Wearing vintage clothing and accessories is one of the most accessible and affordable (not to mention creative) ways to reduce the environmental impact of your wardrobe and home goods. So every week, I comb Etsy and eBay and find beautiful vintage pieces around a particular theme. (Check out last week's entry, "Baking accessories from the past make useful gifts.")
The problem with brooches is that most of us tend to think that they are just a pretty thing that hangs out on the upper part of a blouse; right or left side seems to be about the only choice one has in placement. And that supposed limitation is (like most limitations) totally a figment of our imaginations.
The beauty of brooches is that you can wear them anywhere, unlike, well, pretty much every other piece of jewelry. A necklace has to be worn on the neck, a bracelet won't really fit anywhere else, and rings can be strung on chains to make a necklace, but beyond that don't have much variabililty. Brooches, however, can be worn just below the shoulder, but also on the pocket of a skirt or loose pair of pants, pinned onto a hat, holding a scarf closed, keeping a blouse a bit more demure with placement above the top button.
Women of the '30s, '40s, '50s and '60s realized the many uses of brooches and while some new jewelry designers still include them in collections, they are few and far between. The good news is that there is a plethora of beautiful vintage brooches available online, most of them for less than $10, and many for less than $5. I kept to an animals and insects theme (which is the basis for my own brooch collection), but you could pick one that encompasses floral motifs, stars, abstract design or even something as specific as owls.