Have you ever wondered, why is there a buttonhole on the left lapel of your suit jacket, but there is no complimenting button nor another buttonhole on the right lapel?
There are many theories and sayings to the origin and the actual purpose of the lapel buttonhole. One of the most popular saying is that the lapel buttonhole started from Prince Albert. It was claimed that he cut a hole on his lapel to place a small bouquet of flowers received from his bride, Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, as a gesture of courtesy.
There was another theory whereby suit jacket used to have actual buttons on the underside of the left lapel (which is on the opposite side), which you could button up during cold, windy weathers.
No one has a right answer to what the lapel buttonhole is really for. However in present times now, the main function of the lapel buttonhole would be for accessorising. Gents generally fasten their favourite lapel pins on the lapel to add extra character to their suits, and sometimes boutonnières.
Different Types of Lapel Pins
Lapel pins commonly come in a form of long-stem pins. Made of different types of metals, these long-stem pins have a long and thin needle extending out which can be attached through the lapel buttonhole. So how do you pin it on the suit lapel?
Remove the stud which is attached at the end of the lapel pin and stick it through the lapel buttonhole.
To safely secure the lapel pin on the suit lapel, pierce the end of the needle through the inner fabric layer of the lapel.
You will notice that some tailored suits have a loop attached at the back of the lapel, below the lapel buttonhole. It is to ensure that the lapel stem remains secure without having to poke through the fabric. If you wear a long-stem lapel pin frequently, just request your tailor to include the loop for you!
(Client Kai in his tailored 2-Piece Suit with matching Boutonnière)
See also: Wedding Suit Ideas for the Grooms
Boutonnières are in a form of flowers pinned onto your suit, and it is most appropriate for formal occasions, such as weddings or black-tie events. Simply put the flowers through the lapel buttonhole and fasten it down with a pin, or through the loop as mentioned before. It is true that fresh flowers will wither after a few hours. If you are attending an event which requires long hours, you may opt for faux flower pins as well!
Pins and badges are also very useful accessories to attach on your lapel buttonhole. Unlike the long-stem lapel pins, they come with a clasp in forms of butterfly, rubber or magnetic clips. You may choose to attach enamel pins/badges which best speak to your soul and bring out your own distinct character!
Never overlook this part of accessorising as it is able to upgrade your look in an instance! There are so many options for colours and designs of lapel pins to choose from, hence there is always one which is appropriate for any occasions. Be it for business, formal events or everyday wear, having a lapel pin can accentuate your suit with flair!
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