Since Lady Brenda Hale, the 74-year-old UK Supreme Court president, was noticed wearing one of her sparkling spider brooches, as she declared Boris Johnson’s prorogation of parliament “unlawful”, online searches for animal-shaped jewellery has rocketed. Especially when Vogue declared her arachnid little jewel a “maximalist perfection”.
Yes, these signifier accessories are facing a huge revival – in particular, those with the shape of animals- and Halloween might be the right time to dust off one of yours. More playful than a necklace, and more sophisticated than a pair of earrings, brooches are also versatile; you can have fun with them, sending subliminal messages and inspiring a brand new sense of style, breathing life into even your most worn witchy outfits.
The more vintage they are, the better. So, unlock your secret drawer or jewellery box, dive into your collection and wear them with pride. And if you don’t find anything spooky enough to wear that night, pay a visit to a retro fashion market, local charity shop or car boot fair. Of course, the more elaborate and unique the design of your brooch is, the more you will stand out at the party. In a situation where it may be difficult to know how to connect with someone you’ve just met — or want to meet — a brooch is a good reason to start a conversation.
A bit of extravaganza
Strategically placed anywhere on our outfits to give them a little bit more personality, brooches usually can add a magic touch on blazer lapels or collars, scarfs, handbags, hats, and you can find them even tucked in someone’s hair. But the best way to be noticed at your Halloween party would be finding new and unusual ways to wear them such as combining several commonly quirky themed brooches into a cluster, or placing a big spooky one at the top of your skirt, right in the middle, to create a belt-buckle effect.
Historically, a brooch was designed as a piece of decorative jewellery pinned to a garment, usually to hold it closed. In fact, the earliest known brooches date back to the Bronze Age. They are mostly made of silver, gold, and bronze but nowadays some of the most popular contemporary brooches are made of colourful acrylic, timber, ceramic, enamel and felt. According to the language of symbols, animals, birds, and insects, all play an important role when we want to deliver subliminal messages. Butterflies or flying birds represent ‘the soul’. Bees, signify ‘efficiency’ and ‘organisation’ and snakes, a favourite symbol since ancient times, have the meaning of ‘everlasting love’. Dogs denote ‘loyalty’, the eagle motif signifies ‘strength’ and ‘wisdom’, while lizards mean ‘surviving love’ as they were once thought to be fireproof.
The spider, in particular, is an ancient symbol of mystery, power and growth. Not only do spiders and their webs draw attention to our life choices, but they also give us an overview of how we can manipulate our thinking in order to construct the life we wish to live.
How to wear a brooch every day
If after your Halloween party, you end up falling in love with brooches so much to wish to wear them more often, just remember to follow a bit of etiquette. Don’t be afraid of looking frumpy or outdated, it’s all about the way you wear it.
- In theory, every woman should have several brooches to go with different looks (at least one for formal dress and another for casual wear).
- The most usual way to wear a brooch is on the left side of your coat (although you will most likely see the ladies of the royal family wearing it on their left side).
- Choose dark-coloured brooches with bright outfits and sparkling ones to enhance a black or evening outfit.
And whenever anyone asks where your brooch is from, you can simply say it’s an heirloom, even though the piece in question came from a local charity shop. In the end, Coco Chanel had it right when she said: “Jewellery is not made to give women an aura of wealth, but to make them look beautiful”.