The Brooch Post

I had an anon query on tumblr awhile back on how sari pins were worn so I thought I would do a quick post on how brooches were worn in the 1930s and 1940s.

Pins and brooches were around earlier (e.g. 1900s/1910s) earlier and were like the Edwardian bar pin or a round, jewelled brooch. Generally they held the pleats at the shoulder together, around this time the pleats were often bunched and then fastened, the loose end could then be readily draped over the head if required as in the portrait of Sarojini Naidu.

But the prolific use of pins and brooches for sarees is in the 1930s and 1940s. In part this may be due to the fact that the 6 yard saree became very common and probably required some pinning for women unused to the style. The style also made it possible to display this kind of jewellery.

Apart from pinning the saree at the shoulder either by way of the elongated bar pin or an elaborate jewelled brooch (pics 1-4), the brooch was also used to pin the saree at the waist as in pics 5 and 6.  While pinning on the left side seems an elegant way of anchoring the cross drape, you sometimes see brooches on the right side (pic 7) as well as anchored way up as in the artful drape of pic 8 (a similar drape in pic 5).

The brooches of pics 9 and 10 appear to be merely decorative given they are pinned to the blouse and the sari then draped so that they are displayed.

A modern version of the bar pin here.

About Anu M

A potted history of Indian clothing and fashion.
This entry was posted in 1910s, 1930s, 1940s, 20th century, Accessories, Early 20th Century, fashion, Indian fashion, Indian Women, Jewellery, retro fashion, vintage fashion, vintage jewellery, vintage style and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Brooch Post

  1. Malcolm Harfitt says:


    I enjoyed your fashion posts. I have a boxed set of pins (they look like safety pins) but are adorned with rubies and peridots. Maker is Cooke and Kelvey. Do you know anything about this company?
    Kind regards, Malcolm Harfitt

    • Anu M says:

      Hi first off apologies for this late reply. I hope you got an answer to the question. Unfortunately I can’t help much.

  2. Samuel says:

    In all of my grandmother’s old pictures of her mother in the 40s, she’s wearing her sari bunched and pinned with the long pin on the left shoulder and then loosely thrown on the right shoulder. In later photographs of her I don’t notice it, so it’s cool to see this general trend for the time period reflected in my old family photos

    • Anu M says:

      Yes that’s pretty much how it was worn then – including the slight drape over the right shoulder. Cool to see it in your old photos!

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