How to Put in a Boutonniere in 2023: Step by Step Guide

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how to put in a boutonniere

Proper Way to Attach a Boutonniere to a Suit Lapel

Attaching a boutonniere to a suit lapel is an important step in completing your formal look. The proper placement of the boutonniere can enhance your overall appearance and add a touch of elegance. To attach a boutonniere correctly, follow these steps:

Step 1: Prepare the Boutonniere

Before attaching the boutonniere, make sure it is properly prepared. Trim any excess leaves or thorns from the stem using sharp scissors or floral shears. This will ensure that the boutonniere looks neat and tidy.

Step 2: Positioning the Boutonniere

The boutonniere should be placed on the left lapel, just above the buttonhole. It should be positioned at a slight angle, with the top of the flower pointing towards your shoulder. This creates a visually pleasing arrangement and prevents the boutonniere from obstructing your face.

Step 3: Securing with Pins

To secure the boutonniere to your lapel, use small pins specifically designed for this purpose. Insert one pin through the back of the lapel, ensuring that it passes through both layers of fabric and holds the boutonniere firmly in place. Repeat this process with another pin for added security.

Note: Be careful when inserting pins to avoid pricking yourself or damaging your suit fabric. Take your time and handle them with care.

Placement of Boutonniere on Lapel for Formal Events

The placement of a boutonniere on a lapel can vary depending on personal preference and cultural traditions. However, for formal events, there are some general guidelines to follow:

Buttonhole Placement

The boutonniere should be positioned just above the buttonhole on the left lapel of your suit jacket. This placement ensures that the boutonniere is visible and adds a touch of elegance to your overall look.

Angle and Position

The boutonniere should be angled slightly towards your shoulder, with the top of the flower pointing upwards. This creates a visually pleasing arrangement and prevents the boutonniere from obstructing your face.


  • Ensure that the boutonniere is securely attached to your lapel so that it doesn’t come loose during the event.
  • Avoid placing the boutonniere too low or too high on your lapel, as this can throw off the balance of your outfit.
  • If you’re unsure about the proper placement, consult with a professional or ask for guidance from someone experienced in formal attire.

Common Types of Flowers Used for Boutonnieres

Boutonnieres are typically made using small flowers or floral accents that can be easily attached to a lapel. Some common types of flowers used for boutonnieres include:


Roses are one of the most popular choices for boutonnieres due to their classic beauty and availability in various colors. They symbolize love and are suitable for both formal and informal occasions.


Carnations are another common choice for boutonnieres. They come in a wide range of colors and have a long-lasting freshness, making them ideal for events that last throughout the day.


Orchids are elegant and exotic flowers that add a touch of sophistication to a boutonniere. They are often used for formal events such as weddings or black-tie affairs.

Other Options:

  • Lilies
  • Tulips
  • Sweet peas
  • Spray roses
  • Stephanotis

When choosing the type of flower for your boutonniere, consider the color scheme of your outfit, the theme of the event, and personal preferences. Consult with a florist to ensure you select the right flower for your needs.

Securing a Boutonniere Without Damaging the Suit Fabric

Securing a boutonniere without damaging the suit fabric is essential to maintain the integrity and appearance of your suit. Here are some techniques to secure a boutonniere without causing any damage:

Use Floral Adhesive

Floral adhesive is a specialized glue designed for attaching flowers to various surfaces, including fabric. Apply a small amount of floral adhesive to the back of the boutonniere stem and press it firmly onto the lapel. This method provides a secure hold without leaving any visible marks on the fabric.

Fabric-Friendly Pins

If you prefer using pins, opt for fabric-friendly pins specifically designed for attaching boutonnieres. These pins have rounded tips that minimize the risk of snagging or tearing delicate fabrics. Insert them through both layers of fabric in your lapel and secure them tightly without applying excessive force.


  • Test the adhesive or pins on a small, inconspicuous area of your suit fabric first to ensure it doesn’t cause any damage or leave residue.
  • Avoid using regular household glue or sharp pins, as they can damage the fabric and leave permanent marks.
  • If you’re unsure about securing the boutonniere yourself, seek assistance from a professional tailor or florist who has experience in attaching boutonnieres without damaging the fabric.

Alternative Options for Attaching a Boutonniere Without Pins

If you prefer not to use pins to attach a boutonniere, there are alternative options available that can provide a secure hold without causing any damage to your suit lapel:

Magnetic Backing

Some boutonnieres come with magnetic backings that allow them to be easily attached and removed from your lapel. The magnet is placed inside your suit jacket, while the boutonniere is secured on the outside using another magnet. This option eliminates the need for pins and prevents any potential damage to the fabric.

Elastic Bands

An elastic band can also be used to secure a boutonniere without using pins. The band is wrapped around the stem of the flower and then looped around your lapel buttonhole. This method provides a secure hold while allowing for easy removal at the end of the event.


