What is a Dress Clip? by Pamela Y. Wiggins


A dress clip is a type of brooch employing a flat hinged clip mechanism with cleat-like prongs around the edges to hold the jewelry in place on a garment. Most dress clips have one large clip in the center of the piece, but some employ one or two narrow clips depending on the design. These can sometimes be confused with shoe clips by novice collectors because of the prongs along the edges, especially with smaller examples.

Dress clips were widely produced by companies such as Eisenberg, Miriam Haskell, and a number of others, but they’re not always marked. Many were made of pot metal with no identifying markings present or overly distinctive characteristics, and these are all but impossible to attribute to a manufacturer. An abundance of this type of brooch was made during the late 1930s and early 1940s, and they’re generally associated with this era.

Larger dress clips were more frequently sold individually rather than as part of set. Some dress clips were sold in pairs, as often noted with Bakelite examples, which could be worn at the corners of garments with square necklines.


Trifari and Coro, along with other unidentified manufacturers, are also known for making pairs of smallish clips held together in a specially designed mechanism allowing them to be worn together as a pin or separately as clips. Trifari patented their interlocking clip system as “Clip-mate,” while Coro patented a similar design as “Duette.” The generic name duette has been used for quite some time among collectors as a catch-all term for this type of pin/clip duo. Not all duettes incorporate dress clips; some examples use what collectors refer to as fur clips instead.

Fur clips, or pin clips as they were deemed by the original manufacturers, also have a hinged pin back. But instead of a flat clip, their fastening mechanism consists of two sharp prongs. Fur clips were also sold individually, like dress clips, with many well-known and desirable examples made by Eisenberg, Trifari and other notable manufacturers.

For ideas on how to wear dress and fur clips, click here.

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