thing I knew, she’d sent it to me. Well, not to Brenda but to Mommyfoxy. I wore it last month with my column of orange. I positioned it on my plaid scarf. This scarf doesn’t slide around so I felt safe wearing it this way all day.

Wearing a brooch that has personal meaning on BrendaKinsel.com

Adding my fun foxy brooch to my outfit

Brooches as Beauty Points

I had a brooch sighting when I was at the education weekend put on by the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the Association of Image Consultants International in February of this year. I was crazy over the brilliance of this brooch and how Yanni, an image consultant, positioned it on her lovely black dress. Fabulous! It was the perfect accessory and seeing it like this, well I can’t imagine the dress looking nearly as fabulous without it. Brooches add such punctuation to an outfit. A la francaise (in the French style).


Yanni wears a beautiful brooch with her dress on BrendaKinsel.com

A lovely brooch on a lovely dress


My friend Mariam is a lover of brooches. She’s the one wearing the Mariam Haskell vintage brooch on the animal print jacket in the first picture of this blog post. Below she’s wearing this amazing flying bird brooch on her belted long cardigan over a long pleated black and white skirt. It’s a perfect accent piece, isn’t it? Again, can you even imagine the outfit without it? I can’t!



Brooches that are functional to an outfit

Erin, below, needed something to keep her cashmere cape together and she did so with this bug brooch. She’s a major bug fan so it delighted her all day. This little jewel of a brooch is definitely an objet d’art.

A brooch is functional on BrendaKinsel.com

Using a brooch to keep a cape closed


I met my very talented artist friend Valerie Raven for coffee two weeks ago at Sunflower Caffe. She was wearing a silver brooch to keep her wrap together. (She designed and made that wrap and I lust after it!) I love her silver cuffs, rings and earrings. Talk about a great Beauty Bundle. J’adore.


A brooch is functional and part of a Beauty Bundle on BrendaKinsel.com

Valerie uses a brooch to close her cape


I want to say merci beaucoup to all of my lovely brooch models today. Are there some brooches in your jewelry stash that need to come out and play?

A la votre! Cheers!

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  • Reply
    November 28, 2016 at 11:46 pm

    Ah! Finalement!
    WhenI studied your advice for building Beauty Bundles I thought: Oh! where are the brooches? Sometimes you need them urgently: a dress has a big collar (like Yanni’s above) and you just can’t wear a chain on it; a scarf needs to be fixed (like on your orange column) or a cape should have a (variable) clasp…
    Brooches are kind of reliable: you put them on their right place, and they stay where they are – no dangling around, no further fixing…
    I own a real gallery of inherited brooches, the oldest by my great-grandmother with the only photo of her existing – now I will take the opportunity to profit of this fund! Combining two of them seems interesting, maybe it’s like telling a little story…

    • Reply
      November 29, 2016 at 6:57 pm

      Oh my, Doris, you have the most magnificent fund!! If I was there with you I’d be using them on your every outfit. Your praise for brooches is very articulate. Happy storytelling!

  • Reply
    November 29, 2016 at 7:00 am

    I love this post! I have always loved broaches, but somehow stopped wearing them because they seemed to go out of fashion. Michelle Obama’s use of broaches eight years ago inspired me, so I started wearing them again for a while. I have a whole jewelry box of broaches that I love and I’m going to focus on wearing them again!

    • Reply
      November 29, 2016 at 7:03 pm

      Woo hoo! I think we’re starting a brooch revolution! Thanks for your comment, Linda.

  • Reply
    Nancy Molstad
    November 29, 2016 at 9:13 am

    I’d love to wear my brooches more, but I fear damaging my sweaters and wraps with pin holes. Any remedies?

    • Reply
      November 29, 2016 at 7:07 pm

      A great trick is to get a piece of felt and put it behind the garment (sweaters, for instance) and then put your brooch through both the sweater and the felt. It makes it very stable and won’t pull on the sweater. As for pin holes, I will do a test first. Then if I wear it for a while and take the brooch off, if there’s any separation in the fibers I take my fingernail and just scratch it back and forth and it will disappear. Great question, Nancy!

  • Reply
    November 29, 2016 at 11:14 am

    This is interesting and inspiring. I have loads of brooches, being an habitué of estate sales, but this line from the TV show “Drop Dead Diva” struck me and stuck in my head a few years ago — “Ugh! No one under 50 wears a brooch!” The irony of this of course is that I was well over 50 even at the time I saw this episode, but still, I retained thereafter the association of seriously démodé. I used to wear them all the time in my 20s when I was smaller, shall we say, and favored curvy vintage suits. In later years I wondered if people were laughing at me. (Well, let’s be real, in one’s 20s one worries about this all the time….) In any event, time to reconsider and redeploy the brooches in some glam-grand-dame manner, if possible.

    • Reply
      November 29, 2016 at 6:36 pm

      So enjoyed reading your comment! Yes, I know you will do it in a drop dead gorgeous way that will have everyone saying great things. Isn’t it nice to be older? We get to do our own thing!!

  • Reply
    elena daciuk
    November 29, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    i have loved brooches and worn them even when they weren’t considered a trend…i just love how they can brighten up a jacket or dress…i think my favorite combo…is a cluster of 3 vintage rhinestone brooches on my black vintage jacket…or maybe the leopard where his little tail moves back and forth…and now…i am working on a project to cover one of my mannequins with my vintage brooches…might as well show them off when i’m not wearing them…

    • Reply
      November 29, 2016 at 6:33 pm

      Oh my gosh! I love your brooched up mannequin idea!

  • Reply
    elena daciuk
    November 29, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    p.s…tell your friend mariam that i am lusting…not only over that leopard jacket…but the brooch with it… =)

    • Reply
      November 29, 2016 at 6:32 pm

      I will! I am a luster, too! Sure could see this on you!

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