The mass production of stick pins occurred during the 1870s, leading to more outlandish and creative features that were beyond the atypical jeweller including animal heads, horseshoes, bugs, flowers, celestial pieces, and hearts.
From political to pretty, stick pins were widely incorporated in men’s fashion, and by the 1890s, stick pins were emerging within women’s fashion too.
Yet, women’s fashion and pins also had a convoluted relationship, of course, pins were used for dressmaking and embroidery. However, stick pins and hat pins within women’s fashion started to show a change of the times. In the 1890’s, stick pins were used in women’s sportswear, signifying the shift in roles, having more time for leisure and active pursuits, rather than the domestic.
What’s more, hat pins became more and more popular due to the change in hat styles. Women preferred wearing hats that could be secured onto the head with a hat pin, rather than wearing a bonnet which secured to the head by being tied tightly under the chin.
Bonnets were viewed as restrictive, and hat pins allowed women to escape this confining form of dress. This aligned with the slowly changing attitudes surrounding women’s dress being uncomfortable, patriarchal and ultimately, a form of imprisonment.
Remember when earlier in this blog post the government restricted pin purchasing in 1820? Well, it wasn’t the end of that. In 1909, as the suffragette movement was advancing at a rapid pace, there were increasing fears that hat pins could be used as weapons (as stick pins could too!). This lead to a bill being passed instructing that women’s pins had to be 9 inches long or less.