A Gentleman’s Guide on Wearing a Lapel Pin

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When you wear a suit, one way you can up the ante, so to speak, is to add accessories to it to make it look more suave and elegant. One accessory you should consider wearing with your suit is a lapel pin. This small yet essential piece is slowly making a comeback in fashion for men, and while usually worn only during formal occasions, can actually be used to enhance your daily attire.

What exactly is a lapel pin? The name itself is actually pretty self-explanatory. It is a pin that you wear on your coat’s lapel. A lapel is a folded flap on your suit that can be found on both sides of this clothing and is found above the buttons and below the collar. Most lapels come with a buttonhole, which is usually located on the upper-left part of your coat. This buttonhole is where you will wear your lapel pin.

Types of Lapel Pins

Lapel pins come in all shapes, sizes, designs, and colors. These can be used to enhance the look of your outfit and can even be used to distinguish who you are from a group of people wearing similar looking suits. Here are some of the more common lapel pins that people wear in their buttonholes:

  • Boutonniere – you will usually see this worn on lapels in formal events, like weddings, balls, and other similar situations. These are often one or two flowers in a small bouquet-like shape inserted into the buttonhole and held in place with the use of pins.
  • Floral pin – this sometimes takes the place of a boutonniere, and it’s often made out of fabric. The fabrics that can be used to create floral pins include silk, satin, linen, and cotton. Some of the floral pins are even made using satin ribbons crafted to look like flowers.
  • Stick pin – these are usually made using metal, with the more popular choices being gold, silver, platinum, and stainless steel. While it is called a “pin”, it is actually held in place with a long, thin, needle-like stem that you insert into the buttonhole. The top part of the stick pin is where you will find the design of this accessory. This is sometimes called a long-stem pin.
  • Badges – this particular suit accessory is attached to your lapel with the use of a clasp, which can be made using either metal or rubber. These usually come with a small, sharp pin which is then secured to your coat via this clasp. Badges can come in many different designs, some of which are customized to suit a specific purpose. For instance, if you are a member of a club and the members need to distinguish themselves from the rest of the world, getting a bespoke lapel pin that only members can have is usually done.

Where to Place Your Lapel Pin

The most common placement for your lapel pin is in the buttonhole on your left-side. Even when your suit comes with two buttonholes, one on each lapel, the correct placement for a lapel pin is always on the left-hand one. If your suit or coat does not have a buttonhole, you should still wear these on the same approximate spot where a buttonhole should be.

The lapel is not the only place where you can wear a lapel pin however. These days, fashion can let you get away with putting this pin on other parts of your outfit. For example, if you are not wearing a jacket but want to show the world that you are part of a select group of people with your club lapel pin, you can still wear this on your tie or on the left collar of your dress shirt. You can also choose to wear this on your coat alongside other pins that show your affiliation.

When to Wear Your Lapel Pin

These days, you can wear your lapel pin any time you want. Fashion can let you get away with doing what you want and to accessorize whenever you want. With that said, however, if you want to follow the traditional rules of lapel pin use, there are some instances when these should actually be used.

Formal occasions, like weddings, balls, and other similar social events often require you to wear a lapel pin to enhance your look. Boutonnieres are often used with tuxedos while decorative lapel pins are usually chosen for suits worn on other special events. You can also wear a lapel pin with your business suit, particularly if you want to show that you are representing an organization at an event.


A lapel pin these days is more versatile than it was in the olden days. While it can still be used as a badge to show affiliations and achievements, it can also now be worn as a mere accessory that enhances what you wear. It all comes down to your own discretion when you wear it, with what you wear it with, and why you wear it.

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