Which Lapel Pin to Wear?

  Lapel pins have made a comeback in recent years. For decades they were only worn at life’s most formal events, but are now increasingly donned by dapper gents going about their daily business. This has brought complexity back into the art of wearing them, as the strict rules of formal events have been loosened, and the risk of looking amateurish and try-hard is all too high. Done right, however, the lapel pin is an excellent example of a detail that can give your outfit unforgettable flair.

This guide will give you the confidence to wear a lapel pin whenever you choose and to pull it off without looking silly. So let’s start with the basics.

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FORGET ABOUT THE PIN, WHAT’S A LAPEL?

Have a look at any suit jacket or blazer. Lapels are the folded flaps of fabric that run above the buttons and under the collar.

THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF LAPEL PINS

What is a lapel pin? The phrase is a catchall that applies to all lapel accessories and enhancements. There are several different types of lapel pin, which differ in terms of their size, fastening, and what they depict.

We’ve detailed some of the most common below:

BOUTONNIERES

The original accessory, a boutonniere is a real flower that sits in the buttonhole, adding an unmissable touch to your jacket. Usually used at weddings.

FLOWER OR FLORAL LAPEL PINS

These pins look like flowers but are made of soft materials like silk, linen, satin, or cotton. They are pinned like boutonnieres, but usually a bit smaller in size and with the advantage of being reusable.

STICK PINS

Stick pins are made of various metals (gold, silver, copper, etc). These pins are shaped like a long, thin needle that pops neatly into a metal fastener. Depending on the model, the fastener sits on the end or can slide up and down, giving you precise control over placement.

MINI PINS AND BADGES

These don’t have a stem and attach with a clasp (butterfly, rubber. or magnetic) that goes directly under the badge or pin. They’re most commonly made from soft (ridged) or hard (smooth) enamel. Know that whereas a pin is for style, a badge carries symbolic value and is often seen on politicians.

HOW TO WEAR LAPEL PINS?

There’s only one golden rule for lapel pins: To wear them approximately where the lapel buttonhole is or would be. That’s the upper part of the left lapel. Some double-breasted suits have these buttonholes on both lapels, but lapel pins should always go on the left-hand side. Lapel pins offer a lot of potential for daring experimentation but remember to keep this to the pin and not their placement. The pin itself, if showing, should run parallel to your lapel instead of straight up or across. This is particularly important for longer stems, where the wrong angle can ruin the effect. Below, the left side is correct.

The left side is correct since the pin runs parallel to the closed end of the lapel. The right side shows how you should not wear your lapel pin.

The pin and fastener can either poke back through the front of the lapel or remain hidden behind it. It’s a matter of preference, based on what you think and feel in terms of your chosen pin/jacket.

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