Brooches have gone from being labelled as ‘old lady’ jewellery to the must have fashion accessory in 2023. But what defines a ‘trendy’ brooch and how are these in vogue items accessorising the most stylish women … and men today.
Are Brooches Trending?
Although they took a dip in popularity towards the end of the 20th century, trendy brooches are most certainly back and better in the 21st century.
This new movement perhaps started at the Met Gala which is arguably THE event of the year in the fashion world. Organised by Anna Wintour, the 2022 ‘Gilded Glamour’ Met Gala was all about jewellery and accessories. Particularly the men in attendance appeared with antique and vintage brooches in their looks- a feature we’re certainly not mad about.
Spotted were some timeless Cartier brooches complementing the collars of singer-songwriter Stormae as he wore the 1906 “Broche noeus dentelle” (Bow Lace Brooch) and actor Austin Butler who wore a breathtaking diamond Jabot pin.
3 Reasons Why Brooches Are Back and Here to Stay
1. The Revival of Retro
Perhaps brooches were once the go-to fashion accessory of your grandmother, and in a sense that in itself is one of the reasons they’re back today.
Whether it stems from being fashionably ironic, or represents an attempt to reconnect to the past, sporting fashion from the generation of our parents and grandparents has undoubtedly become a trending style of today.
The revival of retro fashion came to surface roughly within the last decade. The revival of retro jewellery and accessories is only just entering the zeitgeist now, with the brooch itself getting its own revival.
Trendy brooches come in all shapes and sizes with designs which range massively from the classic to the kooky.
2. Gender-Bending Greatness
Over the last few years elements of fashion have become more gender-neutral. The rules on what male and female humans can wear and how they style themselves is becoming more and more irrelevant. Whether you love this or hate it, you can’t deny that the ‘rules’ themselves are essentially arbitrary.
Long before the 21st century, it was entirely commonplace for men to wear jewellery, makeup, and heeled shoes. In the 19th century, pink was considered to be a ‘boy’s colour’, as it was considered bold and strong, whereas young girls were seen more typically dressed in blue.
It makes sense that fashion and jewellery of today is becoming more blurred, mixing masculinity and femininity together for whomever is bold enough to wear it. Especially when it comes to jewellery, trendy brooches are a brilliant piece of jewellery for gender-bending. Typically, brooches can be worn on the lapel of a shirt or jacket, making them the perfect accessory for masculine and feminine people.
3. Era Explosions
There has been a plethora of ‘eras’ where certain styles come to the culture forefront. At this point in the 21st century, there is a definite focus on bringing back elements of the past and using them to create new styles of the future.
Fashion and style are cyclical, with different styles coming and going and then coming back once more. An example of trends returning is the Art Deco era.
A style that emerged in the 1920s that has been persistently popular throughout the 20th century, and – sure enough – it’s still popular 100 years later.
From the plethora of different styles to historical eras being reborn, it’s understandable why trendy brooches are the future.
Popular Brooch Styles Throughout the Years
Celtic Brooches – a style developed during the Medieval era originating in Scotland and Ireland. Typically, Celtic brooches were made using materials such as bronze, iron or copper and incorporated a pin across the diameter of a ring.
Victorian Brooches – a style comprised during the reign of the British Queen Victoria (1837-1901). Earlier during Queen Victoria’s reign, the brooch style featured antique lockets, cameos, flowers and animals. Following the passing of Queen Victoria’s late husband Prince Albert (1861) there was a surge in mourning brooches which featured much more sombre designs and used materials such as jet and black enamel.
Art Nouveau Brooches – a reaction style to the heavy mourning period of the Victoria era. Characterised by its design in free-flowing sinuous line, and features of flowers, fauna and the female form, this particular brooch style grew throughout Europe and the United States between the years 1895-1905.
Art Deco Brooches – a style of brooch which emerrged during the Art Deco era (1920-1939) Art Deco brooches are bold, structural, geometric, and symmetrical using of abstract design, linear geometric lines and materials such as black onyx, quartz and coral. Influenced by Cubism, and art orginating from India and Egypt, these particular brooches contain diamond, emerald, ruby and sapphire.
Bar Brooches – a horrizontal elogated brooch style. Bar brooches first emerged in the 1890s and swiftly gained huge popularity. Early Victorian bar brooches focused on simplicity and were designed as a bar with a central plaque or motif. Whereas Edwardian (1901-1910) bar brooches contained a line of diamonds, pearls or coloured stones. Similar to Edwardian, Art Deco (1910-1935) bar brooches featured diamonds, pearls or coloured stones but isntead made use of a geometric design.
Cameo Brooches – dating back to Ancient Egypt, cameo brooches used to be the product of carving rocks and gemstones to portray figures. The cameo design style is produced by carving an image against a different coloured background using materials such as mother of pearl, agate, stone and seashells.
Floral Brooches – this style of brooch often features a floral motif and represents flowers or plants. Floral brooches are produced using materials such as metal, enamel or gemstones.
Brooches were such a staple of much of the 20th century, and so it’s safe to say that their recent lack of popularity was more of a fluke than a permanent change. Instead, it seems that trendy brooches, whether they’re Art Deco, Art Nouveau, or any other style, they’re here to stay.
If you think your grandmother pulled off a brooch like no-one else, now is the perfect time to sport your own as a testament to her and the styles of her youth.