Brooches are little sculptures made of precious gems and metals. They can take any shape a jeweler's mind can imagine, from flowers to bugs to abstract swirls and starbursts of sparkling glamour. But brooches, along with things like scarves, belong to that special category of luxury accessories that can flummox even the most confident and admiring sartorialist. One look at a lovely brooch has one saying "Ohhh, but what do I DO with that?" The array of beautiful brooches in our Important Summer Auction has us wanting answers to that question. So with the help of some famous faces and the behind-the-scenes stylists who tell them what to wear, we're to here to show you that anyone can wear a brooch, to great and beautiful effect.

Traditionally, brooches were meant to fasten items of clothing together. Hence the pin. Slowly, they migrated onto our shoulders, or rather onto the shoulders of our grandmothers. And we've mostly left them there ever since. But it doesn't have to be that way. Below: four creative ways to wear
a brooch.
I Like Brooches on My Hat, I Like Them In My Hair. I Like Brooches Everywhere.

Barrettes and hair pins can be tricky because how do you actually get your hair to stay put with those things? In a "I didn't try too hard, my hair just fell into this elaborate situation" way, no less. But with brooches, you can use as much effort and hardware as necessary to actually style your hair and then just pin a brooch on top for decorative flourish.
Not pictured: brooches on hat bands. We grant that hats are another tricky accessory category, but if you're going to go there you might as well double down and add a brooch. Wide-brimmed felt hats, straw fedoras, even knit beanies - all manner of hats perk up with the addition of jewels.
I Was Just In The Neighborhood

Our shoulders are simply not always available for pinning. Luckily, right next door are our sleeves. Using a brooch as a sleeve accent works best on short sleeves, like on Nicole Kidman's red carpet look here. The contrast of the plain black dress with the diamonds lets the jewels stand out, and makes her dress infinitely more interesting.
Waisting Away

Like Nicole Kidman, Gwyneth is using a brooch here to add drama to an otherwise sleek, simple look. Because their intricacy is sometimes one of brooches' charm, it's important to remember that they will stand out best on a uncomplicated canvas. Putting a brooch at your hip rather than on your shoulder is a fresh way to show it off. This can be done with two pieces as well as a dress - just put the brooch on the waist band of your skirt or pants.
The Exception Proves The Rule

Now that we've told you to keep it simple and branch out from wearing brooches on your shoulder, behold Janelle Monae, a modern-day brooch savant. In addition to being a wildly talented musician and actress, the woman can rock a brooch. But Monae makes her own rules - she puts brooches wherever she darn well pleases, with as many other accessories as she wants, on as loud of an outfit as she feels like. And it always looks amazing.
And Finally, The Carrie Bradshaw Breakdown

We can't leave the subject of brooches behind without mention of the fictional wardrobe that started all the fires. We won't pretend that most of us would feel comfortable walking down the street in any number of Carrie Bradshaw's outfits, but the fact that we aren't likely to write a Shakespearean sonnet doesn't stop us from putting fingers to keyboard either. Carrie Bradshaw's outfits are best taken as inspiration rather than directive, and one way she inspired us is with her masterful use of the brooch. A quick internet search will reveal just how many ways she wore them, but here are two of the more manageable in the real world - at the neck of a classic coat, and as part of an enviably easy-going menswear look. And actually, a lot of Bradshaw brooch-work was as much function as form - like here, where her brooch fixes her cravat to her vest at an otherwise impossibly jaunty angle.
Now that we all feel confident about how to wear them, below are a selection of featured brooches from June's Important Summer Auction, in all their versatile glory.

The Important Summer Auction
Saturday, June 13th
10:00am (EDT)