The Boutonniere

A boutonniere is great way to add a bit of flair to an outfit; but when is it proper to wear one? And which flower should you be wearing? And how do you actually wear one? For answers to all these and more, read on.


The ever dapper Sean Combs, in a double-breasted pin-striped suit, complete with boutonniere

The how is pretty simple; all you need is a jacket with a working lapel buttonhole, and a fabric loop on the back of the lapel to hold the flower stem in place. If you jacket doesn’t have these, don’t worry; it’s easy enough for them to both be added. Just be careful, if your lapel isn’t canvassed, it may not be strong enough to support a larger flower.

As far as when you can wear one, the answer is also pretty simple: Whenever you feel like it. With a tie and pocket square combo, it adds that little extra level of dressiness to an outfit; and without a tie it can it can add a bit of interest to an otherwise simple outfit. The idea that a boutonniere should be reserved for formal occasions is completely incorrect, and doing so just limits you unnecessarily.

A working buttonhole and a loop on the back are a necessity. Image curtosy of Art of Manliness

A working buttonhole with a loop on the back are a necessity. Image courtesy of Art of Manliness

As for what flower to wear, much like everything else, that depends on the occasion. For formal events, stick with simple colours, like Red and White. For every other event, the colour matching principle is basically as the same as a pocket-square; match it with one of the other colours in your outfit.

Tom Ford in Black Tie with a white boutonniere

Tom Ford in Black Tie with a white boutonniere

Carnations and Roses


Carnations are great because they are relatively cheap, common, good-looking, and come in a range of different colours. Stick with red or white for formal occasions, but don’t be afraid to go a little crazy with you choice for more casual outfits.

Carnations are one of the most common boutonniere flowers in the United States, are the national flower of Spain, and show respect in Korea. In France however, carnations are a common funeral flower and considered unlucky outside of this setting. – The Art of Manliness, A Man and the Boutonniere



Think of Roses as more expensive Carnations; they come in just as many colours, and are just as appropriate. For a super-quick guide to the meanings behind different colour Roses, click HERE 



The Poppy is pretty much the universal symbol or remembrance, so wear it to memorial services, and on the various remembrance days.

Fake Flowers

Now, as nice as fresh flowers are, they don’t stay fresh forever, sourcing good ones can be a pain, and the cost can quickly add up; that’s where Fort Belvedere comes in. They’re certainty not the only ones making fake flowers, but they are definitely some of the nicest that I have seen; from a distance, you would think that they were real. You can also make more casual felt flowers yourself at home.


A more casual option, felt flowers can easily be made at home, or bought online.

A more casual option, felt flowers can easily be made at home, or bought online.



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