How to Put On a Boutonniere

How To Put On A Boutonniere & Lapel Flower Pin

Lately, many people have asked how they should wear a lapel flower pin and they were curious what kind of jackets they needed to wear, and how exactly it should be worn. In the past I already created a picture guide on how to add a stem keeper to one’s lapel 

but I decided to create a video about this very topic since things become much clearer. For example, I explain How To & How Not To Wear a Boutonniere & Lapel Flower, How to Attach It To Your Lapel, and what to do if you don’t have a buttonhole or if your buttonhole is sewn shut. No matter if you wear real flower, or silk flowers, this video provides hands-on tips so you can enjoy wearing lapel flowers on the jackets in your wardrobe.

I even provide instructions for when you don’t have much time, like on a wedding day. To find out my simple 10 Second solution that costs you less than 10 cents, watch the video below.

00:00 – Hello! I’m Sven Raphael Schneider the founder of the Gentleman’s Gazette and Fort Belvedere, and today, I’m going to talk about boutonnieres.


00:10 – Yes, those little lapel flowers. And I’m going to tell you how to wear them, why men wear them, and how not to wear them.

00:39 – Alright! Let’s start a little bit with the history. There are various theories about boutonniers and who invented them and who wore them first. It dates all the way back to the fifteenth century when people in Naples had flowers, but it’s not really clear whether that’s true or not.

01:01 – The first time we saw some evidence was in a painting from Gainsborough in 1771 when you could actually see a lapel flower in a buttonhole because at that time, jackets didn’t really have lapels; they were just buttoned up high and that’s how the lapel eventually developed but that’s an entirely different story and I’m not going to go into too much detail today.

01:26 – If you’re a history buff and you’d like to learn about the entire history of the boutonniere, please check out my article that deals with it in all details.

01:42 – Alright! Enough talk about history! Let’s talk about boutonnieres. First of all – what you should never, ever do, no matter whether it’s real or not, and pin it on your lapel [sic] because that’s just not the way it’s done and it looks odd, especially if you have a shiny, metal part there that reflects the light. People are more prone to look at your flower than looking at your face.

02:11 – The reason we dress up is so we wear the clothes and the people see that and the clothes should never wear us. Alright! Rule number one: Don’t pin a flower onto your lapel. So now how do you wear it? Ideally, you should wear it always through your buttonhole.

02:30 – As you can see here, there’s a buttonhole and it’s open because it’s actually a real buttonhole so that’s how you’re supposed to wear it. [The] flower goes through… Alright.

02:53 – Alright! What do you do if your jacket has no buttonhole? Well, in that case, I would suggest you go to an alterations tailor and have one sewn in because that’s what you need. It’s traditional because it actually evolved as top buttonhole that would be buttoned. And people would flap open their lapel, and that’s how it came to be there.

03:16 – And that’s the only place you can wear it. So if you don’t have one, go to an alterations tailor and have one made. Now, if you buy a jacket off the rack, it often has a buttonhole sewn, but it’s sewn shut. So, what you have to do then, is you have to open it.

03:38 – And… you need a knife – a little pocket knife. Or a box cutter, or maybe a sharp razor blade. Of course, be careful. Don’t cut yourself. But I’ve done it really often for other people, even on wedding days, and it always works like a charm; no problem. So have your knife, ideally a small knife or a small pair of scissors.

04:02 – Locate your buttobhole. Look at it. Is there any opening? In this case, it’s kind of a keyhole and it has a little opening. So, I start carefully. I look that I don’t damage the threads of the buttonhole. And you can see: I cut it neatly open. I don’t cut it too far because I don’t want to ruin the seam of the buttonhole.

04:35 – Alright, once you have an open buttonhole on your jacket, the flower is just put through. So you have it like this. And now it’s in the back. And you put through the flower. The procedure is the same with real flowers or silk flowers that we have here from Fort Belvedere. It’s always the same proceedure. The idea is you have a protector or a “stem keeper” in the back of your lapel so your lapel stem doesn’t hang out of your lapel.

05:14 – Like, in this case, I left it on there so you see, you don’t want to have that happen with your boutonnieres. That’s why you really want this stem keeper and if you don’t have one, please check out my article with detailed instructions on how to make one yourself.

05:37 – If you don’t want to do that, your alterations tailor could do it. Or if you’re in a position where you really don’t have time and you need a solution right away, get a simple safety pin. The safety pin helps and has the same function. So all you do is, you open the safety pin.

