5 tips for creating a retro brooch collection


My name’s Susie and I’m so happy to be writing for The Thrift today!  I’ve been writing Second hand susieabout eco-living, making stuff and charity shopping for over 7 years at my blog Second Hand Susie.  I love vegan food, gardening and I’m working on single-handedly bringing home the contents of my local charity shops.

One of my favourite things to collect from charity shops are brooches, here are some top tips to help you create your own collection of lovely thrifted brooches.

Think theme.

Before you start your collection it might be helpful to think about whether you want to collect just brooches from one era or if you want a glorious mishmash of styles!  Some ideas for forming a collection are fifties diamanté brooches, sixties tin flowers, eighties pins or nineties button badges.  I collect animal brooches, but I enjoy a bit of geekism too so I own plenty of Harry Potter and Doctor Who badges!

Vintage Brooch Collection Barnardo's

Know where to look.

In my local Barnardo’s shop the brooches are kept in a clear display case by the till.  Sometimes brooches are kept with the other jewellery or in a display case, so have a good look around to make sure you don’t miss anything.

 Think about wearability.

I usually wear my brooches on my work uniform, so my brooches need to be lightweight so they don’t pull on my blouse.  Think practically, you can wear heavier brooches on a coat or thick jumper, but button badges and little pins are a better choice for popping on light blouses or dresses.

Vintage Brooch Collection Barnardo's 2

Check the condition.

Sometimes retro brooches are very pretty but they can be a bit battered.  Don’t despair though, that pretty brooch can be saved!  If the catch is broken it’s possible to remove it by snipping and pulling (carefully!) with a pair of pliers or wire cutters, then gluing a new brooch back in its place.  If a few jewels are missing from your diamanté brooch think about filling the hole with a blob of paint or sticking in a sequin in a contrasting colour.

 Display your collection.

If you tuck your beautiful brooches away in a drawer you might forget to wear them.  There are tonnes of different ways to display your brooch collection, from pinned in frames, propped up on a printers tray or arranged prettily on cake stands.  I put my favourite badges on a cork board I covered with retro fabric.  I can see them every day and select the perfect brooch for every outfit!

Vintage Brooch Collection Barnardo's 3

I hope you turn up many beautiful brooches, punky pins and brilliant badges!

Be sure to share your treasures by tagging your photos #mybarnardosfind or tag @BarnardosRetail.

I share my charity shopping photos on Instagram and Facebook

 I’d love to see your finds too!

Happy charity shopping to you!

One thought on “5 tips for creating a retro brooch collection

  1. I love my brooch collection, lots of it has come from charity shops. I once picked up a huge bag of assorted broken jewellery which was really useful for repairing broken pieces. Recently I’ve discovered the versatility of shoe clips which are kinda like brooches but rather than pinning, they have a spring clip. I’ve got a post about them this Sunday on https://livinginstilettos.wordpress.com/

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