Unpacking the Boutonniere

Unpacking the Boutonniere

You may remember the boutonniere as that hard-to-pronounce thing made out of flowers, pinned to the lapel of your rental tux by someone’s mom on prom night. But if you’re about to be in a wedding party—or tie the knot yourself—expect to be reacquainted.

Boutonnière is actually French for “buttonhole.” That’s also why it looks like a tongue-twister at first sight. Just think of its pronunciation as “boot in ear” and you’ll be fine.

As the name suggests, this collection of flowers is meant to reside in a buttonhole. Specifically, the small, button-less hole at the top of your suit jacket’s left lapel. However, not all lapel buttonholes are functional: some are not pierced all the way through and exist solely for looks. A working lapel buttonhole is often the sign of a well-made jacket.

It was common for men to wear boutonnieres in the past, but today the accessory is saved for the most formal of occasions—such as weddings. In this setting, boutonnieres can highlight an existing part of a suited look, or offer a contrast.

The matching element is accomplished by tying a part of the boutonniere’s color to a color present in the suit. A subtle way to do this is to match the green of the stem with a green tie.

Alternatively, the typically bright color of a boutonniere is a great way to add contrast to a traditional black tie look. The flowers will clash with an otherwise black-and-white ensemble—and that’s precisely the point.

 Photo:   Kelli Elizabeth
Main Photo Credit: Kelli Elizabeth
Collar ID: The Cutaway

Collar ID: The Cutaway

Caring For Your Suit

Caring For Your Suit