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There is one fashion item that can be worn by men and women of all ages and across all style genres. By day or night it can instantly reflect your style personality, worn anywhere from your head to your toes.

It is worn throughout the world and often used to make a social, political or personal statement. It dates back to before the Bronze Age and is still being worn today – regularly by the Duchess of Cambridge.

It’s the timeless brooch.

Personally, I have loved brooches since a young girl watching classic films from the 1950s and 1960s when brooches were at the height of fashion and played a significant part in film costume. Worn elegantly at the neckline, shoulder, in the hair, on a hat, pinned to the waist or at the back at the deep-v of dresses. I fell in love with the timeless elegance of the brooch and it’s forever ingrained in my style psyche.

The brooch did not start out as a fashion accessory but as a functional means to secure pieces of clothing. The first recorded brooches were made from thorns and flint and further developed in the Bronze Age as a pin or ‘fibula’, similar to a safety pin, which the Romans and Greeks used them to fasten a heavy cloak or tunic.

Following these first rudimentary designs, brooches became a characteristic ornament in clothing history and developed throughout the decades according to different countries and cultures.

Left to right: Ancient Roman ‘Fibula’ brooch, Roman brooch with cameo, Viking ‘Thistle’ brooch

Here endeth the history lesson (you can read more about the history of brooches here).

Fast-forward to the 20th century and brooch-lovers such as Coco Chanel, Wallis Simpson, Babe Paley, Jackie Kennedy and Elizabeth Taylor made the brooch a symbol of the well-dressed woman.

Remember the story of Wallis Simpson’s Prince of Wales brooch? Designed by the Duke of Windsor in 1935 the plume-shaped diamond brooch was said to be one of Wallis’ favourite pieces of jewellery. In an auction after her death in 1987, Elizabeth Taylor purchased the brooch for US$565,000. After the purchase Taylor made a statement saying ““I loved it so much, I had to buy it.  It’s the first important jewel I’ve ever bought myself.” After Taylor’s death, the brooch then sold for $1,314,500 at the Christie’s auction.

In the 21st century, brooches remain a staple in the modern woman’s wardrobe and regularly seen on young style icons such as the Duchess of Cambridge, Olivia Palermo and Rihanna.

A brooch can turn your outfit into a work of art and instantly portrays your sense of style and spirit. You don’t have to spend a lot of money and you can wear them all year round, spring summer, winter or fall. But of course, diamond and emerald versions would be nice.

If you feel inspired to add a brooch to your wardrobe, here are some ways to style this timeless fashion accessory:

1. On a blazer: The most well-known way to wear a brooch is wearing it on the lapel of a jacket. It’s an instant statement-maker on black blazers.

2. On a Dress – By Day

Daytime dressing doesn’t have to be boring – be playful and add a pop of colour. Michelle Obama was famous for adding a bright and colourful brooch to classic day wear.

Erstwilder Ruby the Red Cardinal brooch, $39.95

3. On a Dress – Evening

 A crystal brooch is the epitome of elegance. One of my recent favourite fashion moments was in 2016 when the Duchess of Cambridge added a crystal maple-leaf brooch to her red evening gown during the royal tour of Canada. Exquisite.

Swarovski ‘Darci Rose’ brooch, $249

4. Dress up a bag

For day wear or evening or just perfect for the day-to-night transition, a brooch is a simple solution to add a touch of personality and style to your favourite bag.

Miss J Designs, Mary Poppins umbrella brooch with parrot handle, $49.95, Hard To Find

5. Hat Bling

For day wear or evening or just perfect for the day-to-night transition, a brooch is a simple solution to add a touch of personality and style to your favourite bag.

Esma Versace

Esma Versace is a renowned fashion stylist founder of Esma can help you solve your style issues. Learn your body shape and how to dress for it, create a corporate wardrobe or personal brand, find that special outfit for your event or create a fashionable and functional wardrobe based on your lifestyle and budget.