How to Pin a Boutonniere: Master the Art in 2023

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boutonniere how to pin

What is a boutonniere and how is it traditionally worn?

A boutonniere is a small floral arrangement typically worn by men on the lapel of a suit or tuxedo jacket. It serves as a decorative accessory that adds a touch of elegance and personal style to formal attire. Traditionally, boutonnieres are worn on special occasions such as weddings, proms, or other formal events.

The placement of the boutonniere on the lapel is important for achieving a polished and sophisticated look. It should be positioned slightly above the buttonhole on the left lapel, aligning with the top edge of the buttonhole. This placement ensures that the boutonniere remains visible while not interfering with the natural drape of the jacket.

Traditionally Worn

  • The boutonniere should be placed on the left lapel, aligning with the top edge of the buttonhole.
  • It should be positioned slightly above the buttonhole to ensure visibility without interfering with jacket drape.
  • Boutonnieres are typically worn for special occasions such as weddings, proms, or formal events.

Why is it important to know how to properly pin a boutonniere?

Pinning a boutonniere may seem like a simple task, but knowing how to do it properly is essential for several reasons. Firstly, a well-pinned boutonniere adds an elegant and sophisticated touch to any suit or tuxedo. It enhances the overall appearance and style of the wearer, making them stand out in a crowd. Secondly, a properly pinned boutonniere ensures that the flower or decorative piece stays securely in place throughout the day or event. This prevents any embarrassing mishaps or accidents where the boutonniere falls off or becomes disheveled.

Additionally, knowing how to pin a boutonniere correctly shows respect and attention to detail. It demonstrates that you have taken the time and effort to learn proper etiquette and are knowledgeable about formalwear traditions. Whether you are attending a wedding, prom, or any other special occasion, being able to confidently pin a boutonniere will leave a lasting impression on others.

What are the essential materials needed to pin a boutonniere?

To successfully pin a boutonniere onto a suit lapel, you will need several key materials:


  • Use small straight pins with flat heads for easy insertion and minimal damage to fabric.
  • Avoid using safety pins as they can be bulky and may not provide enough support.


  • Select fresh flowers or decorative pieces that complement your outfit.
  • Ensure that the stem of the boutonniere is trimmed to an appropriate length for easy attachment.

Tape (optional):

  • If the boutonniere is particularly delicate or has a weak stem, you may use floral tape to reinforce and secure it before pinning.
  • Floral tape can also help prevent any potential damage to the lapel fabric.

Having these essential materials readily available will make the process of pinning a boutonniere much smoother and ensure a successful outcome.

Step-by-step instructions on how to pin a boutonniere onto a suit lapel

Gather the necessary materials

To pin a boutonniere onto a suit lapel, you will need a fresh boutonniere, a small pin or corsage pin, and a suit jacket with a lapel. Make sure the boutonniere is properly prepared by removing any excess leaves or thorns.

Locate the ideal placement

Before pinning the boutonniere, determine the ideal placement on the lapel. Typically, it should be positioned slightly above the buttonhole and towards the left side of the jacket. This placement ensures that it is visible and adds an elegant touch to your attire.

Securely attach the boutonniere

Take the pin and insert it through the back of the lapel, going diagonally towards the front. Carefully slide it through the stem of the boutonniere, ensuring that it goes through all layers without damaging any delicate petals. Once inserted, secure the pin by pushing it back into the fabric of the lapel.

Techniques and tips for ensuring the boutonniere stays securely in place throughout the day

Once you have pinned your boutonniere onto your suit lapel, there are several techniques and tips you can follow to ensure it stays securely in place throughout your event:

Use an additional pin for added security

If you want extra assurance that your boutonniere won’t come loose during your event, consider using an additional pin. Insert this second pin parallel to the first one but in an opposite direction. This technique provides extra stability and prevents any accidental movement.

Avoid excessive handling

Try not to touch or adjust the boutonniere too frequently throughout the day. Excessive handling can cause the pin to loosen or damage delicate petals. If you need to adjust it, use gentle movements and avoid pulling or tugging on the boutonniere.

Consider using floral adhesive

If you’re concerned about the boutonniere staying in place, especially if you’ll be engaging in activities that may cause movement, you can use floral adhesive. Apply a small amount to the back of the boutonniere before pinning it onto your lapel. This adhesive will provide an extra layer of security and help keep the boutonniere intact.

