What tiny menswear item can instantly liven up a boring suit jacket? The forever fashionable lapel pin, of course.

The lapel pin is a classic menswear accessory that has made an impressive resurgence in recent years. Dating back to the 15th century during the War of the Roses, the modern lapel pin has evolved significantly, and it now comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles.

From the red carpet to everyday office attire, the lapel pin is a must-have menswear accessory. Here, we’ll answer your burning questions and teach you how to wear one like a modern-day gentleman:

What Is a Lapel Pin?

A lapel pin is a small pin that is fastened to the lapel of your suit jacket. Originally, many lapel pins were worn to signify achievements, but modern lapel pins are now worn as statement pieces.

Lapel pins are always fastened on the left side of a jacket. Some jackets have a buttonhole for this specific purpose, while others do not. If your jacket doesn’t have a buttonhole present, a tailor can easily add one for you.

closeup of square lapel pin

Types of Lapel Pins

From subtle badges to eye-grabbing florals, the lapel pin comes in many different styles. Here are the most common:

Boutonnieres

Boutonnieres are flower lapel pins.  They are the most formal type of lapel pin, and many men use real flowers for special occasions such as weddings or anniversaries.

While a real flower can be a bit too much for everyday wear, you can find material flowers that look just as dashing and more suitable for work or black-tie events.

Long-Stem Pins

Long-stem lapel pins have a material flower or design element on the end of a long, thin stem. Smaller than boutonnieres, they are perfect for both black-tie events and business formal attire. You will have far greater opportunities to sport these with your everyday suit style, so you may want to begin building an impressive collection of long-stem lapel pins now.

Badges

Back in the day, badges were symbols indicating an achievement of great honor. Today, modern gentlemen are now wearing lapel pins to add a touch of personality to their attire.

Badges come in all different shapes, sizes, metals, and finishes to suit any man’s personal style. They are also more subtle than floral lapel pins, making them a good choice for casual office wear.

bright flower boutonniere

When NOT to Wear a Lapel Pin

Lapel pins can and should be incorporated into your everyday suit style. However, there are a few times when you should pass on wearing a lapel pin.

Funerals and job interviews are the main occasions when you should not wear a lapel pin. Lapel pins are worn to liven up a suit and draw attention. Unless the accessory is small and modest, skip the lapel pin for those events.

How to Wear a Lapel Pin

As we’ve mentioned, lapel pins always go on the left lapel (the side with the heart),but there are a few other rules to keep in mind:

Position it properly: The lapel pin should be fastened through the buttonhole on the lapel (if your suit jacket has one) and be positioned above your pocket square.

Add a pocket square: Pocket squares aren’t necessary, but they do add a nice touch to your overall look when combined with a lapel pin.

Become familiar with the color wheel: Every man should become acquainted with the color wheel and understand how it works. This will help you expertly match your ties, pocket squares, and lapel pins to take your style up a notch.

For example, a red flower lapel pin looks stylish against a blue suit jacket, while a yellow flower lapel pin can liven up a gray suit jacket.

Do NOT use cufflinks as lapel pins: Perhaps you have glanced at your beautiful cufflinks and thought, “Why not fasten one to my lapel?” Cufflinks are noticeably different than lapel pins, and any well-dressed gentleman will be able to tell the difference.

Conclusion

Suits are rather boring on their own, but a lapel pin can instantly add character to your outfit. As they say, the devil is in the details. By taking advantage of this timeless classic, you can showcase your individuality in a classy manner.