Lapel Pin Guide

August 01, 2019 5 min read

Lapel Pins - The Ultimate Guide

And why you should add them into your daily suit attire.

What Is a Lapel Pin?

A lapel pin is a small pin worn on the lapel of a jacket. Lapel pins serve no functional purpose to a gentleman’s outfit rather it adds a decorative touch to the overall look. Lapel pins come in different shapes and styles (from the American flag lapel pin you’ll see on government officials to the floral lapel pin you will see on the dapper gents you pass during your next professional mixer).

Alright, so what’s a Lapel?

A lapel is the part on each side of a coat or jacket immediately below the collar which is folded back on either side of the front opening.

The majority of lapels have a buttonhole (and you’ve guessed it) this is where your lapel pin goes.

The different types of lapel pin

BOUTONNIERES

Before lapel pins were lapel pins, there were (and still are) boutonnieres. A boutonniere is a real flower that sits in the buttonhole, these are usually used at weddings and prom (the good days, when life was easier).

FLOWER OR FLORAL LAPEL PINS

The successor to the boutonnieres, These pins look like flowers but are actually made of materials like polyester, satin and wool. Nowadays, these are among the most popular lapel pins you will see on any given day. They can come in the form of a pin or as a stick pin.

STICK PINS

The body of these pins are made of metal and are long and thin. The lapel sits at the top of the pin, whereas the needle and the cap (which are used to add and remove the pin on the jacket) usually sits at the bottom of the pin. You will usually see these types of lapel pins with an object on the top (i.e. an airplane, an anchor, etc) however floral lapel pins can also be stick lapel pins.

MINI PIN

These types of lapel pins (also known as enamel pins) are made from metal and are more subtle than any of the aforementioned pins. Instead of having a stick pointing down which threads through the lapel, they have a short pin which pierces directly through the material and is secured with a butterfly clasp. These pins can carry a symbolic meaning to them (Like a country's flag) or not (Like a pizza pin because why not?)

Where to place the lapel pin?

Place the lapel pin approximately where the lapel buttonhole is (on the upper part of the left lapel) or where it should be (unfortunately, some suits don’t come with a lapel buttonhole).

How do I wear a lapel pin?

Depending on the type of lapel pin you use, depends on the method you need to use to wear the lapel pin.

Stick Pin/Floral Stick Pin

  1. Remove the bottom cap of the lapel pin, you will see the needle
  2. Pierce the needle through the top of the lapel on your jacket.
  3. Bring the needle down and pierce it through the bottom of your lapel.
  4. Put the cap back on (and Wallah! You’ve added a lapel pin to your outfit)

Mini Pin/Floral Pin

  1. Remove the back piece of the lapel pin (or enamel pin)
  2. Push the needle through the lapel pin buttonhole
  3. Reattach the backing to the lapel pin (your lapel pin skills are increasing grasshopper)

Which Lapel Pin should I choose?

This is more of a question of your personality and how much of your personality you want to showcase (or not showcase).

Floral Lapel Pins - Want something that will separate you from the crowd? Want an icebreaker? Or maybe you just want compliments? (you know you do) These lapel pins are for you. They are highly noticeable and will catch eyes. They can come in any color.

Stick Pins - Equally as dapper as the floral lapel pins, these pins will also get you compliments but they aren’t as noticeable since they usually come in a few colors (gold, silver, bronze). If you want to crush the dapper competition around you but not garner too much attention, these lapel pins are for you.

Mini Pins - A great lapel pin choice for those who don’t want too much attention but still want to add spice to their outfit. The size of these lapel pins make them a bit harder to notice, especially from a distance.

What color lapel pin should I wear?

You can wear any lapel pin color as long as you can coordinate it well with the rest of your outfit. Still not sure which color lapel pin you should wear? Here’s some basic recommendations

Black & Dark Grey Suit

Go for either brighter color lapel pins (like pink, blue, green) or neutral color lapel pin (like white, grey, beige). Brighter color lapel pins will add a vibrant touch to your outfit. Neutral color lapel pins will add an elegant touch to the overall look.

Light Grey Suit

Go for either brighter color lapel pins (like red, green, orange) or dark color lapel pins (like burgundy, black, navy). Like the black suit, brighter colors will add a nice pop to your outfit. Darker color lapel pins will contrast nicely against the lighter suit color.

Navy Suit

Because navy suits are so versatile, you could use any of the above combinations to don with a navy suit. However, if we had to put it in an order of preference, it would go something like:

  1. Brighter Color Lapel Pins
  2. Neutral Color Lapel Pins
  3. Darker Color Lapel Pins

When should I wear a Lapel Pin?

Lapel pinsused to be only worn to special events, like weddings or networking events. Key phrase is “used to”. Nowadays, you can wear a lapel pin to any event that you dress up to. Personally, I wear lapel pins to : weddings, work, work-related events, happy hours, networking events, Chipotle (don’t hate), etc. I receive compliments left and right at these places when I wear them.

What type of Lapel Pin should I wear?

It really depends on the event you are going to, here are our recommendations

Work - The safe answer is to go withmini orstick lapel pins. However, if you play by your own rules (like I do) then add some Floral Lapel Pins into your work wardrobe. You’ll stand out at work, just make sure it’s not for the wrong reason (Noberto, the dapper aficionado who takes 1.5 hour lunches every day). 

Weddings - It’s a celebration! Go with any of the above, preferably Floral.

Networking Events - Depends on your goal at these types of events. If you are trying to be noticed and make connections, go with a floral or a stick lapel pin - people will gravitate toward you. If you are trying to just low-key mingle, opt for the mini lapel pin.

Church - Any of the above works really well.

Graduations - Any of the above works really well.

College - Depends on the type of college event.

Mock interviews - Mini Pins

Meeting Employers - Mini Pins

SGA - All of the Above

College Presentations - Floral or Stick

What can I wear the Lapel Pin with?

Depending on your style, you could wear a lapel pin with no men accessories and look dapper or a few men accessories and look extremely dapper. (men accessories = ties, bow ties, pocket squares/handkerchiefs).


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