Lapel pins are a fun way to add personality and interest to a boring old suit. Whether you wear lapel pins often or are just beginning to experiment with them, you can craft a polished look that stands out from the crowd. By choosing a lapel pin and putting it on properly, you can wear a lapel pin with confidence. You can also learn how to style your pin for the most impact.
EditChoosing a Lapel Pin
- Try a stickpin if you’re starting out with lapel pins. Choose a stickpin for a classic look that’s secure and easy to wear. These pins have a pinhead with a design, a thin needle, and a collar that slides up and down the needle to secure it. This is the most common lapel pin, so wearing it ensures a timeless look.
- Use a magnetic-clasp pin to protect a nice suit. Choose a pin with a magnetic clasp to keep from putting a small hole in a cherished suit. These closures use 2 magnetic clasps to hold your pin in place through your lapel fabric. Unfortunately, these tend to be less secure than other types of pins.
- Use a screw-and-nut pin if you’re going to be active. Choose a screw-and-nut pin if you’ll be playing lawn games at a wedding or moving around a lot. These pins use threaded screws to hold the ends of the pin in place. They are considered the most secure clasp out of all the lapel pins.
- Experiment with butterfly-clasp pins to show off your cheeky side. Choose a butterfly clasp if you’ll be wearing a novelty pin. These pins have a sharp needle on one side and a cupped closure that grasps the needle on the other. Typically these pins are small and best suited to school emblems, flags, or other novelty shapes.
EditPutting on a Lapel Pin
- Position the pin on your left lapel. Plan to pin your lapel pin on the left side of your suit above the pocket. Unscrew or unclip any backings, and place them in a small dish in front of you so you don’t lose them. If you’ll be wearing a pocket square, choose a pin that won’t be covered by your handkerchief.
- Lapel pins are traditionally worn on the left hand side to be over the wearer’s heart.
- Stick your pin through the buttonhole on your left lapel. Thread the needle of your pin through your lapel’s buttonhole. The face of the pin should be sticking out of the hole facing forward, while the needle remains on the backside. Take care not to stick yourself while the backing of the pin is off.
- Pierce the pin straight through the lapel if you don’t have a buttonhole. If your suit doesn’t have a buttonhole, push your lapel pin gently through the fabric of your suit at a subtle angle that matches that of your lapel. Secure the backing. If you’re feeling nervous about doing this, ask a more experienced dresser or your tailor to do it for you.
- Pierce the bottom of a stickpin back through the front of your lapel. If you have a stickpin, look for the spot on the back of the lapel that will allow the fabric on the front of the lapel to lay flat between both ends of the pin. The pin should sit at the same subtle angle as your lapel. Push the needle through that spot to the front of the fabric.
- Attach the bottom of the stickpin so it shows on the front side of your lapel.
- It’s considered more modern to pierce the end of a stickpin back through the front of your lapel. If you want a more traditional or conservative look, leave the back of the pin on the backside of your lapel. You can simply reattach the back of the pin on that side of the lapel.
- If opting for the more conservative look, ask a tailor to sew an inconspicuous loop on the back of your lapel to hold your stickpin in place.
- Attach the backing if you have a butterfly, magnetic, or screw-and-nut clasp. Screw or clip the backing of your pin onto the needle to secure your pin. The backing should be hidden by the front of your lapel, while the head of the pin sticks out of the button hole.
- Adjust the pin as needed so it rests at the same angle as your lapel.
EditStyling a Lapel Pin
- Match the metal of your pin to your other accessories. Wear uniform metals on your belt buckle, cufflinks, watch, and pin for a cohesive look. This will help you look polished and effortless. For example, match a gold- or bronze-tone pin with gold and bronze accessories.
- Silver can provide a more casual alternative to warmer tone metals.
- Select a pin that’s proportional to the rest of your outfit. Avoid overly large pins that look comical, or worse, as if they might be a clown’s gag boutonniere. Your pin should enhance your overall appearance rather than being the focus of your outfit.
- If you’re just starting out, select a smaller pin until you get more comfortable crafting a complete look with a lapel pin.
- An associate at the department store can help you select a pin that’s the right proportion for your suit.
- Stick with tonal colors for a cohesive look. Choose a lapel pin that picks up colors in your tie or suit. This will add texture to your look without so much contrast that your pin is distracting.
- If you’re feeling bold, try choosing colors from the same part of the color wheel as your suit. A purple or green lapel pin could provide nice depth to a blue suit, whereas a red or orange pin might look gaudy.
- Neutral colors such as beige, gray, and black tend to go with everything, especially gray and black suits. Choosing pins in these colors will ensure your pin always matches your look.
- Try a personalized lapel pin. Create your own lapel pin at an online store, such as The Studio or Pin Depot. You can design a custom image that holds significance for you. For example, create a pin with your initials or a family seal for a personal touch.
- Choose a red or white floral pin for a tuxedo. Give a nod to the classic boutonniere by choosing a floral pin in red or white to wear with a tuxedo. The pin should be worn normally on the left lapel.
- Some floral pins even look like real flowers. Choose formal fabrics, such as silk or satin, with elegant accents, like pearl, for a sophisticated twist on the traditional boutonniere.
- Choose a design appropriate to your workplace. Wear lapel pins that are professional and office-appropriate for your job. While a nude woman or a knife on your lapel might be interesting for an art benefit, it’s not appropriate for work.
- A typewriter lapel pin might be an office-appropriate choice for a newspaper job, for example.
- When in doubt, stick with classic symbols, such as a fleur de lis or a feather, that aren’t apt to offend anyone.
- Wear only 1 pin at a time. Unless you’re in a special club, such as a military organization, wearing multiple pins at once can look cluttered and distracting. Choose just 1 pin at a time to keep the focus on you rather than your accessories.
EditSources and Citations
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