What Side to Put Boutonniere On for a Perfectly Polished Look in 2023

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what side to put boutonniere on

In This Article

1. The Traditional Side to Put a Boutonniere On

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

When attaching a boutonniere to the left lapel, it is typically placed just above the buttonhole or slightly angled towards the shoulder. This positioning allows for better visibility and creates a balanced look with other accessories such as pocket squares or tie pins.

Reasons for Placing Boutonniere on Left Lapel:

  • Symbolizes love and affection
  • Tradition dating back to the 19th century
  • Better visibility and balance with other accessories

Tips for Attaching Boutonniere:

  1. Use a small pin or floral wire to secure the boutonniere in place.
  2. Avoid piercing through the fabric of the jacket, as this can cause damage.
  3. Ensure that the boutonniere is securely attached but not too tight, allowing for easy removal at the end of the event.

2. The Customary Reason Behind Wearing a Boutonniere on a Specific Side

The customary reason behind wearing a boutonniere on the left side is rooted in historical symbolism and tradition. In many cultures, including Western societies, there is an association between flowers and romantic love. By placing a boutonniere on the left lapel, closer to the heart, it is believed to symbolize love and affection.

Additionally, the left side is considered the “honor side” or the side of prominence. This tradition originated from military uniforms where medals and badges of honor were worn on the left side. Wearing a boutonniere on this side aligns with the idea of displaying something special or significant.

Symbolism Behind Boutonniere Placement:

  • Association between flowers and romantic love
  • Left side symbolizes honor and prominence

Historical Origins of Boutonniere Placement:

The practice of wearing boutonnieres on the left lapel can be traced back to ancient civilizations. In Ancient Greece, men would wear flowers as a way to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck. The tradition continued through various historical periods, evolving into a fashion statement associated with elegance and refinement.

As society became more structured, etiquette rules were established regarding proper attire for different occasions. Wearing a boutonniere on the left lapel became a customary practice at formal events such as weddings, proms, and black-tie affairs.

3. Cultural and Regional Variations in Boutonniere Placement

3.1 Traditional Boutonniere Placement in Western Cultures

In Western cultures, the traditional placement for a boutonniere is on the left lapel of a suit jacket or blazer. This tradition dates back to the 19th century when men would wear boutonnieres as a symbol of wealth and social status. The left side was chosen because it allowed easy access for right-handed individuals to place and remove the boutonniere without obstructing their dominant hand.

3.2 Cultural Variations in Boutonniere Placement

However, it’s important to note that there are cultural variations in boutonniere placement. In some Eastern cultures, such as Japan, boutonnieres are traditionally worn on the right lapel instead of the left. This difference stems from cultural customs and preferences unique to each region.

4. Determining the Proper Side for Placing a Boutonniere at Formal Events

When determining the proper side for placing a boutonniere at formal events, it is essential to consider several factors:

4.1 Dress Code

The dress code of the event can influence boutonniere placement. If it is a black-tie event or follows specific formal etiquette guidelines, it is best to adhere to traditional placement on the left lapel.

4.2 Personal Preference

Personal preference also plays a role in determining which side to place a boutonniere. Some individuals may have sentimental reasons or personal beliefs that lead them to prefer one side over another.

4.3 Accompanying Accessories

The choice of accompanying accessories can also impact boutonniere placement. For example, if a person is wearing a pocket square on the left side of their jacket, it may be more visually balanced to place the boutonniere on the right lapel.

5. Significance Attached to Wearing a Boutonniere on a Particular Side

Wearing a boutonniere on a particular side can hold symbolic significance in certain contexts:

5.1 Symbolism of Left Side Placement

The tradition of wearing boutonnieres on the left side is often associated with romantic symbolism. It is believed that placing the boutonniere close to the heart signifies love, affection, and loyalty.

5.2 Right Side Placement for Special Occasions

In some cultures, wearing a boutonniere on the right side is reserved for special occasions such as weddings or formal ceremonies. This placement may symbolize good luck, prosperity, or honor.

6. Historical Changes in the Preferred Side for Wearing a Boutonniere

Throughout history, there have been shifts in the preferred side for wearing a boutonniere:

6.1 19th Century: Left Side Dominance

During the 19th century, it was customary for men to wear boutonnieres exclusively on the left lapel. This tradition was influenced by societal norms and fashion trends of that era.

6.2 Modern Trends: Embracing Variation

In recent years, there has been an increasing acceptance of variation in boutonniere placement. Many individuals now choose to wear their boutonnieres on either side based on personal preference or style choices.

7. Guidelines and Etiquette Rules for Boutonniere Placement at Weddings

When it comes to boutonniere placement at weddings, there are some guidelines and etiquette rules to consider:

7.1 Groom’s Boutonniere Placement

Traditionally, the groom’s boutonniere is placed on the left lapel of his jacket. This placement distinguishes him from other members of the wedding party.

7.2 Boutonniere Coordination

It is customary for the groomsmen and other male members of the wedding party to coordinate their boutonnieres with the groom’s placement. This creates a cohesive look and ensures consistency in photographs.

7.3 Accompanying Flowers

Boutonnieres should complement the overall floral arrangements at the wedding. Coordinating colors and flower choices can enhance the visual appeal of both individual boutonnieres and larger floral displays.

8. Gender Differences in Conventions for Wearing Boutonnieres

While boutonnieres are traditionally associated with men’s attire, there are gender differences in conventions for wearing them:

8.1 Men’s Boutonniere Placement

For men, boutonniere placement typically follows traditional guidelines mentioned earlier, such as on the left lapel or according to personal preference.

8.2 Women’s Boutonniere Placement

Women may also wear boutonnieres, especially in formal events or weddings. The placement for women can vary depending on their outfit and personal style choices.

9. Exceptions or Special Circumstances Altering the Traditional Side for a Boutonniere

There are exceptions or special circumstances that may alter the traditional side for wearing a boutonniere:

9.1 Costume Design or Theatre Productions

In costume design or theatre productions, boutonnieres may be placed on either side based on character portrayal or artistic direction.

9.2 Cultural or Religious Customs

Certain cultural or religious customs may dictate specific boutonniere placement, deviating from traditional norms. It is important to respect and adhere to these customs in appropriate contexts.

10. Popular Alternatives and Creative Approaches to Displaying Boutonnieres

In addition to traditional placement, there are popular alternatives and creative approaches to displaying boutonnieres:

10.1 Pocket Square Boutonniere Combination

Some individuals choose to incorporate the boutonniere into a pocket square fold, creating a unique and visually appealing combination.

10.2 Non-Lapel Placement

Instead of the lapel, boutonnieres can be placed on other accessories such as hats, scarves, or even wristbands for a more unconventional and stylish look.

10.3 Floral Accessories for Women

Women can explore various floral accessories like hairpieces, corsages, or brooches as alternatives to traditional boutonniere placement. These options allow for greater creativity and personal expression.

In conclusion, the traditional and generally accepted side to put a boutonniere on is the left lapel of a jacket. However, personal preference and cultural norms may vary, so it is important to consider individual style and context when deciding where to place a boutonniere.

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