A Brief History
From Prince Albert to the modern gentleman, there are various stories about the history of the lapel flower. It has been said that Queen Victoria brought flowers to the Prince as a declaration of her love during their Wedding photography session.
Overjoyed, the Prince cut a hole in his lapel to place the flowers in, and thus, created a trend that would follow for years beyond his own.
Another story details men wearing lapel flowers on dates. If the man felt a connection and wished to secure yet another date, they would offer their flower to the other in hopes they would accept it in honor of the same pursuit. Charming, to say the least.
Boutonnieres, as they are more formally known are still worn today, yet reserved for more special occasions such as proms, weddings, funerals, and the like. Although the accessory has been less common in every day attire, many gentlemen are keeping it alive.
Why A Flower?
Flowers for many ancient civilizations showed allegiance in battle, and in terms of masculinity, displayed that, as well as courage, bravery, and competitiveness. Flowers also have the distinct power to remind us to live each day to its fullest, as there is such brevity in life, as there is beauty in a flower.
How to Wear
A boutonniere, or lapel flower, sits in the button hole of the lapel on a suit jacket (typically the left side). The button hole once served as just that, a hole used to fasten a button on the opposite lapel to keep your neck warm and secured from the elements.
On higher end jackets, you will find a small loop behind the lapel, just below the button hole, which is used to fasten the stem of a flower. However, oftentimes now, and on lower end jackets, the button hole sits empty or is even sewn up, and there is no loop behind the lapel.
You do not need a button hole to secure the flower. A shawl neck jacket, often seen on tuxedos, are smooth the entire way down the lapel. In this case, be sure to place it at an appropriate height. If you need a quick guide, use your shirt buttons to determine placement. From the top of your shirt, count down to the third button and place your pin at that height on the lapel.
Enjoy your new lapel flower, and as always, thank you for being a gentleman.
by Nicholas Lucin