Lapel Pin Vs Brooch: What Are The Differences Between Them?

Lapel Pin Vs Brooch: What Are The Differences Between Them? | Custom Pins Now

A lapel pin is essentially the same as a brooch in almost every way. The primary difference being that brooches are usually larger and used for decoration.

What sets apart a brooch from a lapel pin? Pins can be used for a variety of purposes, including uniforms, name tags, and fashion accessories, while brooches are almost entirely decorative in nature. Lapel pins also have a unique history and have been set apart from brooches since the beginning though they have more overlap now.

In the past, lapel pins were mostly worn on men’s lapels during black-tie affairs as a masculine alternative to the feminine brooch. This has long since stopped being the case. Within the last several decades’ pins have made a resurgence in popularity in both the professional and fashion worlds.

Currently, the differences are a little less pronounced as brooches and lapel pins both continue to evolve. Enamel lapel pins and enamel brooches are nearly identical, but brooches still tend to be bigger with an average of two or three inches. Brooches are also still seen by most as a feminine accessory though that view has been shifting as the fashion industry has made them a feature for both men and women.

Lapel Pin Vs Brooch What Are The Differences Between Them?

As mentioned previously, the size is the most apparent difference between the two. Brooches are also ornamental, while pins can have various uses (e.g., name tags, uniform pins, professional awards, etc.). While brooches are worn to show off wealth or as a wardrobe enhancement, pins often represent organizations, departments, or personal interests.

Original Purpose of a Lapel Pin

When lapel pins were first invented, they were made to be worn in the buttonhole on the left lapel of a man’s suit. This was a socially acceptable way for a man to show off wealth and status. Brooches were the feminine version and are still often considered a feminine item even though the fashion industry has worked to make them gender-neutral. Lapel pins have since evolved.

Evolution of Lapel Pin Usage

Modern lapel pins come in a wide range of styles and can be worn anywhere on clothing or items like bags and lanyards. They are no longer limited to men and are often used as a creative way to show off individuality. Unlike brooches, pins come in a vast range of categories, including the following.

  • Sports
  • Military
  • Geographical locations
  • People, places, or things
  • Business logos or messages
  • Professional ranks
  • Organizations
  • Awareness pins (e.g., breast cancer awareness, autism awareness, etc.)
  • Fashion items
  • Pop culture themes

Fashion Vs Function

In the world of pins, there is a place for fashion and function. Collectors, buyers, and sellers look for various pin styles from classic business logos to uniform and vintage themed pins. Brooches, on the other hand, are broken down into categories of size, material (e.g., plastic, metal, gems, etc.), and quality.

Uniform Pins

There are thousands of uniform pins for official and unofficial organizations around the world. However, brooches are not used in most official uniforms outside of specific industries (e.g., flight attendant, etc.) where they may have once been commonplace. Modern uniforms are almost exclusively accompanied by pins to represent achievements and rank.

Name Tags

One of the most common uses for lapel pins is as a name tag. They may have a company logo or slogan accompanying the name. This is yet another way they are set apart from brooches, which are not used as name tags.

As Accessories

Brooches and lapel pins are both used as fashion accessories though the former are almost always large ornament pieces while pins are used to present a theme or message. Brooches are usually made out of decoratively shaped metal, plastics, or gems. At the same time, lapel pins are primarily die-cut metal with enamel paint as wardrobe accessories brooches are traditionally worn on the left-hand side of the collar or chest while pins can be worn anywhere.

Using Them to Share a Message

Lapel Pins are often used to present a type of message to those watching. This can include support for a favorite music band, activity, sports team, professional pride, brand, celebrity, place, or item, to name a few. Brooches, on the other hand, are rarely used to show appreciation of a specific thing and are often worn because they look beautiful.

Advantages of Pins Vs Brooches

Brooches are useful as a way to enhance fashion ensembles, and they can be used for clasping a shawl, scarf, or similar items. They can do this because the clasping mechanism is usually larger and safety-pin-styled, making it easier to position and work through multiple fabric layers. Lapel pins are smaller, and the backings are harder to work through various layers.

Here are a few pros and cons of using brooches versus lapel pins.

Lapel Pins


  • Smaller sizes make them ideal for uniforms and as understated fashion pieces.
  • It is easier to wear multiple pins at once.
  • They are much more cost-effective to create and order.
  • Lapel pins come in many more genres and varieties (e.g., sports, freemason, a personal hobbies, etc.).


  • Pins have a more challenging time penetrating multiple layers, so they are not as good for clasping scarves, shawls, etc. Compared to brooches which to this well.



  • They are fabulous eye-catching jewelry due to their size and typical ostentatious design.
  • Brooches are often used as a way to display wealth and status.


  • Brooches are not strictly useful for much outside of enhancing the look of an outfit.
  • It is significantly more expensive to create customized pieces.

Custom Orders

If you are interested in learning more about specific types of enamel lapel pins and their features, you can check out this page, which goes over each in detail. Customizing brooches is a little harder, especially if you want to create bulk orders. It is instead much more affordable and straightforward to design and order lapel pins which are capable of accommodating any need.

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