My grandma collects elephants. Until she downsized, there was a whole room full of elephant figurines in her basement. It was absurd. It was also highly convenient for gift-giving. She never really needs anything, but you always knew she’d be pleased with a new elephant.
After the election last year I soothed myself with Madeleine Albright’s delightful Read My Pins. It’s part biography, part exhibition guide to her fantastic collection of brooches. Until this year I’ve been a necklace girl, but Albright sold me on pins and I’ve started a collection that I’m hoping will be what my kids, friends and eventually grandkids will contribute to whenever they don’t know what else to buy me. A brooch gives any top that little something extra so I feel like I’m wearing an Outfit, not just a sweater and jeans.
I’m hoping to start a trend and convince the world that brooches aren’t just for Senior Citizens, so here’s my proposal: grab Read My Pins for any gal in your life who could use some encouragement from a badass lady’s life and package it with a brooch picked just for her. My favorites so far have been cheapies dug out of secondhand shops, but there are several new ones on my Christmas list.
The gal who’s hashtag this year has been #Resist is going to need a Dissent Pin, modeled on the lace collar Ruth Bader Ginsburg wears to dissent. This one supports some great causes and you might add a copy of The Notorious RBG or I Dissent into the package. If I haven’t sold you on brooches they have necklaces, earrings and even temporary tattoos. (Tattoos, you guys!)
Florals are brooch classics, and finding a friend’s favorite bloom in pin form is a great way to show you’ve been paying attention to what she likes. I haven’t found a lilac for myself yet, but I’m asking for this stem of bleeding hearts to show up in my stocking. My grandpa always grew them, and they make me smile because he called them “ladies in a bathtub.” This one’s doubly perfect for me since it features pears, my favorite. Favorite gems are a perfect personalization. Or maybe a new Mom in your life (or your mom!) needs one in mother-of-pearl?
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) July 29, 2016
The Shattered Glass Ceiling Brooch Albright wore to the Democratic Convention last year is just as topical today. Two sizes of a similar pin are available on Etsy, and what a perfect gift they’d be for a mentor, someone who’s made professional leaps this year, or a lady just entering (or rejoining) the workforce. Sure it comes as a pendant too, but then you’re not building the brooch trend for me! Also, I’d be more worried about stabbing myself when I bend over with a broken glass pendant than I am with the pin.
It wouldn’t be That’s Normal if I didn’t send some pop culture recommendations your way too! Parks and Rec is at the top of my list, and I’m loving this little pin.
Hamilton was a huge part of my year too, and Casey Barber’s making some awesome pin versions. Lafayette’s my favorite!
The Hermione in your life needs a SPEW badge, and the Etsy shop that makes them covers tons of fandoms (the floral Tardis pins are great!).
And RockLove has two gorgeous options for you Outlander ladies. I’m not in love with JAMMF, but I still want that Fraser Stag brooch.
Here’s hoping your mom/ aunt/grandma/ daughter/ teacher/ BFF/ boss/ assistant/ etc. loves the brooch you pick for her and wears it all year long. And then you’ll know exactly what to get her next year. More pins!
Written by Bea
Bea loves life in the Pacific Northwest, rereading old novels and weird varieties of pickles. She can dive deep on Harry Potter, Twilight, 90’s CCM, celeb fashion or foreign policy. She’s trying to figure out what to do when the little one goes to kindergarten, what to make for dinner and how to be a feminist who can’t pass up a princess book.