Size 4 and larger may be called "blanket pins" and deemed acceptable as kilt pins for informal dress, depending upon design and appearance.
The fibula, a form of brooch, was invented by the Myceaneans on the Greek Peloponnesus between the 14th and 13th Century BC, and is considered an early precursor to a safety pin since they were used in a similar manner.
After the 2016 UK Brexit vote and again after the 2016 U. presidential election, safety pins were worn as a symbol of solidarity with minorities, refugees, immigrants and others in the lead up to the vote.
Brooches, pins, and fibulas can be defined within two overlapping categories of dress, as both functional and decorative items.
In the early 2000s, while the word "brooch" could be used synonymously with "pin" as jewelry, pins were more commonly understood to be small, sharp, metal-wire fasteners called "straight pins" and used in sewing and tailoring processes, unless modified by a descriptive prefix such as in "hatpin." A pin is broadly defined as a straight, cylindrical piece of metal with a sharp point on one end and a blunt head on the other, used for fastening by piercing a piece of fabric twice.
Throughout history and around the world, in their most simple shape and function, pins have been made in various sizes and from such diverse materials as bone, thorns, bronze, iron, brass, silver, and gold.
The heads of larger, specialized pins used as elements of dress, such as hatpins, tiepins, and hairpins, have been elaborately decorated with gemstones and other jewelry techniques to create designs appropriate to their period.
For example, long and elaborate hatpins secured European and American women's hats to their hair in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and in the Victorian period through the 1930s.
The common element among all three is the more general fastening function of the pin.
Historically, these fasteners did not have gendered associations, but in contemporary usage women wear brooches as purely decorative pieces of jewelry.
Combining materials such as glass, beading, gemstones, pearls, or various metals, these hatpins may be described as small, precious sculptures.
In contrast, smaller straight pins with a flat head have been important as fasteners for women's dress.
British punk fans, after seeing the clothing worn by such punk forerunners, then incorporated safety pins into their own wardrobe as clothing decoration or as piercings, shifting the purpose of the pins from practicality to fashion.