How to Put On a Boutonniere on a Shirt or Jacket

how to put on a Boutonniere

Written by Ben Chuang

The boutonniere, a stylish floral accessory, has long been associated with formal occasions. When adorned on the lapel, it adds a touch of elegance to one's ensemble. The tradition of wearing boutonnieres has been shaped by events such as weddings and formal visits, where the careful art of pinning this small yet impactful adornment helps elevate a button-up dress shirt.

Whether worn by the groom on his wedding day or as a distinguished touch during a formal visit, the boutonniere, through its precise pinning on the lapel, serves as a symbol of sophistication and refined style.

Embarking on the journey of enhancing your fashion prowess, we'll explore the intricacies of boutonniere placement, from selecting the perfect bloom to the meticulous art of securing it with finesse. As we unravel the nuances of this classic accessory, you'll discover that donning a boutonniere is not just about wearing a flower—it's about embracing a tradition that exudes grace, style, and a timeless sense of sophistication.

Whether you're a seasoned fashion enthusiast or a newcomer to the world of sartorial elegance, our step-by-step guide will empower you to effortlessly incorporate this elegant touch into your wardrobe, leaving an indelible mark on every outfit you wear.

pinning on a Boutonniere

A Brief History of the Boutonniere

The history of the boutonniere dates back centuries and is steeped in tradition, evolving from a practical purpose to a stylish accessory. The term "boutonniere" is derived from French, meaning "button hole", and historically, it referred to a small floral decoration worn in the buttonhole of a gentleman's suit jacket.

During the medieval period, flower boutonnieres served a functional role as a fragrant accessory. In an era when personal hygiene was not as advanced, flowers were worn to combat unpleasant odors. These fragrant blooms, often herbs or small flowers, were placed on the lapel to ward off unwanted smells.

The boutonniere gained significant popularity during the Victorian era, particularly under the services of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Queen Victoria's fondness for fresh flowers and her marriage to Prince Albert in 1840 helped develop a pivotal role in the tradition of pinning boutonnieres. The royal couple's wedding, marked by Queen Victoria's bouquet of myrtle and Prince Albert's boutonniere, set a trend that transcended into Victorian society.

history of the Boutonniere

In the early 20th century, the boutonniere became a customary element in men's formalwear, particularly for events like weddings and the opera. The choice of flowers became more diverse, ranging from classic carnations to more personalized selections based on the groom, individual preferences or cultural significance.

Today, the boutonniere continues to be a cherished tradition in formal fashion. While its practical origins have diminished, the boutonniere remains a timeless and symbolic accessory, adding a touch of sophistication and personal style to a man's lapel on their wedding day and other special occasions. Whether worn for tradition, symbolism, or aesthetics, the boutonniere stands as a testament to the enduring charm of classic men's fashion.

How to Pin a Boutonniere on a Jacket

pinning a Boutonniere on jacket

Pinning a boutonniere on a jacket is a delicate process that requires attention to detail to achieve a polished and secure look. Follow these steps to properly pin a boutonniere on a jacket lapel:

Hold the Boutonniere Properly:

Begin by holding the boutonniere at the base of the flower stem first, just below the thickest part of the blooms. Confirm that the flowers are facing upward, and position the boutonniere on the left lapel of the jacket.

Locate the Buttonhole:

Identify the buttonhole on the left lapel of the jacket. The boutonniere should align with this buttonhole for a balanced appearance.

Insert the Pin from the Underside:

With your free hand, lift the lapel slightly and insert the pin from the back of the lapel, pushing it through the fabric and emerging on the top side. Be cautious not to poke yourself or damage the boutonniere.

Guide the Pin Through the Stem:

guide the pin through the stem of the boutonniere

Gently guide the pin through the boutonniere stem, making sure it passes through the thicker part of the stem to provide stability. Be careful not to crush or damage the flower stem or foliage.

Secure the Pin on the Back:

Once the pin has passed through the stem, carefully flip the lapel and locate the point where the pin emerges on the back. Secure the pin by catching both the fabric of the lapel and the stem of the boutonniere. This ensures a stable attachment.

