How to Wear a Boutonniere with Flair: A Comprehensive Guide (2023)

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how to wear a boutonniere

Proper Way to Attach a Boutonniere to a Suit Lapel

Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Pin a Boutonniere Correctly

Attaching a boutonniere to a suit lapel may seem like a simple task, but it’s important to do it correctly to ensure it stays in place throughout the event. Here is a step-by-step guide:

  1. Select the side of your suit lapel where you want to attach the boutonniere. Traditionally, it is worn on the left lapel.
  2. Position the boutonniere stem against the lapel at an angle, with the flower facing upward and slightly outward.
  3. Hold the boutonniere in place with one hand and use your other hand to insert the pin through both the fabric of the lapel and the stem of the boutonniere.
  4. Make sure that the pin goes through both layers of fabric and securely holds the boutonniere in place.
  5. If desired, you can also use a small adhesive tape or floral wire wrapped around the stem for added security.

Tips for Pinning Boutonnieres:

  • Avoid placing pins too close to each other as it can cause damage or tears in delicate fabrics.
  • Ensure that the pin is hidden behind the lapel so that only the flower is visible from the front.
  • Test how securely attached the boutonniere is by gently tugging on it before wearing it for an extended period.

Choosing the Right Boutonniere Style to Complement Your Outfit

The style of the boutonniere you choose should complement your outfit and the overall theme of the event. Here are a few popular boutonniere styles:

Classic Rose Boutonniere:

A classic rose boutonniere is timeless and versatile. It can be worn for both formal and semi-formal occasions. Choose a color that matches or complements your outfit.

Wildflower Boutonniere:

If you’re going for a more rustic or bohemian look, a wildflower boutonniere is a great choice. It adds a touch of nature and whimsy to your ensemble.

Succulent Boutonniere:

For a modern and unique twist, opt for a succulent boutonniere. These small plants add texture and visual interest to your lapel.

Common Flowers and Materials Used for Boutonnieres

Boutonnieres can be made from various flowers and materials, depending on personal preference and the occasion. Some common flowers used for boutonnieres include:

  • Roses: Classic and elegant, roses are a popular choice for formal events.
  • Carnations: Versatile and long-lasting, carnations come in various colors to match different outfits.
  • Lilies: With their large blooms, lilies make a statement on any lapel.
  • Succulents: These trendy plants add an interesting texture to boutonnieres.

In addition to flowers, other materials such as greenery, berries, feathers, ribbons, or even small trinkets can be incorporated into boutonnieres to enhance their visual appeal.

Appropriate Occasions or Events for Wearing a Boutonniere


A wedding is perhaps the most common occasion where wearing a boutonniere is appropriate. It adds an elegant touch to the groom’s attire and can also be worn by the groomsmen and fathers of the bride and groom. The boutonnieres can be coordinated with the bridal bouquet or other floral arrangements to create a cohesive look.

Formal Events:

Boutonnieres are also suitable for formal events such as galas, award ceremonies, or black-tie parties. They add a sophisticated flair to any tuxedo or suit and help complete the overall polished look. It is important to choose a boutonniere that matches the color scheme or theme of the event.


Graduation ceremonies are another occasion where wearing a boutonniere can be appropriate. Graduates can wear boutonnieres that match their school colors or represent their achievements. It adds a personal touch to their graduation attire and serves as a symbol of accomplishment.

Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Pin a Boutonniere Correctly

Pinning a boutonniere correctly is crucial to ensure it stays in place throughout the day without causing any discomfort. Follow these steps for proper pinning:

Step 1: Prepare the Boutonniere:

Gently hold the boutonniere by its stem, making sure not to crush any delicate flowers or foliage. Check if there are any loose petals or leaves that need to be removed before pinning.

Step 2: Locate the Lapel Buttonhole:

Determine which side of the lapel the boutonniere should be worn on. Most commonly, it is placed on the left lapel, above the heart. However, some cultural or regional variations may dictate otherwise.

Step 3: Insert the Pin:

Insert the pin through the back of the lapel, going diagonally upwards towards the top of the boutonniere’s stem. Make sure to secure both the fabric of the lapel and the stem of the boutonniere with the pin.

Step 4: Adjust and Secure:

Gently adjust the position of the boutonniere to ensure it sits upright and looks symmetrical. If needed, use an additional pin to secure any loose parts or prevent it from rotating.

Step 5: Check for Comfort:

Before leaving, make sure that wearing the boutonniere does not cause any discomfort or restrict movement. It should be securely pinned but not too tight that it becomes bothersome throughout the day.

Common Flowers and Materials Used for Boutonnieres

Boutonnieres can be made using various flowers and materials, depending on personal preference and occasion. Some common choices include:


  • The classic choice for boutonnieres due to their timeless beauty and availability in a wide range of colors.
  • Rosebuds are often used for a more delicate look, while fully bloomed roses create a bolder statement.


  • Carnations are versatile flowers that come in various colors and have a long lifespan, making them ideal for boutonnieres.
  • They are budget-friendly and can be easily dyed to match specific color schemes.


