If you’re somebody who enjoys the dapper life, then you have no doubt heard about lapel flowers. These popular accessories can often be found online for a small price and add a splash of colour to your ensemble.
Echoing back to the old days where a red rose would be paired with a white tuxedo, lapel flowers are reminiscent of stars such as Cary Grant or Sean Connery as James Bond.
However, they predate both these cultural icons and supposedly began at Queen Victoria’s wedding to Prince Albert.
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Lapel flowers are a type of lapel pin that’s shaped like a flower.
They can be made of any material (either natural or synthetic), but are most often found in silk, cotton, or various synthetics.
While some lapel flowers are founded in tradition such as remembrance poppies in the UK, many can be worn simply as a dapper accessory.
An easy guide to lapel flowers. Look your dapperest thanks to our guide!
What Is A Lapel Flower?
A lapel flower is a decorative accessory a man puts on the lapel of his jacket. A style of lapel pin in the shape of a flower, they’re available in a multitude of colors and are most commonly made of silk or cotton. They may be long stem or button style.
Lapel flowers’ popularity has jumped significantly in the past few years. Many big brands have gotten on the lapel flower train, and quite a few smaller brands and even Etsy shops make them too.
This should come as no surprise; they’re small and don’t have any specific requirements around sizing, so they lend themselves well to being crafted artisanally.
Price-wise, they can range from as little as $8 to as high as $45-$50.
Theoretically, they are a substitute for a boutonniere, or a real flower attached to a jacket’s lapel via a pin. This seems reasonable, given that one thing is a flower, and the other thing is made to look like a flower.
How & When To Wear Lapel Flowers
While wearing a lapel flower isn’t complicated by any stretch, there’s a lot of information to go over if you want to do it not just properly, but well. To that end, please have a look at our page on how to wear a lapel flower.
Different Types Of Lapel Flowers
Not all lapel flowers are created equal.
Firstly, from a color perspective, know that they are available in simply any color under the sun. They can be found in all manner of reds, blues, purples, pinks, greens, yellows, oranges, and any variation or combination thereof.
Secondly, they’re made in various materials. The “flowers” themselves are often fabric like silk or cotton, but they can also be made of plastic or some other synthetic material that’s a bit harder or shinier.
Furthermore, the “stems” of the flowers -the pins that you use to secure them to your lapel- are often made of nickel or some other silver-looking metal, but they may also be crafted from a material that looks gold, like brass for example.
Thirdly, the different styles you’ll most often encounter in the lapel flower world are mentioned below.
Long Stem Flowers
Long stem flowers have long, thin pins to which the flower itself is attached. These are quite common and comprise much of what’s available on the lapel flower market.
Suits with functional lapel buttonholes will also have something called a “keeper” or thread loop that rests on the backside of the lapel about two inches beneath the buttonhole.
This is the ideal place to put the pin of a long stem lapel flower, as it will keep it from moving around too much or falling out.
Your lapel buttonhole needn’t be functional to use a long stem lapel flower.
Button flowers are the other main style of lapel flower. These have a button on the backside of the flower, and that button is used to fasten it to the jacket’s lapel. Note that your lapel buttonhole must be functional for one of these to work.
Thankfully, that’s a very easy job for any tailor to accomplish, and if you’re careful and somewhat experienced, you might even be able to do it yourself with a seam ripper.
Boutonnières are actual, live flowers that are often worn with black tie and white tie ensembles. While they are elegant and stylish, they’re not the same thing as a lapel flower, which is a variation on a lapel pin based on a material arranged in the shape of a flower.
Although fresh flowers are indeed elegant, they also have their drawbacks. Over the course of the day, flowers have a tendency to wilt and will need replacing regularly.
Furthermore, they’re also quite fragile and can easily get crushed or damaged with sudden moves. Meanwhile, pinned flowers are quite robust and can be worn for as long as you like.
If you’re looking at wearing a boutonnière, head to our full guide on the subject.
Where To Buy The Best Lapel Flowers?
With their fashion renaissance, lapel flowers have become much easier to buy. Nevertheless, they tend to be reserved to online retailers and it’s still rare to find them in-store.
We’ve tried a number of different outlets and they tend to greatly vary in quality. However, we were particularly happy with the offerings from Dapper Lapel who host six different lapel flower collections.
What Next: Other Lapel Resources
Lapel flowers are a great way to decorate your suit in a tasteful, sartorially correct way, and every man could use a few in his rotation. Even with that said, it’s good to have knowledge about the other ways to dress a lapel, and we invite you to take a look at our other guides: