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How to Wear A Lapel Flower

Four men's outfits with small lapel flowers

Green lapel flower on linen jackerLapel flowers aren’t just for proms and weddings anymore, and a man doesn’t need a special occasion to wear one.  The lapel flower, or boutonniere as it’s also known, has a long and storied history dating back to ancient times. Lapel flowers have been used to indicate everything from wealth to military affiliation.  In today’s world, men are more likely to wear one to add that extra detail to an ensemble. But as with everything in life, it must be done right!

General Lapel Flower Rules

What Side Lapel Should The Flower Be Worn?

Quite simply, it should be worn on the jacket’s left lapel.

Two jackets with lapel flowers on correct side

The flower always goes on the left lapel of a jacket.

On most jackets there is a button hole, or at least a stitched button hole outline. If there is not, you can still use pin(s) to attach a man-made or real flower to your jacket (this is common for tuxedo jackets and sports coats).

Jackets showing three lapel button hole options

Real button hole, stitched outline, and none.

Why The Left Lapel?

There’s no definitive answer as to why the left lapel is appropriate, but it has become an accepted element within sartorial lore. Many believe it is because the heart is on the left side of the body, which is quite a romantic notion.

How To Apply / Wear A Lapel Flower

Dapper Lapel exclusively sells hand-made lapel flowers, so we’ll address those (for a real flower boutonniere the principals are relatively similar, depending on the stem size and jacket’s lapel button hole).

There are two ways to wear a lapel flower pin: with the pin showing or concealed. Either way, please be careful of the pin’s sharp tip, especially with more robust fabrics such as tweed!

Pin On The Back Side Of The Lapel

Lapel flower with just bud showing


This is the more conservative way to wear a lapel flower. It may also be preferable for certain types of fabric, as the pin can irreversibly damage some fabrics, and leave noticeable pin holes. It’s always best to check the pin’s effect on a non-showing piece of the jackets fabric, before you apply it to the lapel itself.

Pin Showing On The Front Of The Lapel

Man wearing lapel flower with pin shpwing

Having the lapel flower’s pin showing through the lapel adds a little more pop (and remember to match the metal color to your other accessories, such as your watch and belt buckle).

Lapel Flower Style Tips

Lapel flowers come in all different shapes, sizes, colors and materials to suit any eye and occasion.  There is something out there for everyone, but the main thing to be concerned with when wearing your chosen design is to wear it with the utmost confidence!

Correct Lapel Flower Size

We would suggest keeping the size of your chosen lapel flower in proportion to the rest of your outfit. If in doubt, favor smaller ones. If you wear one that engulfs your lapel it will look clownish, detracting from your overall style and drawing attention away from your face (which by the way is the entire intention of the jackets “V”, drawing the eye upward to the face and promoting a masculine v-shaped physique).

Four men's outfits with small lapel flowers

Small lapel flower looks

Medium lapel flowers for weddings

Medium sized lapel flower looks

Three suit jackets with large lapel flowers on

Large lapel flower looks

[Dapper Lapel, grades their lapel flower in three categories: Small  |  Medium  |  Large]

 Selecting The Right Lapel Flower Color

Colorful lapel flowers

As with selecting the right size for your lapel flower, its color should be in keeping with the rest of your outfit (and, perhaps more importantly, occasion).  Use a color wheel to select complementary colors (ones directly across, or beside your main color). If in doubt, go with something neutral, like off white.  The use of a lapel flower should add to the overall elegance of your ensemble, not add a shock factor!


When To Wear A Lapel Flower

Whenever you like! 

As stated above, many men will wear a lapel flower to proms and weddings, but they are much more versatile than that. It can be worn down, and not even be attached to a jacket’s lapel! Several of our clients like to wear them attached to their sweaters or waistcoats. We would recommend starting in more formal gatherings and dates, then introduce them into your work outfits as you become more confident.  As for the clothes you should wear it with, one of the best things to do is look at what other guys are doing and copy it! For example search Instagram or Pinterest for #LapelFlower and get some inspiration, or even check out my Instagram @BespokeUnit.

Please let us know if you have any questions in the comments section below, and here are a few last looks for your enjoyment….