  • Ensure that any alternative attachment methods are discreet and blend seamlessly with your outfit.
  • Consider testing these alternative options before the event to ensure they provide a secure hold throughout the day or evening.
  • If you’re unsure about which method to use, consult with a professional tailor or florist who can recommend the best option for your specific boutonniere and suit fabric.

Trimming the Stem of a Flower for a Boutonniere

Trimming the stem of a flower for a boutonniere is an important step to ensure that it fits properly on your lapel and remains secure throughout the event. Follow these steps to trim the stem of a flower:

Step 1: Measure and Mark

Hold the flower against your lapel at the desired angle and position. Use a pen or marker to mark where you want to trim the stem. Ensure that the marked length allows enough space for attaching the boutonniere securely without extending too far beyond your lapel.

Step 2: Cut at an Angle

Using sharp scissors or floral shears, cut the stem of the flower at an angle. This angled cut allows for better water absorption if you choose to place the boutonniere in water before wearing it.


  • Avoid cutting too much of the stem at once. It’s better to trim gradually until you achieve the desired length.
  • If you accidentally cut off too much, don’t panic. You can use floral wire or tape to extend and reinforce the stem, allowing you to still attach it securely to your lapel.
  • Keep a small container of water nearby so you can place the trimmed stems in it while preparing other boutonnieres. This will help keep them fresh until they are attached to your lapel.

Techniques and Styles for Arranging a Boutonniere

The arrangement of a boutonniere can vary depending on personal style and the type of flower being used. Here are some techniques and styles for arranging a boutonniere:

Single Bloom

A classic and simple style is to use a single bloom as the focal point of the boutonniere. This can be a rose, carnation, or any other small flower that suits your preference. Trim the stem to the desired length and remove any excess leaves or thorns before attaching it to your lapel.

Cluster of Flowers

For a more elaborate look, consider creating a cluster of smaller flowers or floral accents. Arrange them in a tight bunch and secure them together using floral tape or wire. This style works well with flowers like spray roses, sweet peas, or stephanotis.

Greenery Accent

Incorporating greenery into your boutonniere adds texture and visual interest. Choose small leaves or foliage that complement the color scheme of your outfit and arrange them around the main flower or cluster of flowers. Secure everything together using floral tape or wire.


  • Experiment with different arrangements before attaching the boutonniere to your lapel to find the style that suits you best.
  • Consider adding additional elements such as ribbon, feathers, or decorative pins to personalize your boutonniere and make it stand out.
  • If you’re unsure about arranging a boutonniere yourself, consult with a professional florist who can create a custom design based on your preferences and event theme.

Freshness and Lifespan of a Fresh Flower Boutonniere

A fresh flower boutonniere adds an elegant touch to your formal attire, but it’s important to consider the freshness and lifespan of the flowers. Here are some tips to ensure your boutonniere stays fresh throughout the event:

Choose Fresh Flowers

Select flowers that are in their prime and have not started wilting or showing signs of discoloration. Fresh flowers will last longer and maintain their appearance throughout the event.

Keep in Water

If possible, keep the boutonniere in a small container of water until you are ready to attach it to your lapel. This will help keep the flowers hydrated and prevent them from wilting prematurely.

Mist with Water or Floral Spray

If you don’t have access to water, misting the boutonniere with water or using a floral spray can help keep the flowers fresh. Lightly spray the petals and foliage before attaching it to your lapel.


  • Avoid exposing the boutonniere to direct sunlight or extreme temperatures, as this can cause wilting and discoloration.
  • If you’re wearing a boutonniere for an extended period, consider bringing a spare one or ask someone responsible for floral arrangements at the event for assistance in case it needs replacement.
  • Remember that fresh flower boutonnieres have a limited lifespan, so plan accordingly if you want them to look their best throughout the entire event.

Tips and Considerations for Putting in a Boutonniere

Putting in a boutonniere may seem like a simple task, but there are some tips and considerations to keep in mind to ensure everything goes smoothly:

Practice Beforehand

If you’re not accustomed to wearing a boutonniere, practice putting it on before the event. This will help you become familiar with the process and ensure that you can attach it securely without any issues.

Allow Time for Preparation

Give yourself enough time to prepare the boutonniere and attach it to your lapel. Rushing through the process can lead to mistakes or damage to your suit fabric.

Coordinate with Your Partner

If you’re attending an event with a partner or in a group, coordinate the style and color of your boutonnieres with their outfits. This will create a cohesive look and enhance the overall aesthetic of your group.


  • Have someone else double-check your boutonniere placement before heading out to ensure everything looks perfect.
  • If you’re unsure about attaching the boutonniere yourself, seek assistance from a professional tailor or florist who can help you achieve the desired look.
  • Remember to remove the boutonniere at the end of the event and handle it with care to avoid damaging your suit or any delicate flowers.

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