How to Pin on a Boutonniere


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Video Transcript:

A boutonnière is one of my favorite aspects of men’s formalwear. But a floppy boutonnière just makes me sad. I’m going to teach you how to pin on a boutonnière for prom, homecoming, or any other special event. And we’re going to make sure we do it securely and without stabbing anybody.

Traditionally, boutonnières go on the man’s left side. Which is handy if you’re a right handed person who’s helping pin it on.

You may have seen these little buttonholes up high on a jacket before. Now you’ll start to notice they’re always on the left because back in the day they actually were used to hold a flower. But nowadays most folks use this pin-on style.

So to get started, first thing you want to decide is where to place it. It should sit around the widest part of the lapel. And lapel is just the name for this collar right here. You follow the same angle as the lapel. So not straight up and down like this.

Also, make sure you take a good look at your boutonnière. Almost every boutonnière I’ve seen has a front and a back. You see, this back is flat and will lay nicely against his jacket.

Now, the tricky part…

I’ve got my son, Bear, here to help me demonstrate. My sweet friend, Sybil, made this boutonniere with my husband in mind. But he’s not here right now. So it’s going to be kinda big on my little guy, but the process is still the same.

The easiest way I’ve found to pin on a boutonnière is to hold it flat with your left hand pinching the flower to the jacket. Your thumb is on the backside of the lapel, just underneath where you want to stick your pin. And your other fingers are on the front holding the flower to the jacket. Lift the lapel and, with the pin in your right hand, to come up through the fabric on the side closest to you with the pin angled toward the flower! See there- I’m not coming straight up then having to turn the pin over, it’s easier to come through the jacket with your pin already pointing towards the flower. Push the pin through the fattest part of the flower stem. Flip your hand to where the thumb is on top so you have a better angle to push the pin back through the fabric.

The goal is to come up through the jacket as close to the flower as possible, then back out through the jacket as close to the flower as possible.

If you do it right, the pin can’t be seen from the front and the sharp end is also protected by the fold of the lapel so it won’t poke the gentleman.

If you end with a floppy boutonnière or with the pin showing a lot, just redo it!

If you’d like a few more tips to help prepare for prom, join me for my Prom Prep online class. I teach it live, once a year to 9th-12th graders. It’s free, it’s less than 30 minutes and you’ll leave with the confidence of how to handle the big 5 etiquette and social situations you’ll encounter on Prom Night. Register and learn more at

Many thanks to Yeopim Flowers for the beautiful boutonniere!



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