What Is A Lapel Flower?
Getting into what a lapel flower actually is requires a much deeper dive than a paragraph. To that end, please check out our page on the lapel flower for a full rundown of this extremely dapper accessory.
How & When To Wear A Lapel Flower
Lapel flowers make for dapper accessories, and you should wear them whenever you’re dressing for an occasion that’s fun and allows you to show a little bit of personality. We strongly advise against wearing a lapel flower if you’re attending a funeral or going on a job interview. These occasions are either too somber or too conservative for a lapel flower to be appropriate.
Below are some general guidelines on how to wear a lapel flower to greatest effect:
Lapel Flower Sizes
Lapel flowers come in sizes from about as small as a dime to about as big as a half dollar in circumference. You’ll want to consider your body type when deciding what size to wear (and if you don’t know yours, see our body type guide for a primer), and a good general rule is this: smaller guys should wear smaller lapel flowers, and bigger guys should wear bigger ones. You can see examples of a couple of different sizes of lapel flower below, with a smaller one on the left and a larger on at right:
There are some lapel flowers that are quite large, perhaps the circumference of a coffee mug. These are generally avoidable, as they overwhelm an outfit and look more garish than anything else.
Where To Place A Lapel Flower
It’s important to put your lapel flower in the correct place, which is on the left lapel, right in/around the buttonhole. If the buttonhole is functional (as is often the case on made-to-measure, custom, and bespoke suits), make use of it and put your lapel flower in the buttonhole. If the buttonhole is not functional, you’ll have to pierce through the area with the stem of the lapel flower, which is essentially a long pin.
Color Coordinating Lapel Flowers
Lapel flowers share the same visual plane as your pocket square and tie, so a good starting point is to make sure that the colors coordinate there to some extent. More advanced dressers will pair lapel flowers with any other item in their ensembles, such as socks, shirts, or even nothing at all!
A simple example of playing with color is below. Note that the shirt, pocket square, and sport coat are all identical. The only thing that changes is the color and size of the lapel flower:
Take a look at our guide to color if you’re unsure of how to make color coordination work for you.
When To Wear Lapel Flowers
As much as we love lapel flowers, they are not necessarily great for every event you’ll attend. Anytime that sartorial conservatism is called for -namely job interviews and funerals– are times when you should opt to not wear a lapel flower.
In both of these scenarios, the name of the game is to minimize ornamentation. In an interview setting, you want your resume and personality to do the talking, you only want your clothes to communicate the fact that you “get it.”
As for funerals, the point is to be respectful of the deceased and his/her family, and part of this is not drawing attention to yourself.
Certain dress codes -namely white tie, black tie, morning dress, and business professional– call for a boutonnière or nothing, the former three codes suggesting a boutonnière, the last one requiring that the wearer not adorn himself with any lapel decoration.
So, when can you wear a lapel flower?
Weddings come to mind as the first choice for lapel flower freedom. Wedding days are, ideally, all about being celebratory. There’s little in the world of men’s clothing that’s more celebratory than taking a colorful flower and displaying it on your chest for all to see. Whether you’re a groom, groomsman, guest, or play some other role in the wedding, a lapel flower is perfectly appropriate barring any prohibitive dress code.
Other “fun” events or scenarios, like a date night, drinks with friends, or even just heading out to brunch are fair game for lapel flowers. Note that a lapel flower can be worn during the day or in the evening, so long as the situation calls for garb that’s a bit more fun and playful than it is staid and conservative.
What Are The Other Options?
If you’re uncertain as to whether lapel flowers are something that you’d wear, maybe you’d like to check out the alternatives we offer. For instance, real flowers are on option with boutonnières. Alternatively, lapel pins may be something more in line with your tastes.
Otherwise, check out some of our related guides: