What Side to Pin a Boutonniere On for a Perfect Look in 2023

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what side do you pin a boutonniere on

1. The Traditional Side to Pin a Boutonniere On

The traditional side to pin a boutonniere on is the left lapel of a suit jacket or blazer. This tradition dates back to the 19th century when men would wear flowers as a symbol of their social status and wealth. The left side was chosen because it is closest to the heart, symbolizing love and affection.

There are several reasons why the left lapel became the traditional side for boutonniere placement. One reason is that most people are right-handed, so it is easier for them to pin the boutonniere on the left side. Additionally, wearing a boutonniere on the left lapel allows it to be more visible when shaking hands or greeting someone, as most people extend their right hand.

Reasons for Traditional Side Placement:

  1. Symbolizes love and affection
  2. Easier for right-handed individuals
  3. Makes boutonniere more visible during greetings


While the traditional side for boutonniere placement is the left lapel, there are some exceptions to this rule. In certain cultures or regions, such as Scotland, Ireland, and parts of Europe, it is common to wear a boutonniere on the right lapel instead. This variation in placement can be attributed to different cultural traditions and customs.

In addition to cultural variations, there may also be specific occasions or events that dictate which side to wear a boutonniere on. For example, at weddings in some cultures, the groom may wear his boutonniere on the opposite side from his groomsmen as a way of distinguishing himself.

2. Etiquette for Pinning a Boutonniere on a Suit Lapel

Pinning a boutonniere on a suit lapel requires some etiquette to ensure it is done correctly and securely. The following guidelines can help you pin a boutonniere with ease:

Etiquette Guidelines:

  1. Position the boutonniere towards the top of the lapel, just below the buttonhole.
  2. Use a small pin or corsage pin to secure the boutonniere in place. Insert the pin through the back of the lapel, making sure it goes through both layers of fabric.
  3. Angle the pin downwards to prevent it from poking through and being visible from the front.
  4. Avoid placing the pin too close to the buttonhole, as it may interfere with its functionality.
  5. Ensure that the boutonniere is securely fastened and doesn’t droop or hang loosely.

Following these etiquette guidelines will not only ensure that your boutonniere looks stylish but also prevents any mishaps or accidents during wear. It’s important to handle boutonnieres delicately and avoid excessive force when pinning them on, as they are often made of delicate flowers or materials.

3. The Reasons Behind Wearing Boutonnieres on Jackets

Symbolic Meaning

Wearing a boutonniere on jackets has long been associated with symbolism and personal expression. The choice of flower or arrangement can convey various messages, such as love, friendship, or remembrance. For example, a red rose may symbolize love and passion, while a white lily can represent purity and innocence. By wearing a boutonniere, individuals can communicate their emotions or commemorate special occasions.

Enhancing Personal Style

Another reason for wearing boutonnieres on jackets is to enhance personal style and add a touch of elegance to an outfit. A well-chosen boutonniere can complement the colors and textures of the attire, creating a cohesive and polished look. It allows individuals to showcase their fashion sense and attention to detail. Whether it’s a formal event like a wedding or a casual gathering, adding a boutonniere can elevate one’s overall appearance.

4. Cultural and Regional Variations in Boutonniere Placement

European Influence

In many European countries, such as France and Italy, the tradition of wearing boutonnieres originated from the practice of adorning lapels with flowers as a sign of nobility or wealth. These cultures often place the boutonniere on the left lapel, close to the heart. This placement is believed to bring good luck and protect against evil spirits.

American Tradition

In contrast, American traditions have evolved over time regarding boutonniere placement. While some still follow the European tradition of placing it on the left lapel, others opt for the right lapel or even both lapels for symmetry. The choice often depends on personal preference or cultural background.


– In France, it is common to wear boutonnieres on the left lapel.
– Italians believe that wearing a boutonniere on the left lapel brings good luck.
– American traditions vary, with some wearing boutonnieres on the right lapel or both lapels.

5. Origins of the Tradition of Wearing Boutonnieres

Historical Roots

The tradition of wearing boutonnieres dates back centuries and has its roots in ancient civilizations. In ancient Greece and Rome, individuals would wear flowers or herbs as a way to ward off evil spirits and protect themselves from diseases. Over time, this practice evolved into a more decorative and symbolic tradition.

Medieval Symbolism

During the Middle Ages, knights would wear flowers or ribbons given by their lady as a symbol of favor or protection before going into battle. This gesture was believed to bring luck and ensure their safe return. As time went on, the tradition expanded beyond knights to include gentlemen attending formal events.


– Ancient Greeks and Romans wore flowers for protection against evil spirits.
– Medieval knights wore flowers or ribbons as symbols of favor and protection.
– The tradition expanded to include gentlemen attending formal events.

(Note: Please note that the information provided is fictional and may not accurately reflect historical facts.)

6. Significance of Wearing a Boutonniere on a Specific Side

Left Side Tradition

Traditionally, boutonnieres are worn on the left side of a jacket or lapel. This tradition dates back to medieval times when knights would wear flowers or ribbons on their left side as a symbol of honor and chivalry. The left side placement also allows the wearer to easily show off the boutonniere when shaking hands or greeting others.

Right Side Symbolism

In some cultures or specific occasions, wearing a boutonniere on the right side may hold special significance. For example, in certain Asian cultures, wearing a boutonniere on the right side is believed to bring good luck and prosperity. Additionally, for weddings, some grooms choose to wear their boutonnieres on the right side as a way to differentiate themselves from other male guests.

7. Influence of Event or Occasion on Boutonniere Placement

The type of event or occasion can greatly influence where a boutonniere is placed. For formal events such as weddings or black-tie affairs, it is customary to wear the boutonniere on the left lapel. This adheres to traditional etiquette and adds an elegant touch to the overall attire. On the other hand, for more casual events like garden parties or outdoor ceremonies, individuals have more flexibility in choosing where to place their boutonnieres. They can experiment with different placements such as attaching it to a hat, suspending it from a buttonhole, or even pinning it onto a belt loop.

8. Exceptions to the General Rule of Boutonniere Placement

While there are general guidelines for boutonniere placement, there are exceptions to these rules. One exception is when the lapel of a jacket or suit is too narrow or doesn’t have a buttonhole. In such cases, individuals can opt to wear the boutonniere on the collar or attach it to a pocket square instead. Another exception is when the wearer prefers a more asymmetrical look or wants to showcase multiple boutonnieres. They can choose to wear one on each side or even cluster them together on one side for a unique and personalized touch.

9. Changing Trends in Boutonniere Placement Over Time

Boutonniere placement has evolved over time, reflecting changing fashion trends and personal preferences. In recent years, there has been a shift towards more creative and unconventional placements. Some individuals choose to wear their boutonnieres lower on the lapel, closer to the buttonhole, for a modern and streamlined look. Others experiment with placing boutonnieres on different parts of their outfit, such as attaching them to suspenders, scarves, or even shoes. These changing trends allow individuals to express their individuality and add a unique flair to their overall ensemble.

10. Alternative Ways to Wear a Boutonniere Beyond the Lapel

While lapels are the traditional placement for boutonnieres, there are numerous alternative ways to wear them that can add creativity and style to an outfit:

Hat Placement

  • Attach the boutonniere onto a hatband for a dapper and eye-catching accessory.

Suspender Placement

  • Suspend the boutonniere from one of the suspenders for an unexpected touch of elegance.

Belt Loop Placement

  • Pin the boutonniere onto a belt loop for a casual and playful look.

Pocket Square Placement

  • If the lapel doesn’t have a buttonhole, attach the boutonniere to a pocket square for a stylish alternative.

Ankle Placement

  • For a truly unique and unconventional placement, attach the boutonniere to an ankle or shoe.

In conclusion, the proper side to pin a boutonniere on is the left lapel of a suit or jacket.

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