  • Orchids are elegant and exotic flowers that add a touch of sophistication to any boutonniere.
  • They come in different shapes, sizes, and colors, allowing for unique and eye-catching designs.

Foliage and Greenery:

  • Greenery such as eucalyptus leaves, ferns, or ivy can be used to complement the main flower in a boutonniere.
  • They add texture and depth to the arrangement while providing a natural and organic feel.

Color Guidelines for Selecting a Matching Boutonniere

Choosing the right color for a boutonniere is essential to ensure it complements the overall attire. Consider the following guidelines when selecting a matching boutonniere:

Match or Complement:

The boutonniere can either match the color of other accessories like ties or pocket squares or complement them by choosing a contrasting shade from the same color family. For example, pairing a navy suit with a light blue boutonniere creates a harmonious look.

Consider the Season:

Taking into account the season can help determine appropriate colors. For spring events, pastel shades like blush pink or lavender work well. In summer, vibrant hues such as coral or yellow can be chosen. Autumn calls for warm tones like burgundy or burnt orange, while winter events may benefit from deep blues or rich reds.

Avoid Clashing Colors:

Avoid selecting colors that clash with each other or the overall color scheme. It is important to strike a balance and ensure the boutonniere enhances the outfit rather than overpowering it.

Left or Right: Where Should the Boutonniere be Worn on the Lapel?

The traditional placement for a boutonniere is on the left lapel, just above the heart. However, there are cultural and regional variations that dictate otherwise:

Cultural Variations:

In some cultures, such as in parts of Europe, boutonnieres are worn on the right lapel. This is often seen during weddings or formal events where it symbolizes a special occasion or celebration.

Regional Variations:

In certain regions, like in Scotland, boutonnieres known as “buttonholes” are traditionally worn on the right lapel. This custom dates back to historical traditions and can still be seen today during formal events or ceremonies.

Ultimately, when deciding which side to wear a boutonniere on, it is important to consider personal preference, cultural customs, and any specific guidelines provided by event organizers.

Wearing a Boutonniere with Casual Attire: Acceptable or Not?

While boutonnieres are commonly associated with formal occasions, they can also be worn with casual attire depending on the context:

Semi-Formal Events:

For semi-formal events like garden parties or daytime weddings, wearing a boutonniere with casual attire can add a touch of elegance without being overly formal. Opt for smaller and simpler designs that complement the relaxed atmosphere.

Casual Celebrations:

If attending a casual celebration such as a birthday party or family gathering where no specific dress code is mentioned, wearing a boutonniere can be a personal choice. It adds a stylish and festive element to the outfit, showcasing attention to detail.

However, it is important to consider the overall vibe of the event and ensure that the boutonniere does not appear out of place or too formal in comparison to others’ attire.

Boutonniere Lifespan and Tips for Preservation Throughout the Day

The lifespan of a boutonniere can vary depending on the flowers used and environmental factors. To ensure its longevity throughout the day, consider these tips:

Keep it Fresh:

Prioritize using fresh flowers for your boutonniere. If possible, pick them up on the day of the event or have them delivered shortly before wearing. This helps maintain their freshness and appearance.

Mist with Water:

If you notice any wilting or drying throughout the day, lightly misting the boutonniere with water can help revive it. Be careful not to oversaturate as this may cause damage or discoloration.

Store Properly:

When not wearing the boutonniere, store it in a cool and humid-free environment. Placing it in a small container with damp cotton or tissue can help retain moisture without directly touching the flowers.

Avoid Crushing:

Be mindful when hugging or leaning against surfaces to prevent crushing or damaging the boutonniere. Gentle handling ensures its appearance remains intact throughout the day.

Cultural and Regional Variations in Traditional Boutonniere Wear

Boutonnieres hold cultural significance in various regions around the world. Here are some examples of cultural and regional variations in traditional boutonniere wear:

Indian Weddings:

In Indian weddings, grooms often wear a floral boutonniere known as a “sherwani pin” or “sehra.” These elaborate arrangements are typically made with fresh flowers, beads, and other decorative elements. They are worn on the left side of the chest and symbolize prosperity and good luck.

Hawaiian Leis:

In Hawaii, the tradition of wearing leis extends to men as well. Men may wear a boutonniere-style lei called a “lei kui” or “lei pua pua” during special occasions or celebrations. These leis are made from various flowers and foliage native to Hawaii.

Scottish Weddings:

In Scottish weddings, the groom traditionally wears a boutonniere called a “buttonhole” on the right lapel of his jacket. This buttonhole is often made with thistle, which is Scotland’s national flower. It represents pride in Scottish heritage and adds a distinctive touch to the groom’s attire.

These examples highlight how cultural and regional traditions influence boutonniere styles and placement, showcasing the diversity and significance of this accessory worldwide.

In conclusion, wearing a boutonniere is a simple yet elegant way to elevate your formal attire and add a touch of sophistication to any special occasion. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can confidently wear your boutonniere with style and grace, ensuring that it becomes the perfect accessory to complete your look.

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