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What Is a Lapel Pin and How to Wear One Properly

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Section: Formalwear and Accessories - Blog

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Contrary to popular belief, the lapel pin is not an accessory exclusive to wedding attendees and University Alumni. This most vintage of additions to the modern suit is a perfect way to add a very personal touch to your outfit.

With Sydney Spring Racing Carnival in full swing, we thought we’d give you a heads up on how to add this flourish to your race day attire.

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What is a lapel pin?

Before we go any further let’s take a look at what this little style addition actually is and what it means. The lapel pin is always worn on your left lapel (right side as we are looking at it) and is quite often a mark of affiliation to a club, school, or society. It can take any shape or size and has a few different styles.

Boutonniere/Fresh Flower

This is, without a doubt, the most common style, and the one you will surely see in abundance at the races and of course at weddings. This style was the first addition to men’s lapels in bygone days when fresh flowers were par for the course.

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How to wear it – The stem is placed through the buttonhole on your lapel and angled slightly so it is running parallel to the edge of your lapel. The trick here is to secure it with a pin at the back so the weight of the flower head doesn’t allow the whole thing to hang lopsided.

The pin should go through the thickest part of the stem and the back of your lapel. But don’t allow the pin to go right through as you don’t want to see any metal showing on the front. Custom made suits will often have a small loop at the back for this purpose.

Synthetic Flower

Fresh flowers aren’t always at hand and in certain cases not all that convenient, think allergies and hay fever, and you’ll get our point. In this instance a synthetic floral lapel pin is ideal.

Often smaller than its genuine counterpart, the floral lapel pin is for less formal occasions such as your day at the races. It comes in every colour of the rainbow so is perfect for adding that flourish you so desperately want.

How to wear it – Take care not to go overboard with this lapel pin. It’s all too easy to choose something that is either too colourful or looks like something a clown would wear.

As with all of our style tips, we suggest that you try to keep things understated. Make sure the size is in proportion with your suit and try not to contrast your colours too much. Matching your floral lapel pin with one other element of your look (say the stripes on your tie) is a safe bet.

Enamel pin

Also known as the badge, this lapel pin is usually small in size. The reason being the wearer doesn’t want it to look too much like he’s wearing one of mum’s brooches.

While there are plenty of novelty pins out there (which you should, of course, avoid) the usual enamel pin is actually a less personal choice than the floral efforts. These badges often signify the wearer’s involvement in a political movement, charity campaign, or his affiliation with a club or society.

How to wear it – There are no rules that we can apply to this type of badge as your club or society will decide upon the size and colour of your pin. Your only choice is whether to wear it or not. They can, however, be a good icebreaker and are an excellent way to identify like-minded souls.

So if you quite like your university pin, then go ahead and wear it. If however, you prefer a more personal appearance, then we suggest a synthetic floral lapel pin for your day at the races. It will last longer than a fresh flower, and you’re less likely to induce sneezing fits while in confined spaces.

Enjoy the races and watch out for our guide on derby day attire coming soon. However, if you are in the market for a new derby day garment, call or stop by our Sydney showroom and make an appointment for a personal styling consultant. We'll have you looking damn good on derby day!  

Image Credits: © Andriy Oleksienko | Dreamstime.com © Scott Jones | Dreamstime.com © Liquidphoto | Dreamstime.com

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