In days past, the stem of a boutonniere was inserted through an actual buttonhole in the man’s left lapel. Today, a lapel might have a faux buttonhole, or maybe, none at all, so the boutonniere needs to be pinned.
- Hold the boutonniere by the stem with your left hand, the flower should face away from the viewer.
- Place the boutonniere on the wearer’s left lapel, approximately four inches down from the tip of the left shoulder. Make sure the flower is positioned correctly before pinning it in place.
- Hold a pin with your right hand, and starting from behind the lapel, push it through the fabric just beneath the head of the flower.
- Pierce through the flower stem, reinserting the tip of the pin into the fabric so that the tip of the pin ends up behind the lapel. Be sure that the flower is securely in place.
- Tug gently on the stem to be sure the boutonniere is properly fastened.
- Choose boutonniere placement – Traditionally, the boutonniere is supposed to be placed in the upper left region of a shirt, above the heart. If the shirt has a pocket, you can pin the boutonniere to the top section of the pocket.
- Weave the pin in and out of the fabric slightly to the right of your chosen placement – Insert the pin slightly to the right of where you’d like your boutonniere, pinning right to left. The pin should go into the fabric and then out of the fabric. An easy way to do this is to pinch the fabric and poke the pin through both layers.
- Weave the pin in and out of the fabric slightly to the left of your chosen placement, leaving a pocket for the boutonniere stem – Using the same pinch and pin technique, weave the pin in and out of the shirt on the left side of where you’re placing the boutonniere. The end of the pin should rest on the outside of the shirt when complete. The section in between where the pin punctures the shirt should be large enough for the boutonniere stem to fit through.
- Place your boutonniere – Pull the stem through the pocket created by the pin—the pin should not go through the stem. The flower should face the person pinning.
- Flatten fabric and check boutonniere – Pull the fabric around the boutonniere horizontally to make sure there are no bunches or wrinkles in the shirt. Check to make sure the boutonniere is fastened securely.
- Check the left lapel – The buttonhole on the left lapel should be open so that you can stick the stem through it, and there should be a boutonniere latch on the back of the lapel. A boutonniere latch is a horizontal string below the buttonhole that helps secure the stem.
- Slide the stem through the buttonhole and boutonniere latch – With the flower facing outwards, insert the stem through the buttonhole and boutonniere latch. No pins needed!
- Arrange and secure the flower – Check the front of the lapel to assure that the stem isn’t visible. Also, make sure that the flower is laying flat and is secure.
What flowers are commonly used for boutonnieres?
The best boutonniere flowers have sturdy stems and will not look wilted if they are out of water for an extended period of time. Roses, carnations and calla lilies are extremely popular boutonniere flowers. Baby’s breath, seeded eucalyptus, dusty miller and rosemary are common fillers.
However, don’t let that dissuade you from getting more creative with your boutonniere. Orchids, daisies, craspedia, succulents and more can be made into unique and beautiful boutonnieres.