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How to wear a lapel flower or boutonniere

Posted by Rishi Chullani on

Ryan MacMorris

The Dark Knot carries an extensive range of hand made silk ties, pocket squares & lapel flowers. Our core philosophy is geared towards helping gentlemen dress better. Hence, each of our products come elegantly packaged in a black gift box with recommendations for matching attire.

What if we could have an accessory that instantly added flair to our suits?  Something that is easy to slip on, yet would leave us almost peerless when dressed up formally? Welcome to the Lapel Flower / Boutonniere.

Red Lapel Flower

Courtesy of

Sometimes wearing the same old tie and suit combinations can get rather monotonous and dry. Of course this is what fashion is all about, an endeavor of self expression and change constructed with a few different pieces of cloth.

Whether you ascribe to that definition or just don’t want to be the least fashionable guy at the party there is always a reason to dress well. Talking about fashion with flowery words may not make you the most popular guy at whatever event you are at, but there is something that can set you aside from most and it is in fact a flower.

Bravo if you saw that coming, but for everyone else don’t get turned off too quickly, the boutonniere or lapel flower can make an otherwise average or even boring outfit really stand out.

The trick is to wear the right sort of lapel flower for the right occasion. If you aren’t an amateur florist already though you are in luck, there are a few rules to remember to help you navigate the confusing world of fashion related botany. 

With that said, here is our guide on how to wear a lapel flower or boutonniere.

Where to Wear a Lapel Flower or Boutonniere

The most important part of wearing a boutonniere or lapel flower is making sure it is appropriate. This overlaps slightly with the next section concerning the type of flower you should wear, but nevertheless deserves its own amount of thought.

Lapel flowers are appropriate for a number of different occasions, but do really belong in more formal situations. Formal events that are taking place outside or have their own flowers or color schemes are often the times when lapel flowers are most appropriate.

Lapel Flower with Business Suit

Courtesy of

However, it is important to keep the idea that flowers were a short time ago living things. This means that extreme heat or cold will make them wilt a lot quicker than usual.

If your event is taking place on the hottest day of the year and goes on for a few hours you may want to steer clear of floral accessories. Other events, which may be indoors, like weddings and holiday parties make great excuses for the wearing of a lapel flower.

Lapel Flower Differences between Fabric and Flower

As mentioned above, extreme weather conditions or just the passage of time can make wearing a lapel flower an arduous task, as flowers are prone to wilting.  Plus, wearing the same flower more than once becomes increasingly more difficult with the passage of time.  To combat this, The Dark Knot has created an extensive line of fabric lapel flowers across a wide range of colors and sizes (for different lapel widths), that can be viewed here.

Please note that similar rules regarding where they can be worn and how they should be worn also apply to the case of these fabric based lapel flowers.

What type of Lapel Flower to wear

The type of lapel flower that you wear and the color of the flower are very connected to the message you want to send. Just like different colored ties mean different things, different flowers and colors mean different things to different people.

Flowers like a rose are generally safe as they are a well accepted, even romantic flower.

Rose Lapel Flower

Courtesy of

Other flowers like the poppy have sadder connotations associated with war and should only be worn on days of remembrance.

Poppy Lapel Flower

Courtesy of

Carnations and lilies on the other hand are flowers that are joyful, typical for things like dances or weddings.

Carnation lapel flowers

Courtesy of

The cultural connotations of the flower you are planning to wear should be known before you go to your event in order to make sure you don’t offend or upset anyone. You can either do your own research to figure out the flower that best suits the event or if you are going to a florist simply ask them and they should be able to help you.

Beside the flower faux pas that you can make if you don’t know the different cultural implications of your flower you can also go wrong with the flower in other ways. If you are looking to play things safe then white is most likely the easiest color to go with as you will probably have white elsewhere in your outfit so it will help to bring your outfit together while at the same time making you stand out.

For those looking to stand out more on their own treat your boutonniere or lapel flower like you would a pocket square. Let your lapel flower accent the other colors in your shirt, tie and suit, but don’t let it match your tie exactly.

Another safer option for you to wear a boutonniere without too much thought, is to wear one with a neutral outfit and a flower that follows the color scheme of the event.

How to wear a Lapel Flower or Boutonniere

The actual wearing of the lapel flower or boutonniere is the part that shouldn’t give you much trouble. Choosing the flower and what to wear with it is where you may run into some difficulty. Anyone with a lapel can wear a boutonniere or flower, but some may need to work harder at it than others.

Higher quality suit jackets will have an unused buttonhole on their left lapel with a small piece of cloth to hold a flower. If you have this you can simply situate the flower correctly in your buttonhole and push the stem down and it should hold well and stay in the perfect spot all day or night.

Wearing a Lapel Flower

Courtesy of men's style blog

Others may find that they have no buttonhole or no piece of cloth to keep the flower situated with. If this is the case you will need to get a pin with your flower or simply use a pin to keep it on your lapel. If you are getting the flower from a florist you may be able to get them to pin the flower and situate it correctly, if not you will need to know how to do so properly.

The flower should be pinned to wear your buttonhole otherwise would be, on your left lapel just below the notch. Use the pin or pins to puncture the suit fabric and not the flower, the flower should be snug so that it does not distract you throughout the day. Despite this being an option, pinning the lapel to your suit fabric is highly advised against, as it can alter the delicate nature of the suits threads.

The key to effortlessly pulling off the lapel flower or boutonniere is your ability to think of it only when you are first putting together your outfit and then not again until you start receiving compliments for it.

And that's a wrap for this one!  What are your favorite type of Lapel Flowers and what type of occasion or setting do you typically wear them for? We would love to hear your comments below!

Please feel free to check out The Dark Knot's entire range of lapel flowers here.

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