Common mistakes people make when pinning a boutonniere and how to avoid them

Pinning a boutonniere may seem like a simple task, but there are common mistakes that people often make. By being aware of these mistakes, you can avoid them and ensure your boutonniere looks flawless:

Using a dull or oversized pin

Using a dull or oversized pin can damage the fabric of your lapel or even poke through it entirely. To avoid this mistake, always use a sharp corsage pin that is appropriate for the thickness of your lapel fabric.

Pinning too tightly

Pinning a boutonniere too tightly can crush delicate flowers and prevent them from opening up fully. It’s important to secure the boutonniere firmly enough so that it stays in place but not so tight that it damages the flowers.

Incorrect placement

Placing the boutonniere too low or off-center can throw off your entire look. Always aim for slightly above the buttonhole and towards the left side of your jacket when positioning your boutonniere.

Different methods for pinning a boutonniere depending on fabric or lapel type

The method you use to pin a boutonniere may vary depending on the fabric or lapel type of your suit. Here are some different methods to consider:

For thin lapels or delicate fabrics

If you have a suit with thin lapels or delicate fabrics, it’s best to use a smaller pin. Opt for a corsage pin with a shorter stem to avoid damaging the fabric. Insert the pin through the back of the lapel and secure it tightly without applying excessive pressure.

For thicker lapels or textured fabrics

Thicker lapels or textured fabrics can accommodate larger pins. In this case, you can use a longer corsage pin to ensure it securely holds the boutonniere in place. Insert the pin diagonally through the back of the lapel and make sure it goes through all layers for maximum stability.

Handling delicate flowers or intricate boutonnieres when pinning them

When dealing with delicate flowers or intricate boutonnieres, extra care must be taken during the pinning process to prevent any damage. Here are some tips for handling these types of boutonnieres:

Support fragile petals

If your boutonniere has fragile petals, gently cup them in your hand while inserting the pin through the stem and lapel. This will help protect them from getting crushed or bent during the process.

Avoid touching intricate details

Intricate boutonnieres often have small details like beads, ribbons, or feathers. Avoid touching these delicate elements directly when inserting the pin. Instead, focus on securing the stem and let these details naturally fall into place.

Appropriateness of wearing a boutonniere for different occasions

While boutonnieres are commonly associated with formal events like weddings or proms, they can also be worn for various other occasions. Here’s a breakdown of the appropriateness of wearing a boutonniere for different events:


Boutonnieres are a traditional accessory for grooms and groomsmen at weddings. They add a touch of elegance and coordinate with the overall wedding theme.

Proms and formal dances

For proms or other formal dances, wearing a boutonniere is customary for both young men and their dates. It adds a sophisticated touch to their attire and complements corsages worn by their partners.

Cocktail parties or galas

Attending a cocktail party or gala? Wearing a boutonniere can elevate your look and show attention to detail. Opt for more subtle designs that complement your outfit without overpowering it.

Alternative ways to attach a boutonniere if pins are not preferred

If you prefer not to use pins, there are alternative methods to attach a boutonniere while still ensuring it stays in place:

Magnetic attachments

Magnetic attachments provide an easy and secure way to attach a boutonniere without using pins. These small magnets have one side attached to the back of the lapel and the other embedded within the boutonniere stem, creating an invisible bond.

Boutonniere clips

Boutonniere clips are another option that eliminates the need for pins. These clips have teeth-like structures that securely grip onto the lapel fabric, keeping the boutonniere in place throughout the day.

Ribbon ties

For more casual events or rustic-themed weddings, ribbon ties can be used to attach a boutonniere. Simply tie a small ribbon around the lapel and secure it tightly, then thread the boutonniere stem through the ribbon loop.

By following these step-by-step instructions, techniques, and tips, you can confidently pin a boutonniere onto your suit lapel, ensuring it stays securely in place throughout the day. Additionally, understanding common mistakes to avoid, different methods for pinning based on fabric or lapel type, and alternative attachment options allows for versatility and adaptability when wearing a boutonniere.

In conclusion, learning how to properly pin a boutonniere is a simple yet essential skill that can elevate any formal attire. By following the correct technique, one can ensure that the boutonniere stays securely in place throughout the event, adding an elegant touch to any outfit.

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