They all know how to wear enamel pins.
Enamel pins aren’t just flair for the Hollywood and Washington, D.C., elite, though. Not to overstate it, but we think pins are the single most versatile and accessible fashion accessory in the world because they
- are small so they fit everywhere;
- have unlimited design potential, so they match every outfit;
- allow you to make a statement; and
- don’t cost a lot, so you can change them out often.
To really let your flair flag fly, you’re going to need some creative ways to wear all those amazing and adorable enamel pins you’ve been collecting. Whether it’s on your bonnet, belt, or backpack, here are some of the most creative ideas we’ve found for how to wear enamel pins.
Liven up your lanyardsSpice up your work or school lanyard with a few favorite pins. Or if you’re headed to a place where other #pinheads gather, fill a lanyard with the pins you’re ready to trade.
Lanyards for pin trading
Lanyards are now standard kit for serious traders at pin-centric locations like pin expos and Disney parks. So when you’re gearing up to go, fill a lanyard with your most tradable pins and you’ve got a mini-billboard, instantly showing everyone that you’re down to trade.
Here’s an example from Steven Miller, a communications manager for Disney who’s helped design many Disney pins.
Cast members at Disney parks tote these “lanyard pins” so they can trade with willing guests.
The Sweeter Side of Mommyhood blog shows you how to make your own Disney pin lanyard, so you’re never without a place to place your favorite pins.
The pin-trading hustle goes way beyond the House of Mouse. Here’s a lovely lanyard from the Olympics, another hotbed of pin-trading action.
If you’ve got trading on your mind, a lanyard is a great way to wear your enamel pins.
The pin/lanyard setYou can get super stylish with a made-for-each-other lanyard and enamel pin set.
For example, this sushi-themed combo is of-fish-ally the cutest collaboration ever.
Of course, there are plenty of Disney sets available as well.
Now you can find lapel/pin sets from other pop-culture brands, like Marvel and Star Wars. Wait ... those are Disney, too. Everything’s Disney!
Lanyards for school or work
You don’t always get a lot of opportunities to flaunt your personality when you’re on the job or in the classroom. One way to do so is by decorating your lanyard with pins that show off your style.
University of Northhampton blings up their school lanyards:
And this retail employee took their lanyard to the max with just a few friendly pins.
If you have to wear a lanyard anyway, why not give it a bit of pin flair?
Beautify your badge holdersDon’t wear lanyards but need to keep your badge visible? No worries. Just add a little extension on your badge holder, and voila! Plenty of space for your pins.
If you’re a manager, and your team wears badge holders or lanyards, you could even give them some pins as recognition for their loyalty and hard work.
Jazz up your jacketsEnamel pins were made for jackets. They’re literally called lapel pins, as in the lapel of a jacket. From basic to bad-ass, here are several ways to wear enamel pins on your favorite coat or jacket.
Jean jackets are the most versatile, durable fashion trend in history. For 130 years, everyone from pop stars to cowboys, from runway models to train conductors, has donned these denim duds. Take this iconic outerwear to the next level with a healthy dose of your best enamel pins.
A single pin on the lapel or pocket is an understated option.
Or you can fill it up with loads of pins.
But if you really want to make a statement, go full meta jacket with a jacket-full of pins that look like jackets that have pins on them.
Ita jacketAn ita jacket is a new spin on the ita bag. Ita jackets have a pouch specifically designed to hold your pins.
Ita jackets are getting popular. The Kickstarter campaign for this jacket raised over $180K, or 7,236% of its goal.
Suit jacketYou can’t get any sharper-dressed than the pointy end of an enamel pin. No matter the formal-wear occasion, the right enamel pin will be an icebreaking conversation starter.
Pins with a purpose are a popular choice. Justin Timberlake shows us the way.
You can’t beat the polished, high-quality look of a hard enamel pin for formal occasions. But remember, there are rules to how you wear them on suits. They should always be placed on the left lapel, and in most cases, you should keep it to a single pin.
Create stylish strapsIt really doesn’t matter what they’re holding up (your pants, a guitar); if you see a strap, it’s ready to be pinned.
Belts have holes. Pins fit in holes. The synergy is obvious.
We never thought of it before, but a belt loop is also a great spot for a pin.
It’s securely fastened and the pin back won’t dig into your skin.
SuspendersSuspenders are a quirky fashion statement to begin with. Lean into the offbeat aesthetic by adding a handful of your favorite enamel pins.
A word of caution: the snapping of suspenders gets a lot more serious when they’ve been weaponized with pin-backs.
If jeans, a shirt, and suspenders got together to make one super-garment, you’d have overalls. And those straps are just begging to be decked out with some enamel pins.
