Over the past several years, lapel pins have made a fashion comeback. For decades, they were used only for formal events but nowadays are worn with everyday outfits and have become a popular mode of self-expression.
A lapel pin is the perfect subtle accessory that adds style and flair to any outfit, no matter the occasion.
Are you interested in wearing a lapel pin but aren’t sure where to start? Keep reading for more information on this style option and how to wear a lapel pin correctly.
What Is a Lapel?
Lapels are the folded fabric flaps that sit above the buttons and under the collar of a suit jacket or blazer.
On the upper left-hand side of the lapel is a buttonhole that is either open or stitched shut. These buttonholes were initially constructed to fasten a jacket closed but are now used primarily for lapel pins.
Different Types of Lapel Pins
The term “lapel pin” refers to all accessories used to enhance the lapel on a jacket or blazer. They come in many different shapes, sizes, colors, and materials depending on the pin type.
Typically worn at weddings, funerals, proms, and other formal events, a boutonniere is a natural flower that sits in the buttonhole on a lapel. There’s usually a thread behind the lapel where you can keep the stem in place and hidden from plain sight.
Floral Lapel Pins
Floral lapel pins look real but are made of silk, cotton, linen, or satin. They pin on like boutonnieres but are reusable and often smaller in size.
Stick pins are often made from gold, copper, or silver. They are shaped like a needle with an object or shape sitting at the top. The point of the pin threads through the lapel and inserts neatly into a metal fastener.
While you wear most lapel pins as style accessories, badge pins often carry a more symbolic meaning. They represent a group, club, or achievement, such as lions club pins, and are often worn by club associates, politicians, and members of the military.
Brooches fasten with a hinged pin and are typically larger than other types of lapel enhancements. They usually contain a precious metal or stone embellishment and represent a more vintage style.
How to Wear a Lapel Pin
The only rule for lapel pins is that you should wear them on the top of the left lapel, approximately where the buttonhole should be. Some suits may have buttonholes on both sides, but you should always wear a lapel pin on the left-hand side.
If you choose to wear a lapel pin with the pin showing, it should always run parallel to the lapel rather than straight up. For a boutonniere, floral lapel pin, or large brooch, the flower or object should face away from your chest.
Like any stylish accessory, a lapel pin should be a subtle accent to your outfit and should never overpower your look.
When Should You Wear a Lapel Pin?
Lapel pins have become increasingly popular and add style and personality to jackets and blazers.
Now that you know how to wear a lapel pin, you can use them as subtle accessories for any occasion. Whether with formal attire, or a more casual look, wear them when you want to express yourself or add flair to a simple outfit.
If you enjoyed reading this article, check out our Fashion and Lifestyle sections for more helpful tips and tricks.
Wayne Probert is a senior reporter at Zobuz, covering state and national politics, and he is a grantee with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Before joining Zobuz, he worked as a freelance journalist in Kentucky, having been published by dozens of outlets including NPR, the Center for Media.