Six best lapel flower street style looks

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44 thoughts on “How to Wear A Lapel Flower

  1. This was a great help. He done nice job. Showing the right color for the lapel a great help. I thank you very much sincerely Betty

  2. Hi, is it appropriate to wear a white lapel flower to a wedding? (Not my wedding) Or should I just go with a different color to be safe?

    • Hi David, great question! We don’t see a problem with wearing white to a wedding especially if it’s a black tie wedding. If it’s a little more casual we would suggest sticking to a different color and looking at what colors are on the invite so you don’t match the groomsmen.

    • You can do either! Its great to complement the other colors you’re wearing. So this means that you can either wear all the same color, for instance a tie with pinks, pink lapel pin and a pocket square with pink can all work together (you’ll just want to make sure the shades aren’t clashing). You can also wear colors that are complementary to the other colors you’re wearing. A purple tie can be worn with a green lapel pin or vice a versa. If you need any suggestions feel free to let us know or send an email to contact@dapperlapel.com! We’d be happy to help you coordinate!

  3. What’s the proper way to wear a lapel clip? I ordered pocket squares from Jos.A. Bank and it came with lapel clips not pins. The clip is exposed. Not real thrilled with that. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Michael, We have been trying to come up with a good way to wear this, as to be honest, we’ve never seen one designed this way! I’m picturing almost a lapel mic clip? I would imagine that if you have a functional button hole, you would clip the back through the hole so the flower is outwards. If you don’t have a functional hole, I think the only way to wear it is having the clip coming in from the left side. Would you send an image to us at contact@dapperlapel.com? We would love to see it and how you ended up styling it! All of our lapel flowers come on a pin and we’ve even started to experiment with strong magnets for people who are afraid the pin may damage the suit jacket.

  4. Is there a thumb rule on the exact positioning of the lapel pin?
    Can I pin it below the hole on the left side to fit it somewhere below the hole?

    • Great question! We recommend positioning the pin so the flower head lines up (and would then block) the button hole. The button hole is a good spot to put the pin through regardless of it being functional as you can’t notice damage in that area. Depending on the fabric and length of wear, a pin hole beneath can start to show (we don’t recommend storing the pin on the jacket when you’re not wearing it). The button hole was originally designed for real flowers to slide through and have a supported position. That’s not to say it’s not allowed or can’t be done, many jackets don’t even have a button hole and some people choose to wear the pins lower to make space for a second pin or for other stylistic reasons. Let us know what you decide to do, we’d love to see pictures!

    • Definitely! A lapel flower can be worn with other accessories or stand alone! It can take a more casual look to the next level (think jacket, no tie, top button undone and a dashing lapel flower!) ps. Use code Holiday2016 for 20% off and free domestic shipping on all of our items!

  5. I’ve seen some gentlemen wearing the lapel pin on the opposite side of the pocket square. I think it balances out the look. What say ye?

    • Hi Aaron, while it does balance the look, there is a reason the left lapel has a button hole (plus you don’t have to worry about accidentally ruining fabrics by pinning through the thread). This is where Prince Albert wore his fresh flowers when he married Queen Victoria, which then started the trend of wearing flowers and pins on the lapel. The pins on the left create a framing look that brings peoples eyes upwards to your face. Wearing a lapel pin on the right lapel is technically breaking the fashion rules (but we always say you should know the rules first before you break them!) and creates the balanced look as you describe, yet can create more of a circular or back and forth view between the pin and pocket square. Either way you decide to wear them comes down to personal preference, and at least you know the history!

  6. Hey Great article,

    Question im thinking of wearing an off white lapel flower with a checker ed blue blazer, white shirt, dark red wool tie and grey trousers.

    What do you think?> or should i go with the same colour lapel flower as the tie?

    Many thanks!

    • Hi Tom! This sounds like a fantastic look. The lapel flower will balance the blue and the red and help pull the grey up from your trousers. You can definitely still pair with the same color lapel flower as the tie – we recommend complementing accessories rather than matching. So as long as they aren’t exactly the same material, you’ll look great! We’d love to see pictures of the look – tag us on instagram (@dapperlapel) or email us!

