Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Heraldry à la mode

Sometime last year, I bought an eagle crest military hat pin from Ebay (see photo below). I love interesting accessory pieces like this that have a story behind them; they always make for really great conversation starters.

Initially, I wanted it because I thought it would look cool on my hats and blazers but I realized there was more to it than just a cool design so I was inspired to research the history and meaning behind this art style known as heraldry.




Heraldry is "the practice of designing, displaying, describing, and recording coats of arms and badges." It is generally believed that heraldry began as a means of distinguishing the participants in a battle since the soldier's faces were hidden behind iron and steel armors.


photo courtesy teachnet.ie


European armorial bearings first came into being during the Middle Ages but tribal, national and family emblems were in existence long before this time.

The number of heraldic symbols, or charges, has significantly developed over time and this makes it impossible for me to list all of them here. The definition of a charge is "any figure or device represented on the field of an escutcheon (sheild)"


Charges can be separated into two broad categories, animate and inanimate. Animate charges are beasts, birds, fish, insects, reptiles, humans, monsters and mythical creatures. Two of the most well known animal charges are the eagle and the lion.


photos courtesy heraldicclipart.com and dclips.fundraw.com


Inanimate charges include crosses, various military objects, nautical objects, crowns, trees, plants and flowers. Two well known inanimate charges are the battle axe and the fleur-de-lis.


photos courtesy library.nd.edu and smartershoppingonline.com


All charges have special individual meanings behind them that referred to things such as the personal qualities of a soldier or a description of various situations encountered during battle.

The colours commonly used in heraldry are gold, silver/white, red, blue, green, black, purple. Orange and maroon are also used occasionally. Each of these colours also has a special meaning such as peace, hope, military strength and sovereignty.


photo courtesy sairafblog.com


Today, heraldic art is widely used for decoration in fashion but it is also still used for traditional purposes on national, provincial and state coat of arms as well as logos for various government, academic, corporate and sporting institutions.

Below are some great, affordable items that feature decorative heraldic-style elements.


(Note: click on the name of item to go to the product page)

Military Pin
Price: US$4.80








Crest Drop Earrings

Price: US$9.99

33 comments:

Sunniva said...

A very interesting read! I love that you like to wear unusual and interesting accessory pieces. You've inspired me to get my very own heraldry accessory ;)

xxx

Cheryl Lynn said...

You are so informative. This is the kind of post that I love to read, full of history and educational information.

Once again, you've taught us much.

Savvy Mode SG said...

thanks for sharing. it's interesting reading. i love chromeheart products. the daisy collection is new to georg jensen. i was surprised they have something so cute too.

A la Femme said...

Great post, I love the first pin and the shoes, you make me want to find some pins now!!

Cupcakes and Cashmere said...

that fleur de lis keychain is SUPER cute!

pinup_girl said...

Who knew there were so many heraldry accessories out there? They're really beautiful, I'd love something similar to any of the items you've shown.

You really know your stuff when it comes to fashion. Well done!

AsianCajuns said...

Wow! Way to do your research! I love the look of these - a mix of regal and military.

AsianCajuns said...

What an awesome post! I noticed that UO and F21 were putting up heraldic inspired pieces and I was wondering where the trend came from (anyone on the runway?).

THE HOUSE OF STYLE said...

oh i do love this post!as im so into military insignia,like one of my fave blazers is a vintage navy one with some heraldic crest on the pocket.love this post,so informative but fun! hon id love to trade links,ive added you on already!
muah x
marian

Page said...

Great ebay find! It's like when you dig through your grandma's closet and find such a treasured piece!

p.s. thanks for stopping by my lil' blog and always leaving such nice comments! tear!

Songy said...

very educational indeed. thanks for that research.

Queen Mini Wristlet Clutch is utterly gorgeous.

DaisyChain said...

Oh I love this post. I'd love to trade links, I shall add you now =)

Imelda Matt said...

just like the Order of Imelda...I love it when your 'in the zone' with these posts. Brilliant.

yiqin; said...

Ahhh reminds me of the Singapore crest! & the sailor top is lovely!!

(¯`·._.·[***Fresh&Fab***]·._.·´¯) said...

oh wow, very interesting to read!!!

STYLE DU MONDE said...

Hi dear Danz!

Wonderful post as usual. I love those red shoes!

xx

Ida said...

I love the clutch, Danz, dearest. As always, beautiful picks.

Sharon Rose said...

Hi Danz-what a fantastic and unique post!! Thanks for sharing the history of heraldry and for showing how timeless and stylish it can be! I love your hat pin and your picks of whats out there is great!!

LuLu124 said...

wow great post with lots of wonderful info!!! the pin you bought is really lovely, i can see it on a really nice blazer!!! :D xoxo, lulu ♥

CoutureCarrie said...

Hey D!
I love crests (your pin is the best of all of these, btw!) and I knew I could count on you for the historic symbolism . . . Heraldry is quite intriguing!
You consistently have the best-researched posts in the fashion blogosphere, my dear!
Keep up the great work :)

xoxox,
CC

Shay said...

fun and informative post!! I ended up with a crested boys school blazer awhile ago that turned out to be from a movie...

Kira Fashion said...

that´s fantastic and do love it!
I remember queens and kings when i see something like that :)

a kiss!!!

lucy said...

Danz i loved finding out the history behind heraldry. there was a time i loved these symbols. great post as always.

jess said...

Great post. It was informative.Great history its much more interesting than my ap euro history packets!

Cammila said...

Oh I just LOVE when there are cool stories like this behind little treasures! And my dad is a historian so I'm a BIG history nerd! This made my night. :)

Always In Style said...

Excellent post -- funny, I just wrote a Trends Report about Coat of Arms jewelry and such...not out yet but I suppose great minds think alike :-)

PAM said...

i really love those flats :)

christina said...

Loving the military pin. It makes me want to go out and search for one.

Jenny H. said...

ahh i just realized... the girl in your favourite look or whatever is wearing the same skirt as me in my last post!

Maeva said...

I got a blazer with this kind of brooch. I love the idea of belonging to a college, something like that :)
Nice blog, i'm new here !

Vain and Vapid said...

I love your crest brooch, I think you will get a lot of milage out of it this season and that sailor blouse is too cute for words.

enc said...

I think it's brilliant that you took the time to research Heraldry, and report on it. Thanks!

The Seeker said...

A sooooo interesting post, delightfull to read.
Thanks for sharing all this.

xoxo