The Brooch Revival In 2023 Will Bring Endless Possibilities To Your Wardrobe

Get ready to enshrine yourself in brooches, because they're back! The 2023 runways were literally glittering in brooches and it was like a stunning reboot of our grandmothers' wardrobes. Roberto Cavalli was all about them, as was Gucci. Chanel couldn't stop with them either and frankly, we're thrilled to have the chance to accessorize our wardrobes in such a classic, decadent way.

Brooches are the best, and there are so many reasons why. For one, you can recreate endless looks, even with a capsule wardrobe, thanks to the glamorous — and versatile — aesthetic that comes from a brooch. One simple pin and the look shoots to the next level. Brooches also offer the chance to showcase one's personality, thanks to the endless range offered by brooches. If we want to tap into our inner romantic, there are brooches for that! If we want to try something baroque and over-the-top, there are brooches for that too. Or, if we simply want to step up an otherwise simple look, a single brooch can add the sparkle we're looking for.

Brooches have been with us for centuries. WGSN accessories senior editor Jane Collins told Today that they first came into use during the Bronze Age, and were functional; people used them to hold garments together. Thanks to the creativity of the human mind — and our perpetual need to dazzle things — brooches have become art pieces, be they high-end jewelry or quirky, costume-like pieces. (Think Carrie Bradshaw's famous oversized silk flower brooch.) So here's a peek at what brooches can do for your looks.

The maximalist personality of brooches

Coco Chanel famously said, "When putting on accessories, take off the last thing you've put on." While that might be chic with some looks, a dazzling way to experiment with brooches is by doing the complete opposite. Play around with clusters of brooches that work well in a grouping. Think of a gallery wall on your jacket, or belt, or skirt. Frankly, these haphazard, organic clusters can go anywhere the fabric will sustain them.

If our goal is something more harmonious, consider choosing brooches of a similar color scheme and size. Personal stylist Elysze Held told Today how to work a trio of brooches. "A brooch [pin] can change the look of a sweater, scarf and a jacket (or add a trio on the lapel works best if similar in size), and the silhouette of a dress or shirt, especially if [the] fabric is voluminous," Held said.

While a gathering of similar sizes and coloring can create a synchronized brooch grouping, consider pushing far, far past this. Do the brooches have to look similar? Do they need to be alike in size? No. Jewelry educator Nancy Ross told The New York Times, "Seemingly incongruous, the idea is juxtaposing brooches and pins in unexpected and exciting ways." There is one piece of advice offered by Tatler that's worth considering: Don't wear an even number of brooches. Always go for odd numbers. We get to create our own brooch stories, and if maximalism is the plot, go for it.

The sentimental value of brooches

One of the best parts about the resurgence of brooches is that they carry so much memory with them. Since they have such a rich place in sartorial history, brooches can mean much more than simply a sparkly accessory. The brooch's history can be national or political, as designer Jennifer Rade told Today. "[B]rooches have a lot of symbolism going from royalty to the military and whether you had a higher rank," Rade explained.

The rich history of brooches doesn't have to go that far back, though. We weren't kidding about our grandmothers' wardrobes coming back into fashion. Brooches can be a great way to tap into a nostalgic mood and show off family heirlooms. Perhaps relatives have handed down keepsakes or, in a very royal mood, we can borrow from the family jewels. But brooches also offer a way to bring the past with us. There's a bridal trend of commemorative brooches, where the bride or groom can make a memorial brooch with a photo of a deceased loved one to wear on one's wedding clothes. It's a wonderful way of bringing with us those we love.

This historical component of brooches also makes them easy to shop for. Vintage and thrifting lovers will know that brooches are common items found at vintage stores. Rade said, "Because brooches have such a historical background, there is an endless supply in the vintage world." Just one more plus.

The unapologetically confident styling of brooches

While we might think of brooches as a solo item on a jacket, that demure styling is a thing of the past. What we're after now are bold, oversized brooches that pack a dramatic punch to any look. Because brooches have such a history and, up until recently, were seen as antiquated accessories, there is a certain confidence required when wearing one. In fact, this fear has been a major reason why some resist the brooch. Dena Giannini, style director of British Vogue, told The New York Times, "A lot of women as well as men are intimidated over where to place them." The tradition is to wear one on the left lapel; however, Giannini says this is only a suggestion. "But put them wherever you please."

Because of this daring factor, brooches send a message of confidence with an outfit, as well as playfulness, depending on how bold we choose to become. Let the brooches tell a story! Stylist Chloe Beeney explained, "You can place them at the waist, the shoulder, the neck, the bust line." People are attaching them to boots, hats, belts, and handbags. Some even attach brooches to ribbons and wear them as necklaces or use them in their hair. Don't be afraid to let the brooch lead the look.

How brooches can help us channel our inner romantic

Brooches can help us harness a lot of different attributes, but one of the best ones taps into our inner romantic. They don't always have to be daring and dramatic. They can add feminine charm to a simple look. Delicate clusters of dainty gold or silver brooches can add a touch of whimsy, too. For styling a romantic look, keep brooches smaller. There's even the option of using small earrings as brooches, as Refinery29 suggests, with the added caveat of fabric care since this isn't an earring's primary purpose. Opt for more muted, antique tones; think gold and coral tones. Cameos are an excellent choice for channeling a classical, romantic touch, as are pieces with diamonds or pearls. The best part is, they don't have to be real to still look fabulous.

This is also a great space to play with brooch placement. A brooch with ribbons at the top of a blouse can create an old-fashioned, buttoned-up look. As Tatler points out, brooches also serve a securing purpose. Brooches can also draw attention to what's covered up, which is its own kind of sexy.

Brooches with a cause

Brooches also carry a message, and we've seen many pieces that not only create a compelling look, they also stand for something. Art historian Nichka Marobin told The New York Times, "Finally, the world of fashion has realized the importance of a piece of jewelry as a 'messenger' of large subjects such as love, peace, unity, friendship and devotion." There are myriad options of brooches with causes. Etsy is loaded with shops that sell feminist brooches, including some lovely references to the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, like a collar that reads "Dissent." There can be some very inspiring messages behind brooches, combining style with a cause. Marine Life Mission sells sea turtle brooches with the aim of saving endangered sea turtles. Give Hope sells handmade brooches of dogs, and a purchase goes to feeding a dog for a month.

When Lady Gaga sang at President Joe Biden's inauguration, she wore a golden brooch of a dove carrying an olive branch by Schiaparelli. The tone was obviously one of peace. "She wanted something iconic. Something emblematic of the moment," creative director of Schiaparelli, Daniel Roseberry, said (via The New York Times). That's an empowering accessory!