  7. Hi
    I have a wedding coming up and I’m wearing a navy suit and white shirt. I’m not in the wedding party. I was wondering how to match my lapel pin to my pocket square and light red tie. What are your thoughts?

    • Hi Tony, What color pocket square are you wearing? You can pick a color that is in there for your lapel pin. You can also go with a classic white or cream pin that will look great with anything. If you have something or can find something in the same red family as the tie, you can create a cohesive look – we just don’t recommend the same fabric or patterns being used. Reds looks good with most colors, so you can play around with some purples or even orange. The orange will also nicely play against the navy suit you’re wearing since they are complementary colors. Hope this helps and feel free to let us know if you have any additional questions! You can always send a picture to us a contact@dapperlapel.com!

    • Hi Kelvin – This sounds like it would work well. We encourage people to try wearing the pins on different things whether on a waistcoat, shirt or even overcoat. We’d love to see the final outcome, you can share it with us on Instagram and tag @dapperlapel and #dapperlapel!

  8. Hi I’m having trouble selecting a Colour for my lapel pin to suit my navy checkered suit and white shirt and maroon red bow tie. Going for a classic British look. Thanks!

    • Great question – a maroon lapel pin would look nice against the navy paired with the maroon bow tie. A nice pink would also complement both colors. If you wanted to steer away from the maroon/pink color family – white is always a good color, or even a light blue (like our ice blue Emilia lapel flower). Let us know what you end up with or it you have any other questions!

      • Would a maroon pocket square with the maroon bow tie and lapel pin be too much of an overkill? If that’s the case is there any Colour you would recommend for my pocket square?

        • Not overkill at all! Sorry we didn’t see this sooner. All maroon would look great, you can look at adding patterns also. If you want to try adding some other color, a white square is classic or even a yellow or cream would complement well. We’d love to see the look when you put it together, feel free to tag us on instagram @dapperlapel or #dapperlapel!

  9. First, this was a great article. Loved it.

    I’m thinking about wearing a lapel on on my vest. What do you think about placement? Left side right about where the lapel would be, but maybe a bit lower, is what I was thinking. Any thoughts?

    • Thanks for your kind words about the article! Glad to hear you enjoyed it! As for wearing on a vest, we still recommend wearing it on the left side where one would traditionally wear a pin. You can wear it lower of course, we’ve seen some people wear them at the pocket or just above (if there is a pocket on the vest). We’d love to see the look when you put it together, feel free to tag us on instagram @dapperlapel or #dapperlapel!

  10. I have a question . What kind of lapel pins should be worn with a plaid jacket or jacket with pattern . I saw there are plain and pattern lapel pins available and how to match lapel pins /jacket/ tie/ pocket square.

    • You can play around with solid colors to complement one of the colors found in the jacket or within the pattern. You can also pull the color from the shirt, for instance if you’re wearing a pink shirt you can pull that into the lapel pin. If you choose to go with a patten make sure it’s dofferent enough from the jacket so as to not lose it (different size check/plaid). Let us know if you have any other questions!

  11. I have a medium blue suit (not navy or dark blue) and a golden tie.
    Any recommendations on what colors should my pocket squate and lapel pin should be?
    Your help would be greatly appretiated!

    • Hi Mason, something that ties in golds or yellow would be complementary, or even keeping it simple and utilizing whites with some different textures to play off of your shirt. Different shades of blue would also look great. If you wanted to go a little bolder you can experiment with other colors such as more orange side or corals and reds. Hope this helps and don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any other questions! We’d love to see what you come up with, you can share it on Instagram and tag @dapperlapel for feel free to email us at contact@dapperlapel.com! Happy styling!

  12. I’m thinking of wearing a navy suit with a blue tie white shirt. I have a red floral lapel and a red pocket square. would wearing these together look fine or is it to much to have all three and the lapel/pocket square to be the same color. (the pocket square also has a little blue in it).

  13. I’ve been sporting a boutinerre do years. I love it! At this time in retired, and spend time volunteering at a local hospital. I love the smiles and spot of joy. I carry lots of flowers and will hand the patients the one from my lapel. It makes them feel a bit more special. Perfect tradition!

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