05:59 – Once it’s opened, you just pin it through your lapel. Make sure it doesn’t peek out in the front. So, double check – nothing peeks out in the front!  Then you close it at the back. And now your boutonniere stem just goes through […] there. Nobody’s going to see it from the front and you can easily remove it afterwards and it’s very inexpensive and you can always do it that way. It’s a really great way to, yeah, get a quick solution – an inexpensive soluton and it works in any jacket, any time.

06:45 – If you enjoyed this video, make sure you check out our other videos. It’s easiest to do that by subscribing to our YouTube channel. Also, like the video, leave a comment if you have questions. I’ll get back to you. And, most importantly, if you really want to learn about classic men’s clothing, if you want to look better and dress better and be more confident, sign up for our free newsletter, and I’ll even throw in a free ebook, Gentlemen of Style, that teaches you a little bit about how to match colours, and how to overall create your unique style. Thank you!


How To Put On A Boutonniere Without a Pin
Article Name
How To Put On A Boutonniere Without a Pin
Easy Step-by-Step Instructions on how to put on a boutonniere, how to wear it & what not do do + simple 10 Second trick for under 10 cents.
12 replies
    • Al R. says:

      How to prepare a live flower to act as a boutiniere? In my personal 1st hand experience, the flower shop that fashioned the live flower pedal for me, supplied a ‘pearl’ tiped stick pin. Presumably they provide flower boutiniere’s for prom, wedding, formal events. You position your flower on your lapel (in the correct area!) and you PIN it to the lapel, so that the pin (the shiny part) doesn’t show through. Viola! You’re sartorially in business, looking sauve & well put together.
      The video was a nice effort, but I found some of the ‘advice’ … a bit amusing, not negatively so, just amusing …

      • Sven Raphael Schneider says:

        AJ, each to his own, but pinning flowers to one’s lapel looks cheap, and in 90% of the time the flower arrangements are way too big. Over the course of the day, they dangle, and the”pearl” you are talking of is simply plastic ;).

        • Al R. says:

          Looks cheap!? Not so! … not in my case! Quite elegant! The flower wasn’t too big. As I said, the flower shop person was experienced in providing the bouquet. The flower didn’t droop, in fact it stayed fresh for about a week! I wore it to special religious event and its appearance was stunning & elegant! The ‘pearl’ was plastic … but you pin it to be hidden, not to show! I don’t consider myself a neophyte dresser, IMHO. I know the “rules” Been at the clothing game, since the age of 12, 13. I have an anniversary next month! I turn 58! …yes, each to one’s ‘stylish & knowledgeable’ own! ;-)). Peace.

      • Tony Chow says:

        My question is about making boutonnieres that are intended to be inserted into the button hole and secured with the loop behind the lapel. I don’t intend to stick-pin anything to my lapel.

        • Al R. says:

          ….re: “not sticking a pin in lapel” …. to each his own!! … don’t do it. The advice given below holds true and is spot on. Take it slow & have fun experimenting! Peace.

    • Sven Raphael Schneider says:

      that depends on every flower. Some you can just put through. the problem sometimes happens when you bend the stem, because they break. Carnations on the other hand and other more delicate flowers need a wrapped stem. Today, you find hardly any florists who properly make boutonnieres. The boutonnieres you usually get don’t have anything to do with the proper old school way. The best instruction is provided in this book.

      • Tony Chow says:

        Hi Raphael, thanks for understanding what I’m getting at 🙂 Basically, I want to use natural flowers to create the neat look that your artificial flowers have–that is, the flower stems should face forward rather than upward. This does require bending the stem 90 degrees.

        I have that book. There’s one section about a London flower shop that prepare boutonnieres the old fashioned way but it doesn’t contain any specific instructions. It does say that the resulting product is a highly artificial construct. Some of the steps involved are hinted at: the flower needs to be trimmed to the right size, the stem ought to be reinforced using wire and wrapped in florist tape. And in one picture it seems that the back of the flower is covered with a piece of cardboard–perhaps to prevent it from soiling the jacket?

        I plan to try making some boutonnieres on my own.

        • Sven Raphael Schneider says:

          I suggest, you just start doing it and let us know how that goes. I’d start with less expensive flowers do you don’t burn too much money. Carnation boutonnieres are often sewn together just from the petals, others glue them together. It’s a lot of work for one flower that will be discarded afterwards. Depending on your hourly rate it may or may not be worth the time, but I encourage you to give it a try.

  1. Paul says:

    Great information and video, as always. Thanks! Just a heads up, the sensor on your camera could possibly use a cleaning; I noticed some dust spots in the upper right quadrant of the frame.

  2. Theo says:

    Hi Raphael,

    Thanks for your nice video on boutonnière. I would like to know if I could wear it also under a coat. Doesn’t a coat damage a three dimensional boutonnière?

Comments are closed.