These days, there has been a resurgence of the classics. From vinyl records to Polaroids, the “old world” charm holds strong. Men’s fashion is no stranger to this renaissance. Bespoke suits and accessories are more popular than ever, with added contemporary twists to adapt to modern tastes. These fashion statements include lapel pins, which can give another layer of “dapper” to an already stylish suit.
But how do you exactly wear a lapel pin without it ruining your entire look? Here are a few guidelines.
Always on the Left
Similar to how you wear traditional boutonnieres, a lapel pin should be placed on the left lapel, under the collar point. If you have a pocket square, you should attach the lapel pin above it. To clue you in on the right location, look at suits with dedicated buttonholes for boutonnieres – if your suit has one, you may put the lapel pin there; otherwise, you can just pierce the pin where that buttonhole should be. If done right, any metal from the back of the pin should be completely invisible.
In more expensive suits, there is usually a loop placed at the back of the lapel where you have to attach the pin – this is meant to secure the boutonniere and minimize the damage caused by repeated piercing and pinning to the silk facing.
Choose the Right Pin for the Occasion
Black tie events require a classic boutonniere. However, fresh flowers do tend to wilt after a few hours, especially during the day; in this case, you may choose a floral lapel pin. They are slightly less formal than actual flowers, although they work beautifully and won’t look out of place, particularly those made with premium fabrics. Choose a single blossom design in white or red to complement any suit.
Other occasions are not as strict and you can usually wear any pin you want. Customized lapel pins include logos or icons of causes you support, like the bright pink breast cancer awareness pin, your company’s own logo for promotion and media mileage, or perhaps the flag to show a bit of patriotism.
Dress Shirts Will Do
Lapel pins, as the name suggests, are traditionally meant to be worn on the lapel of a suit jacket or coat. However, these decorative pins are not for exclusively staying on your lapel. If you don’t have a jacket but have a tie, then you may choose to fasten your lapel pin onto your tie. If you’re wearing neither a jacket nor a tie, you can place the lapel pin on your dress shirt. Put it on the left side, near your heart, where the lapel usually stays.
Complement, not Match
Lapel pins are predominantly decorative. They complement, not match, your pocket square and/or tie. A carefully chosen pin can, in fact, make a good suit look even better. Opt for high contrast if you truly want to catch attention – shades of red and bright pink work well with black and gray suits, while white, green, and light orange are ideal for blue and brown suits. If you’re more of the conservative type, opt for analogous colors like blue and green for a subtle, corporate look. Just make sure to have an anchoring neutral color to offset the color wash.
What you do need to match are the metals in your outfit – if you’re wearing a metal lapel pin, make sure that it matches your watch, belt, cuff links, and/or ring for a more polished look. Meanwhile, multiple pins are quite difficult to pull off, so it’s best to just wear one lapel pin at a time. Two pins are acceptable if one is part of the suit and the other promotes or supports a cause, like the red poppy for those who celebrate Remembrance Day.
Lapel pins are only for formal events like weddings. However, the trick to wearing them more often is careful styling and, as with any other fashion statement, confidence. Keep these guidelines in mind and you’ll master the art of the lapel pin soon enough.