Boutonnière: The Overlooked Accessory

Boutonnière: The Overlooked Accessory

Mr. Derk would like to thank the Edmonton-based, family-owned franchise Bunches Flowers for supplying the floral arrangements for this article.

The boutonnière is a graceful accessory, one that should be worn more commonly than the odd summer wedding. They offer an intriguing juxtaposition to a suit in numerous ways:

  • it’s colour offers stark contrast to the typical stodgy brown, grey, or blue
  • the gentle curve of the flowers stands out against the sharp lines of the lapels and shoulders
  • for the more poetic, where the cut of men’s suits has barely changed over several decades, a flower is a delicate thing that is here today and gone tomorrow

Men should wear them out more often. So why don’t they?

What follows is a list of reasons for why men may not wear them, how they can be worn, and pieces of trivia to provide conversation points.

Are they expensive?

Most boutonnières will range between $5-12, depending on the florist. A beer or cocktail will cost as much, and they won’t position you as the best dressed in the room.

How long can I wear them?

Anywhere between 4-8 hours, depending on the heat. And they are definitely single use only.

Who has the time to get a boutonnière?

If you’re in contact with your florist ahead of time and can provide the colours of your outfit, they will certainly be able to prepare something entirely suitable. And most will have flowers on hand they can put together in less than 15 minutes.

What’s the right context to wear one?

The stylish define their own context, no matter where they are. But, for those who are sensitive to their surroundings and would like to ease into this accessory, events that are placed in nature or are nature themed provide a good entry-point.

How did boutonnières become popular?

Originally known as a “button-hole bouquet,” the boutonnière gained popularity in the 1850’s, a time when men would walk down the street, selecting flowers from local flower girls to place in their lapels. It added a bit of colour and individuality to their uniform. The arrangement would also mask odours in a time when personal hygiene was reserved for the aristocracy. 


Do I wear a tie, pocket square, and boutonnière?

If you’re not skilled at pattern/colour theory, pick two of the three, playing them off one another while using the colours of the suit/shirt as a backdrop. Your florist will offer excellent consult

Do I have to know what the flower means?

Flower meanings change with every culture. If you are attending an event centered around a particular ethnic practice, it’s best to do some research so you aren’t, say, wearing a lily associated with death to a wedding. But for the most part, it comes down to look, and most will be forgiving for any cultural trespasses.

Won’t this be really dressy?

Given that a boutonnière shows a lot of intention, to wear it down, one must bring down their wardrobe: leave the shirt unbuttoned, choose loafers without socks over laced up dress shoes, and warmer colours in your suit instead of a tuxedo black, which will inevitably insinuate “wedding.”

Or, be the man who owns being the best most intentionally dressed in the room.

Aren’t they a little too dressy?

Of course, but if you’re reading this, you likely care about being dressy.

But I mean, don’t they look too… intentional?

Yes, but all people who are stylish look intentional to some degree.


Sure, but can’t flowers come off as too… pretty?

Oh, we see what you’re asking.

Aren’t they too… feminine?

Certainly, flowers have a feminine connotation. But so does caring about how you look, or enjoying self-grooming, or buying clothes that do more than just cover you. And for most men, the ultimate obstacle is overcoming their shyness, a fear of being a peacock. But having style means standing out, it means being a leader, of doing things others disapprove of.

All this to say, it takes a real man to wear a damn flower

How do I attach the boutonnière?

Just watch this video for a run through by Bunches Flowers owner Sharon Armstrong.

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