What are Lapel Pins and How To Wear Them

A common question we get is “what are lapel pins?”

Ever wonder what the purpose of a lapel pin is or what that little buttonhole in your lapel is for? We’re here to tell you.

Everyone wants to express their own individuality and accessories are the perfect way to do that. Lapel pins can be symbolic for organizations and causes or purely decorative. They have evolved from when men used to wear living flowers on their lapels called boutonnieres. One of the most popular styles are flowers made of cotton or felt which are meant to resemble boutonnieres.

Casual lapel pins with cartoon characters or funny sayings have become a huge trend. They can be worn with off-duty outfits or even with blazers and suits when it’s appropriate.

what are lapel pins: casual pins

Dead Ringers Lapel Pins available in stores

Types of Lapel Pins

The pin through/stick pin is the most common type of backing consist of a long stem and a collar to secure the pin. This pins through the buttonhole of the lapel and is the most elegant backing. Hook & Furl, a fellow Canadian brand, has some beautiful handmade ones.
what are lapel pins: hook & furl

Photo credit: Hook & Furl

The butterfly clutch is popular because you don’t necessarily need a hole in the lapel to wear one. This backing consists of a tack pin that fastens on a clutch. When both sides of the clutch are pushed, the tack pin is released. This design is favoured for casual pins because it can be pinned anywhere from hats to bags to collars to chest pockets, and etc.


Now that we have the basic knowledge of the lapel pins, we will now look at the basic rules of wearing them.

  1. A lapel pin should always be worn on your left lapel. This is so that it helps to compliment your pocket square.
  2. A lapel pin should be appropriate for the occasion. Lapel pins can come in a variety of styles and looks. Wearing a casual looking pin in a formal event would be inappropriate, and vice versa.
  3. The colour of the pin should be complimentary to the outfit. It can be used to tie in a colour scheme of an outfit.
  4. If a metal part shows on the lapel pin, it should match the metal details on your watch, tie-bar, or belt.
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Whether you decide to wear a lapel pin or not, it is a great accessory to add a personalized touch to an outfit. Lapel pins don’t have to be limited to formal wear, as more casual lapel pins exist. Just remember the rules of wearing a lapel pin, and you should be able to complete the look of any outfit.

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