Anything with a strap
Look around your home. How many things do you see with straps? Don’t just leave them bare. Get to garnishing them with your enamel pins.
This guitar strap is instantly improved with a pin.
And just look at how photogenic this pinned camera strap is.
There are millions of pin designs in the world. It won’t be hard to find some that match your passion. For example, picture your camera equipment tricked out with this perfectly paired Polaroid pin.
You’ll not find a better match than that.
Add some sass to your shirts
Enamel pins can add flair to just about any top, from a Saturday-night favorite to a laundry-day sweatshirt.
There are no rules for pinning casual tops. Just stick ’em wherever you feel comfortable.
Placing a matched set on shirt collars is just an adorable look.
Don’t think we didn’t notice that these are pin pins. Brilliant!
If you have a little extra time, a pair of vice grips, a metal grinder, and some epoxy, this tutorial will show you how to turn your enamel pins into cuff links.
Fill your hat to the brim with pinsSometimes it’s a fashion statement. Sometimes it’s an alternative to washing your hair. Either way, hats are a staple in everyone’s wardrobe. Why not seize the opportunity to lift your lid game and decorate your derby with some of your most prized pins?
The big knit of stocking hats and beanies (or toboggans if you’re in the southern U.S.) allows you to pin them up without damaging the material.
Kind of like the belt loop idea, placing pins on the outer fold of your hat will provide protection from pin-on-skin interactions.
Since we have a side theme of pins shaped like the things they’re pinned to, how about these knit-hat pins?
We haven’t tried it yet, but you could probably even pin the pom-pom.
Ball caps are the most casual of headwear, so you can go crazy with any pin theme that tickles your fancy and place them anywhere you like on the cap.
The brim is fertile ground for planting a bunch of pins.
But it isn’t cheating to have a little side pin, too.
Really, the entire cap is a blank canvas waiting for your creative pin expressions.
Tyrolean German hatWe’re digging deep here, but if you happen to be into historic German Alpine hat culture, then here’s another option for wearing enamel pins.
It’s become quite the rage to cover your green felt head-spread with pins of all shapes and sizes. Dig out your best beer-stein bling and let’s do this.
Make your best vest festiveWhat are vests for? To keep your core warm while your arms are left out in the cold? No, they’re for weighing down with all the shiny things. Oh, and battle vests are a thing you should know about.
From the people who brought you trading-pin lanyards comes the next evolution in enamel collectible display outerwear.
The sheer square footage of a vest just means you can show off a dazzling number of pins.
They’re not just utilitarian. Oh no. These bad boys are stylish as well.
At Disney, to be dressed like the best, you’ll need a vest like the rest.
Lots of jobs require you to wear a vest to let customers know you work there. A few pins will say, “Sure, I’m going to get the job done, but I’ll have fun while I do it.”
This expression of flair would make any greeter even greater.
Battle vestThe origin of battle vests dates back to the bomber jackets World War II pilots wore, which they decorated with pins and patches. Nowadays, they’re worn by bikers, metal-heads, and pin people looking for more creative ways to flaunt their flair.
No need for envy. This DIY video will teach you how to craft a battle vest of your very own.
Bring your bags back from boringDid you know there are backpacks and handbags made specifically for showcasing your pins? It’s true, and they’re kinda awesome. But with a little imagination, you can turn just about any bag into a mini-museum of your enamel pin finery.
A simple, inexpensive handbag transforms into an envy-inducing accessory with a few well-placed pins. Pick a matching collection of pins, then position them up and down the strap or on the bag itself.
A single pin on the strap perfectly straddles the classy/sassy line.
Go all in on purse pins with this specially made bag.
Even with locking backs, losing pins is a real risk. This bag protects your collection while giving ample space to share it with the world.
Backpacks and messenger bags
Canvas packs and bags hold up well to being poked by pins. Create a constant collection or change them out often for a new vibe.
Like a bumper sticker, a pin on your backpack tells anyone following you what you’re all about.
If your bag is waterproof, do not stick pins directly into the fabric.
Instead, hang them from the zippers, cords, and tabs. Your dry books and laptop will thank you.
Ita bagRoughly translated from Japanese, ita bag means “painful bag.” It’s a reference to the pain that patches and pins inflict on the bag to which they’re attached.
In layperson's terms, an ita bag is a purse or backpack with a built-in pin window.
We dig how this creative soul inserted a blue felt backing to make her pins pop. Great idea!
Set your own trend with a pin you designYou have your own style. It’s surprisingly easy and affordable to design and produce a custom pin that reflects it.
Then, you can give your pin masterpiece away to friends. Or even start your own side hustle selling them to support your pin habit.