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Do You Know How to Wear a Boutonniere?

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If you think adorning your clothes with flowers is only for women, think again. Over the ages, poets, warriors and statesmen all wore flowers on their lapels. While it is still appropriate for men to wear flowers in today’s world, it’s important to know which occasions call for flowers and how to wear those blooms properly .

Most men will wear flowers on their suit lapels on rare occasions during a lifetime. How unfortunate! A stylish boutonniere adds panache to a man's appearance and serves as an indicator of his high confidence levels. It symbolises the fragility and fleeting nature of life as well as the beauty of nature and of love undefined, all expressed in a single, simple bloom.

How to Wear a Boutonniere

The boutonniere is worn on the left lapel of men's suits, sports jackets or blazers; it can also be worn on overcoats. It is always attached above a man's heart and should be worn either on the lapel side or in the lapel's buttonhole.


Most high-end suits have functional lapel buttonholes, feature a latch, and are well manufactured to support the flower.

To accommodate a flower, a jacket must have:

  • a strong hand sewn inner lining
  • a cut, functional buttonhole
  • a silk latch sewn 1-2 inches beneath the lapel buttonhole

As these add to the cost of the jacket, most mass manufacturers do not provide this feature. If you have uncut holes or no buttonholes on your lapels, just pin the boutonniere to the lapel.

On the other hand, you could have the buttonhole cut; it takes about 20 minutes and usually costs around $15-$30. When choosing your boutonniere, chose a lightweight flower with a stem that is either professionally-prepared or looks simple and attractive.

When to Wear a Boutonniere

Formal events like weddings, anniversaries or nights at the opera or theatre are usually the only times most men wear a boutonniere these days. However, the rule for wearing a boutonniere is they can be worn on any occasion – and not just special ones.

In fact, the races is an excellent opportunity to wear a boutonniere, especially during Spring Carnival, as spring is when the flowers are blooming - and women are swooning - over men who know how to dress well,


All you need is the confidence to be different from the rest. However, men should not wear a boutonniere on those occasions where they don’t want to stand out from the crowd i.e. funerals or interviews being noteworthy instances.

Why Wear a Boutonniere?

  • Icebreaker: Boutonnieres are a great way to start a conversation. If someone asks why you are wearing one, you need to be confident about your reasons. When complimented, acknowledge it with thanks and resume the conversation unless your conversation partner continues to discuss the topic.
  • Possible Gift: Imagine you’ve just spent a wonderful evening with the love of your life. She says she has a surprise for you; you’re amazed when she presents you with a boutonniere. A boutonniere, as a gift, instantly becomes something unique and memorable. There are few things nicer than a sincere expression of love accompanied by a flower.
  • Attention to details: Wearing a boutonniere shows much the little things mean to you

How to Choose Boutonnieres

  • Boutonniere must fit the occasion. Simple white or red blooms are best suited for formal occasions, while more colourful, exotic flowers work well for less formal occasions.
  • Coordinate the boutonniere with your clothing.
  • When in doubt, a simple white bloom is a safe bet. A boutonniere can be worn with a pocket square or it can stand in for a pocket square as well.
  • Your flower selection should be predicated on how long you plan to wear it. After a few hours without water and in the heat, certain flowers could wither and die.

Types of Flowers

  • The Carnation Boutonniere: Simple, affordable and easy-to-find, these remain the most versatile and the easiest to pull off. White is always acceptable for formal occasions, with red being a close second. Miniature carnations or normal blooms that haven't opened fully are also good choices. Always wear fresh flowers as they may droop after a day's wear.
  • The Rose Boutonniere: Roses can be problematic since they are larger and should be free from imperfections. They are regarded as formal flowers that are suitable for weddings or anniversaries. Rose boutonnieres look best if prepared professionally, as they can be permanently tilted and even hydrated with a tiny water stop.

Other Flowers: Some other flowers that are excellent choices but may need to be special ordered are:

  • Lily of the Valley
  • Sweet William
  • Orchids
  • Hyacinth
  • Daisies
  • Lilacs
  • Gardenia

Statice is a filler flower with an average of 5-8 tiny blooms clustered together. However, its lavender colour and long-lasting life can be great when you don't want to spend much in terms of either time or money in obtaining a flower.

Flowers have meanings that can change with cultures. For example, carnations are the national flower of Spain, denote respect in Korea, and are commonly worn on boutonnieres in Australia and the United States. However, in France, they are funeral flowers and deemed unlucky if worn at occasions other than funerals.

Flowers and Masculinity

While some men might dismiss boutonnieres as feminine, they could discover they are misguided and mistaken. Over the past millennium, poets, warriors and statesmen all indulged in wearing flowers on their lapels. Soldiers headed for war wore roses on their uniforms. Further, flowers are traditionally used for a myriad of celebrations, whether for days of victories in sporting events or memorial days commemorating our fallen soldiers or heroes.

Wear Your Boutonniere Proudly

  • Wear it with confidence and because you want to.
  • Pay attention to proportion and wear small flowers if you have a small build or larger ones if you have a larger build.
  • Never upstage the ladies by wearing something unwieldy – stick to a single flower or a small collection of tiny blooms.

Now that you know how to select the perfect boutonniere and how to wear it with style, it might be time to update your wardrobe with a new custom made men’s suit. You’ll find hundreds of fashionable styles and fabric options when you visit our Sydney showroom.

Image Credits © Saiva | Dreamstime.com © Oleg Bashkir | Dreamstime.com © Elitravo | Dreamstime.com


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