Despite its associations, the buttonhole in your lapel was never meant for flowers. The original design comes from the military – when men used to button their jackets up to their neck, so they could stay warm. Over time, as the tailored jacket has evolved – from being a military garment to a frock coat to the suit jackets and sport coats we know today – the buttonhole has remained. It’s a bit like vents, which are a vestige from when tailored jackets were worn for sporting purposes.
Nobody really wears a boutonniere today outside of special occasions, but if you’re going to wear one, you may as well do it well. Sartorial Notes has a great video showing the process. Fundamentally, you want the flower to look as though it’s growing naturally from your jacket. Otherwise, if you just stick a flower into your lapel, the weight of its bud will eventually force the flower to flop over like a dead fish. You can also pin a flower to your lapel, but that’s less-than-great. The goal is to get something like what Tom Ford is wearing above.
All that starts with a trip to a skilled florist (although, finding a florist who can make a proper boutonniere can be its own challenge). Torsten from Sartorial Notes went to see Tage Andersen in Copenhagen. The video is in Danish, but readers can read the subtitles by clicking on closed captions. You can also see the full Sartorial Notes post here.