Adjust for Balance:

After securing the pin, adjust the boutonniere to ensure it sits flat against the back of the lapel. Check that the flower faces upward and slightly angles towards the shoulder for an aesthetically pleasing arrangement.

Confirm Security:

confirm security of the boutonniere

Gently tug on the boutonniere to ensure it is securely fastened. Make any necessary adjustments to the pin or positioning to achieve a neat and stable attachment. Secure the back of the lapel with a second pin if in doubt.

By following these steps, you can successfully pin a boutonniere on a jacket, enhancing the elegance of your formalwear for a Broadway show, a gala, or your wedding day.

how to pin a Boutonniere helpful guide infographic

How to Pin a Boutonniere on a Shirt

Pinning a boutonniere on a dress shirt is a simple yet elegant process that enhances your attire, especially when a jacket is not part of the ensemble. Follow these steps:

Hold the Boutonniere Correctly:

Hold the boutonniere just below the thickest part of the blooms, ensuring the flowers face upward. Place it on the left side of your shirt, slightly below the left shoulder.

Choose a Secure Location:

position the boutonniere correctly

Select a stable spot on the shirt for pinning, typically on the left side and aligned with the chest area. Avoid extremes, such as too close to the center or too far to the left side.

Insert the Pin from the Underside:

Lift a small section of the shirt fabric and insert the pin from underneath, emerging on the top side. Be cautious not to poke yourself or damage the boutonniere.

Guide the Pin Through the Stem:

Carefully guide the pin through the stem, ensuring it passes through the thicker part for stability. Avoid crushing the flowers or foliage.

Secure the Pin on the Back:

Secure the pin by catching both the fabric of the shirt and the boutonniere stem. Add a second pin for a snug fit to prevent drooping or rotation.

Adjust for Position:

confirm boutonniere position

After securing the pin, adjust the boutonniere to sit flat against the shirt. Confirm the flower faces upward, slightly angled towards the shoulder.

Confirm Security:

Gently tug on the boutonniere to ensure a secure fit. Make any necessary adjustments for a polished and stable attachment.

Following these steps will help you successfully pin a boutonniere on a button-up dress shirt, adding sophistication to your formalwear for weddings, proms, or any special occasion where a jacket is not worn.

Frequently asked questions about how to put on a boutonniere

How do you attach a boutonniere?

To attach a boutonniere, start by placing it on the left lapel of the suit jacket, aligning the stem with the buttonhole. Hold the boutonniere in place with your left hand and use your right hand to insert the pin from the underside of the boutonniere carefully through the back of the lapel, through the fabric, and then back through the stem. Ensure the pin is securely fastened, and the boutonniere sits flat against the lapel for a polished look. It may help to consult YouTube for a more hands-on tutorial.

What is the etiquette for a boutonniere?

Boutonniere etiquette involves wearing this small floral accessory on formal occasions such as weddings, proms, or other special events as a sign of respect. Traditionally, it is worn on the left lapel of a suit jacket. The choice of boutonniere style and flower often complements the event's theme or color scheme. It's customary for the groom, groomsmen, and close family members to wear boutonnieres. Additionally, when presenting a boutonniere, it is polite to do so with the pin attached for the wearer's convenience.

What side does the flower go on a boutonniere?

The flower on a boutonniere is conventionally worn on the left side of the lapel. This tradition is rooted in historical customs, and the left lapel is considered the standard placement for boutonnieres. It aligns with the wearer's heart and adds a harmonious and balanced aesthetic to the overall look. When learning how to pin boutonniere, ensure the flower faces upward and slightly angles towards the wearer's shoulder for a visually pleasing arrangement.

How many pins are in a boutonniere?

A boutonniere typically requires one pin for secure attachment. The pin is inserted through the fabric of the suit jacket, securing the stem of the boutonniere in place. It's essential to fasten the pin carefully to avoid any mishaps during the event. While one pin is standard, some individuals may opt for two pins for added stability, especially if the boutonniere is larger or heavier. However, one well-placed pin is generally sufficient for most boutonnieres.