Should an Enamel Pin Match Your Tie?

October 16, 2023

If you want to add a bit of personality to your boring old suit, try lapel pins.

From the classic boutonnieres, awareness ribbons, promotional badges, American flags, and sports memorabilia, among other custom designs, lapel pins are making a comeback in a big way. These cute little accessories are a fun way to add some accent to your look.

For decades, lapel pins were only worn by politicians or guests at formal events but now they are increasingly becoming popular among all kinds of folks.

These cute accessories can be attached to a jacket, shirt, or tie to polish the look and make you stand out in the crowd. Lapel pins can also signal your solidarity with a cause, show that you are affiliated with a particular club, or promote your business. You can also order pins for use at events. Fundraisers, conventions, graduations, and trade shows are examples of events where pins are greatly utilized. They are given to donors and supporters in recognition of their efforts.

There are lapel pins of all materials, themes, and designs to go with even the non-traditional attires. But there's some complexity surrounding the art of wearing lapel pins. Because the rules of how to dress for formal events have been loosened a bit, you don't want to look like you are trying too hard, but at the same time, you shouldn't also look like an amateur. After all, lapel pins are a way to add some class in your appearance. Do it the wrong way, and you are definitely going to look silly.

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Lapel pin on your jacket

Lapel pins can always be attached to the buttonhole of your jacket or shirt's left lapel. The pin should be worn slightly above the heart. Always follow the angle of your jacket or shirt's buttonhole when applying the pin, don't just stick it directly up in the middle.

Lapel pin on your tie

If you are wearing a tie without a jacket on, you can also wear your lapel pin on your tie just like you'd do with tie bars. Choosing where on the tie to place your lapel pin is very crucial to the success of the whole look. People always make the mistake of placing tie accessories either too high or too low. The perfect position is toward the middle of the tie, usually between the fourth and third buttons.

The lapel pin should be proportional to your tie's width, neither too large to appear distracting nor too small to serve a purpose. Most importantly, if you are going to wear the lapel pin on your tie, you should not leave the tie swinging freely as if you were stumbling home after a night of partying and drinking. Kindly attach the pin to your shirt.

But knowing how to put on a lapel pin is not all; you should also know how to style a lapel pin. Most importantly, should the lapel pin match your tie?

The answer is yes, always match your lapel pin to your tie. Inasmuch as the rules of formal dressing have been relaxed a bit, there's just so much you are allowed to do to style your lapel pins. The last thing you want is a pin that makes you look like a clown. The important thing to keep in mind when styling a lapel pin always maintains a cohesive look. Here is how to style a lapel pin:

Styling an enamel pin

If you are wearing cufflinks, a belt buckle, lapel pin, watch, and tie bar, the last thing you want to look like is a Christmas tree or as if you are dressing up for Mardi Gras.

1. Maintain a cohesive look with tonal colors

The best lapel pin should emphasize the colors in your suit or tie. It should add consistency to your look. Don't choose contrasting colors that are going to make you stand out for all the wrong reasons. This is not the time to color clash at all. Your enamel pin color should be from the same color group as your suit

If you want a bold look, pair a blue suit with green or purple enamel lapels. This adds a nice depth to the suit. Don't pair it with an orange or red pin; this will make the look tasteless.

  • ‍For those who have a grasp the color wheel

To correctly color style a lapel pin, all you need is a basic understanding of color theory. On a color wheel, colors that are directly opposite each other are contrasting, but because they balance each other out, these are complementary colors. The same goes for colors sitting right beside each other; these are complementary colors too.

Style your pin to compliment your suit or tie by going for the latter group of colors, i.e., colors that sit beside each other in the same color group, not the opposite. These are called tonal colors. Tonal colors just mean the different shades of colors belonging to the same big color group. For example, light purple and dark purple are tonal colors. The opposite of tonal colors is contrasting colors. Avoid contrasting colors.

  • ‍Go with neutral colors if you don't know a thing about color theory.

Beige, black, and gray are neutral colors. These pair well with everything. If you are not familiar with the color wheel, go with neutral colors to be on the safe side. For example, you can pair a beige lapel pin with a gray or black suit, a light gray suit with a dark color pin, or even red, green, or orange pins.

