Brooches are back — and in great style and variety, writes Shuhada Elis
THEY come in hundreds of designs including the ribbonbutterfly, floral, teardrop and dangling. Once seen as outdated, brooches are fast becoming must-have fashion accessories again.
Forget the rings and bangles that cost a fortune. This season, the spectacle of bling is pinned on clothes. You can stand out by pairing your outfit with colourful, sparkling brooches without spending a bomb.
The good news is you can be creative with them. Wear a large brooch on your baju kurung, pin it on a plain scarf or hijab as an accessory or wear more than one on the baju kebaya for a traditional look.
For men, brooches have replaced buttons on the baju Melayu. Some even wear one on their songkok.
It’s also not surprising that brooches have evolved from plain-looking silver and gold-coloured designs to more colourful but elegant versions such as the Juntai, which resembles drop earrings.
Brooch sellers agree that brooches have made a strong comeback since the Juntai (meaning dangling) was introduced late last year.
The sales of brooches had dropped when slip-on scarves or tudung hit the market. But currently, the large round chain brooch in silver or gold is a hit, especially for the festive season.
“More people are looking for a set of three chain brooches to pair with their kebaya,” says stall owner Yulianti Erman.
Yulianti says some people prefer wearing only one large brooch on the chest.
A single brooch for the kebaya costs from RM5 to RM8 while the chain ones are priced between RM30 and RM65.
“I can sell more than 100 pieces of kebaya brooches a day,” says Yulianti.
Her stall offers hundreds of brooch designs which change every week. She gets her stock from a supplier who imports his goods from China and Korea.
Fancy cloth brooches in flower and butterfly designs are popular with children and teenagers. They are priced at RM3 per piece or RM10 for four pieces.
There are also brooches that are worn on the tudung. This type of brooch is longer than the drop earrings brooch and usually are in flowery designs. It is also quite heavy compared to other brooches and is priced between RM45 and RM50.
“These brooches are pricey because they are made in Korea,” adds Yulianti.
Although most brooches are priced below RM100, some, especially those with special stones, can fetch up to RM500 or more.
Iris Accessories at a mall in Subang Jaya sells high-end brooches made from cubic zirconia, a man-made gemstone which is used as a diamond substitute. The stone can be cut with more facets, offering more reflective surfaces than other crystals.
“They are imported from Austria and and come with a Swarovski certificate,” says shop owner Azean Omar.
These brooches are also custom-made at jewellery shops and last longer compared to normal brooches. It can take up to two months for a custom-made brooch to be completed.
COLOUR MY DAY
The coloured stones are more expensive, especially those which are mixed with imitation opal and ruby. “Our newest collection features the opal-set brooches. The stones are imported from Australia and New Zealand,” says Azean.
The opal set comes in sharp designs, in soft and rich colours. The set includes a bangle and necklace and is very popular during the festive season.
The opal brooch costs between RM190 and RM550 a piece.
Also popular is the ruby brooch which costs almost the same as the opal one.
“Even non-Malays love our brooches. They wear them on their jackets,” says Azean.
ACCESSORISING THE TUDUNG
For Mastura Abdul Pethery, 36, brooches add glitz to her tudung. She owns 50 brooches in all shapes and colours.
“It makes my tudung look attractive. I match my brooch with the colour of my tudung.”
She has been buying brooches for the past 15 years and says while silver and black are safe, coloured ones are more attractive.
“I usually use one Juntai brooch to fasten my tudung. Juntai looks like dangling earrings and is more stylish compared to normal brooches,” she says.
Mastura uses only one brooch at a time. “Some women wear two, one on each side, like earrings. But that’s too much for me.”
She advises brooch buyers to make sure the pin is sharp, otherwise it can destroy the fabric. “The metal on cheap brooches will fade and the plastic stones come off easily so it is best to invest in quality.”
Statement on a pin
Best ways to wear a brooch:
Pin a large brooch on the neckline of your baju kurung to replace your necklace.
Wear a three-chain brooch in round or rectangle shapes on the lapel of your kebaya.
Who says you can’t add accessory on the slip-on tudung? Wear the small Juntai brooch on the neck or a longer one on the tip of your hair bun.
If you wrap the shawl around your head as tudung, pin the Juntai brooch on both sides of the hijab so it would look like a pair of earrings or simply pin it on one side of the head.
For men, the secret is to wear a simple, round diamond brooch on the collar of the Teluk Belanga baju Melayu.
Looking for a brooch? Try these places:
JALAN TUANKU ABDUL RAHMAN
For bargains and variety, head for Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman.
JALAN MASJID INDIA
A stone’s throw from Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, the stretch along this street offers even lower-priced items. Look for a hidden makeshift stall where the prices are too good to resist.
KOMPLEKS PKNS SHAH ALAM
Also a crowd puller during the festive season, this place gives Selangor shoppers more reason to return every year with its plentiful baju kurung, scarves and brooches, all under one roof.
KENANGA WHOLESALE CITY
This latest wholesale mall in the heart of the city has a variety of shops where you can get cheaper items in bulk.
Ampang Park is the right choice especially if you don’t like to be part of the dense crowd at the street stalls on weekends.
Usually, only a groom would pin a large brooch on the songkok for his wedding day but just go ahead if you fancy wearing it on festive occasions.
Fasten a brooch to pearl, plain gold or silver necklaces for a completely new look.
Attach a bobby pin or hair clip to a brooch and clip it into your hair for instant glam. You can also add a brooch on a piece of ribbon or a headband.