A boutonniere is a collection of one or two small flowers pinned to the left lapel of a tuxedo or suit.
There are men who will dismiss the boutonniere as feminine. Nothing could be further from the truth. Great noblemen, warriors, and poets have worn flowers for over a thousand years. Soldiers headed to war have proudly worn flowers on their chests. In the United States every January, two of college football’s best teams square off wearing roses on their uniforms. The winners of our greatest athletic events are congratulated with bouquets of flowers. We even honor our fallen with poppies and other blooms.
Most men will only wear a boutonniere on special occasions like prom, anniversaries or a wedding. It is normally worn on the left lapel of a suit, sport jacket, blazer or overcoat. The boutonniere is always attached above a man’s heart, and it should be worn in the lapel’s button-hole.
Color choice of the boutonniere is important. Flowers should match the general color scheme of the wedding. Traditionally for proms, the woman purchases the boutonniere for her date. This allows her to select colors appropriate to her dress. When in doubt, a boutonniere made with a white rose, can usually go with virtually any other color, or any tuxedo style the man chooses.
When wearing a boutonniere you should also consider:
- Have no fear: Do not be afraid to be an individual. Wear a boutonniere because you want to.
- Size Matters: If you’re a small man, wear small flowers. If you’re a large man, consider something that is more befitting your size.
- Ladies First: A boutonniere is a single flower or a small collection of tiny blooms; never wear something unwieldy.