Lapel Pins are Timeless

The folks here at Pincious absolutely love lapel pins. These tiny metal trinkets have been part of our lives for decades and we don’t see making lapel pins as a job but as a true passion. But how did this modern day fashion movement start? It wouldn’t be surprising to most people that the history of pins started thousands of years ago. 

The term lapel pin is a present day term for what was once called brooches or garment fasteners. Buttons and pins were used to secure clothing and at first they were not very remarkable in design. Earliest designs were made from plant material, shells and thin pieces of metal serving as the “pin” portion of the fastener. Clothing has always been a signal of wealth and the nicer your clothes are, the uniqueness of their dye and color and the ornateness of the fasteners meant the more wealthy you are. The evolution of clothing was hand in hand with the evolution of pins. Brooches came about in the later Roman period and their functionality mattered little in comparison to it’s decorative nature. Precious metals, gems, pearls and enamels became essential in what made up a quality brooch. They were worn attached to shawls, scarfs, hats and jackets and were very much like jewelry as they served very little purpose in fastening clothing together. 

Brooches were not just a woman’s affair but indeed both genders took part in the wearing and giving of these pins. As the centuries went on, brooches and pins took a hold in the culture, especially in Europe. From the Dark to Medeival Ages you would have seen the Celtic cultures adopt a style of pin similar to the popularized “Hand of the King” pins from Game of Thrones, circular brooches with a long, thin metal pin. And as the modern day eras approached, the brooches we are familiar with began to appear. The Edwardian and Victorian eras brought with them pins influenced by animals, flowers and Greco Roman themes. 

Hat pins, in the last few hundreds years, were evolving in their complexity and decoration inline with brooches of their time. These much longer pins secured hats, veils and other headgear to one’s own hair and were very much a staple in a person’s everyday attire. Adorned with jewels and stones and made of gold plated metals, these pins were very much prized possessions and heirlooms to be handed down for generations.

The world’s military soon adopted many of these trends for their own decorative wear. Military pins started to take a hold in uniform attire in the mid-1800’s. Before then, ranks were displayed more with uniform color scheme, cockades in their headgear, shoulder boards and epaulettes. In American history, the Civil War was the turning point for military pin insignia. The tradition rings true to this very day and has taken a hold in armies all over the world. 

There are so many examples of how pins have played a part in our fashion and style over the millennia that we could go on and on for thousands of words but the main take away is lapel pins aren’t going anywhere. Even in this technologically advanced time, pins have stood the test and will stay relevant for years to come.

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