Thursday, February 25, 2016

A Bevy of Brooches, Part 1

Brooches are pretty much my favorite accessory. They take up much less room than a purse, making them easier to store in a cramped apartment closet. Also, unlike purses, you don't need to worry about making sure your entire life is transferred from the one you wore the day before into the one you want to wear next. I wear the same necklace, bracelets, and ring every single day, so along with earrings, brooches are my best shot to add a little pizzaz to my outfits. 

The best thing about brooches, though, is the sheer variety that you can find. Oh, and the fact that many of them are sparkly! My collection has been growing steadily since I moved to Chicago, and today I'm going to share it with you, and tell you a bit about the various places I've gotten them.

Every brooch I own in one super-duper collage.

Without further ado, I present: BROOCHSTRAVAGANZA, Part 1! The post got so unbelievably long that I needed to make it a three-parter, so in today's installment, I'll be talking about my brooches from Atomic Lucite, Catty Ways, and Erstwilder.

Today's brooches.

Atomic Lucite

I am completely and utterly obsessed with Atomic Lucite, one of the newer faces on the novelty-brooch scene. Atomic Lucite is a duo of ├╝ber-talented women who have been selling handmade Lucite-style brooches on Instagram and Facebook since April 2015 (their own website is currently under construction). They focus on reproduction Lucite jewelry, and have an incredibly large selection that grows all the time. They have Star Wars and Doctor Who-themed items, a ton of rockabilly/pinup-style novelty brooches (cat-eye sunglasses, high heels, retro camper vans, and a zillion other things), and as the name suggests, plenty of atomic-themed swag. They're also incredibly flexible about customizing their pieces, and super responsive to messages.

I found Atomic Lucite while I was scrolling through the 'explore posts' page on Instagram and spotted the most amazing rainbow brooch ever. Sadly, by the time I got there, the rainbow brooch had been claimed, but I had a gander at the rest of their feed and saw ROCKETS. And Star Wars. And Peeps. I also saw a fairly old post offering a free Star Wars brooch with qualifying purchase, so I commented and asked if it was still on. Not five minutes later, I had a reply telling me that while the promotion had ended, they'd forgotten to take the post down, and so they'd be happy to give it to me, which was awesome! I hammered out the details of what I wanted, and four days later, my order was in my hands. They'd even sent me not one, but TWO Star Wars brooches!

It even came wrapped in adorable leopard-print paper!
Now I finally have something to match my NASA shirt!

The quality of these pieces is incredible. Everything is smooth, with perfectly straight or evenly curved sides depending on what the design requires, and the glitter and resin coating is even and uniform. The 4-in-1 rocket and sunburst set came with two different chains, and both the rocket and the sunburst can be worn on their own. Everything is sturdy and just so well made! The brooches come with locking pin-backs, and the earrings seem to be stainless steel or something equally hypoallergenic, as I'm able to wear them. The price for all of these items is also extremely reasonable, making Atomic Lucite not only great quality, but a great value.

The other awesome thing about Atomic Lucite is how willing they are to customize their offerings. For example, when I ordered from them, they didn't have a green Rebel Alliance brooch ready-made, nor did they have any rockets in red, but they told me to pick the colors I wanted and they could make them to order! I might be the only person in the world who absolutely needed a green Rebel insignia, and now I have it, because they are awesome. They're actually working on a custom-order TV brooch for me right now, in fact. I saw one that was entirely glitter that they'd posted on Facebook, and wanted to know if I could either have one like it, or one with an image inside the screen. No problem: all I had to do was pick the image I wanted. I'm also ordering a TARDIS, a Millennium Falcon, a secret present for my sister, and a ray gun!

If you like Lucite-style brooches in super fun shapes, you absolutely have to check out Atomic Lucite!

Catty Ways

I've only ordered one brooch from Catty Ways, but I really like my two-tone Alliance insignia! Her shop has this brooch in several other colors, as well as a few Disney-themed brooches and some beachy pieces. This piece is quite well made, and shipped pretty quickly, too! This brooch also comes in blue and white. I'm satisfied with this purchase, and although I haven't seen anything else in her shop that I absolutely need to have, if I did find something, I'd happily buy from her again.


My lone Erstwilder brooch.

If you're a fan of pinup/mid-century fashion, I bet you've heard of Erstwilder. I'd seen Erstwilder brooches all over the internet, but only took the plunge about a month ago. Erstwilder is an Australian retro-style jewelry company that makes brooches, necklaces, and earrings. They sell directly from their own website, with free international shipping for all orders over $150, and there are also a number of American stockists, including Unique Vintage, DNJ Retro, and Pinup Girl Clothing. 

Erstwilder brooches are a bit pricier than many of the other brooches I've bought, which is why I'd hesitated for so long. This one cost $28, less a 20% discount from a site wide promotion on Unique Vintage. I think it was definitely worth the money, though! It's incredibly detailed and just feels so beautiful when you touch it. Up close, this brooch is even more beautiful: it catches the light in the loveliest way, and appears to have texture and depth despite being perfectly smooth to the touch. This brooch has a locking pin-back that's nice and wide, so that it lays flat and straight when you wear it.

Erstwilder has just released a new picnic-themed line, which joins their dinosaur, animal, cosmetics, and diner/50s offerings (among others!), and if I had unlimited funds, I'd have about a million more Erstwilder brooches.

Wow, I can't believe I thought I'd be able to fit my entire collection in one post and talk about my experiences with each shop. Sometimes I don't realize just how verbose I am. Tune in tomorrow for the next installment of Broochstravaganza, featuring pieces from Femme De Bloom, Luxulite, the Oblong Box Shop, and Pin Em Up Designs!

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  1. You know how I love my brooches! They're so addicting, aren't they? You have a great start to your collection! :) Atomic Lucite is such a great brand, with such cheap prices. And Erstwilder is one of my favs, of course. Such cute, fun pieces!

    1. I would love to see your whole collection! Your blog is actually the first place I read about Luxulite, too. I'm totally hooked on brooches :). Atomic Lucite is amazing -- every time they post on IG, I mentally add more things to the wish list! And Erstwilder is wonderful too -- I'm dying for the strawberry jam brooch!!

  2. OMGerd, I can't wait to see your custom TV brooch!! :)

    1. Same here!! The one I saw on their Facebook page was just so awesome!

  3. I need to check out the atomic one! I looooooove Erstwilder! They are definitely my favorite brooch game i town!! XO

    1. Atomic Lucite is the bestttttttt! I'm obsessed with everything they come up with, and they're so nice about customizing stuff. I really need to get on Erstwilder's picnic line before it sells out. That strawberry jam brooch has my NAME on it! Your brooch collection is so fabulous, too! All the Deer Arrow pieces you have make me want to try them out.

  4. Soooo fabulous! Brooches are a perpetual favourite of mine as well - new, old, repro, vintage inspired, kitchy, glam, handmade - they all make me swoon and I rarely go more than a few weeks with out adding at least one new offering to my collection.

    ♥ Jessica

  5. Thank you so much! I bet your brooch collection is pretty epic. It really is hard to resist snapping them up when you find a cute one, isn't it?

    PS -- I loved your most recent blog post so much! I wanted to comment but then saw all the other comments, got shy, and scuttled back into my metaphorical hermit-crab shell.