2. The color of your lapel pin should match other metals on your outfit.

As mentioned earlier, if you are wearing cufflinks, a tie bar, belt buckle, lapel pin, and a watch, ensure these metals colors match. For example, a silver lapel pin with a silver watch, a gold belt buckle with a gold tie. Always go for uniform metals. These may sound like too much, but it is these subtle details that make a difference.

By putting a lapel pin on, you want a polished, effortless look. Avoid contrasting colors on your accessories. If you want warmer tones, silver is an excellent alternative to the orange, red, and yellow color combinations; you won't look too edgy with silver lapel pins, belt buckles, watch and tie bar on.

3. Patterns should be different but complementary.

The third rule of styling lapel pins is patterns. Lapel pins should work together along with your other accessories and complement each other.

However, when it comes to patterns, don't create a single distinct pattern all through your outfit. For example, lapel pins and tie featuring hearts, or polka dots all throughout get tasteless and overwhelming really quick.

Instead, pick different but complementary patterns for the tie and lapel pin for an exciting look. For example, florals and polka dots mingle well if you are going for a flirty look. You can also pair them with animal prints or even stripe-sy lapels.

However, if you opt to maintain the same pattern all throughout, at least vary the size and colors of the patterns. For example, pair polka dots of different sizes and colors.

4. The lapel pin should be proportional to your out.

There are always people who are going to make the mistake of getting overly large pins that they end up looking like clowns. The same can be said for those who choose very teeny tiny lapel pins, so you won't even notice them. Avoid such silly grievous mistakes. Just be moderate; the lapel pin shouldn't be the focus of your outfit, but it should also improve your personality and send a message.

  • ‍Beginners should start with small pins.

For beginners, always start with smaller pins. At this time, you are not yet a pro. Those small traditional flower pins in neutral color options will just do fine until you are experienced enough to push the boundaries and create comfortable looks with bold lapel pins. But always make sure the size of the pin is proportional to your outfit.

  • ‍Ask for help

Don't hesitate to ask for help. After all, what are friends for? Sometimes you see people who have put on a very wrong lapel pin for their suit or tie, they end up looking like clowns, and all you do is wonder if they just pick the pin on the road and decide to try it on? Why didn't they just ask for help from the associate at the store where they bought the lapel pin? Oh, and ladies, don't let your man go out without helping him style his lapel pin, these guys sometimes need all the help they can get.

5. For tuxedos, go with traditional floral pin designs.

Floral lapel designs in red or white colors are excellent for tuxedos and can be worn at any time, not just for special occasions such as weddings and proms. The floral lapels complement the tuxedo's classic theme.

The floral design should not be so over-the-top unless that is your intention. The classic red and white colors will just do fine. The size should be proportional to the rest of your outfit.

Floral lapel design comes in different materials such as cotton, enamel silk, and satin; they can also be real live flowers. For an elegant twist, to the classic boutonniere, go with the formal satin and silk fabric.

For the lapel's stickpin, you can opt for traditional clasps such as the Screw & Nut Stick Pins, Safety Pins, and Butterfly Clutch or opt for the modern magnetic backing that is gentle on your satin and silk tuxedo material. For traditional stick pins, you can display them on the front of the enamel pin or leave them hidden if you don't want an edgier look.

6. Don't over accessorize

Unless you are a military general or dressing up as one, just one pin at a time is enough. Wearing multiple lapel pins at the same time can mess up your look. The pins become the point of focus rather than you.

In as much as it sounds a bit ironic, an understated design helps achieve a sophisticated look more than a pop of colors. So, resist the temptation to put on multiple lapel pins no matter how cool they are. That is unless you are dressing up for a cause, and it's when it's okay to go all out to attract attention and raise awareness.

When to wear lapel pins

In fact, lapel pins come in different kinds of materials, designs, color, and themes that it is easy to find a pin suitable for any occasion. Lapel pins are damn convenient and lovely accessories. There are only a few situations where wearing a lapel pin might seem inappropriate; otherwise, you can definitely wear a lapel pin to formal and non-formal events, including during workdays or even when just going out for drinks with your buddies.

For office wear, make sure the lapel pin is appropriate for the workplace. Ensure you look professional; this is not the time to show what sports or artists you are in love with. Of course, when in doubt, you can never get it wrong with classic designs, feathers and boutonnieres will work just fine.

For everyday wear, let your freak flag fly; just make sure the color, size, and pattern match your suit as stated above. But in terms of theme, you can get activated for a cause, get playful and show your personality, and so much more. Lapel pins are totally for everybody!

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