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How to Wear a Lapel Pin

The history of Lapel pins


These tiny, often overlooked accessories have a rich history that dates back to the American Civil War. They were first used as insignia to identify different military units. During the First World War, they began to be used as an award to recognise merit and distinguished service.It was then transitioned from military use to the broader sphere of politics and social groups.


One iconic historical instance of lapel pins serving as a powerful symbols is the widely popular Mao Tse Tung pins, which became the symbol of the Communist Party of China during the 1960s and 1970s, reflecting their deep political and social significance.


Lapel pins are no longer limited to the realms of military and politics now. They are proudly worn to display loyalty to a favorite band, to show support to a sports team and during a weddings, etc. .


Wearing a lapel pin into your attire can distinguish yourself from the crowd. If done right, it testifies to your excellent selection of dress and accessories that perfectly matches the occasion.


Here, you will find out all the necessary information required to decide when to wear a lapel pin, how to wear a lapel pin, what are its famous types and much more.


What are lapel pins?

what are lapel pins

A lapel pin is a small decorative pin typically worn on clothing, especially on the lapel of a jacket or attached to a bag, that serves as an ornamental accessory with no functional purpose but adding a stylish touch to one’s attire.


Types of lapel pins

types of lapel pins

These small yet elegant accessories are now being perceived as a symbol of affiliation, recognition, and personal expression. From the classic and refined enamel pins to the intricately designed cloisonné pins, each lapel pin serves as a canvas for conveying messages, commemorating achievements, or showcasing personal interests. Although there are plenty of lapel pins about the manufacturing process and their usage, some commonly used lapel pins are discussed here. Here you will know how are the lapel pins manufactured and where they are commonly used.


Classification according to the manufacturing process


Enamel Pins


Soft Enamel Pins: The pin’s base undergoes a plating process with gold, silver, gunmetal, or black. The concave enamel sections are color-filled and then polished, which delivers an intricately textured finish.


Uses: They are popular for commemorating events, organizations, or causes, and for promotional and branding purposes. Even Boutonniere and flower lapel pins also fall under the broader category of enamel pins.


Hard Enamel Pins: These lapel pins are metal-based with enamel that lies flush with the metal surface giving a polished and premium-quality appearance.


Uses: They are typically used at corporate events, award ceremonies, academic graduations, and official functions, and can also be worn by individuals to display affiliation with exclusive clubs or societies.


Die-Struck Pins


Die-struck pins are crafted when a die is pressed onto a metal base and provide a raised design without any color fill. So rather than color filling, they are plated with one or more metal options, to give a lustrous surface that enhances the overall design.


Uses: Their type spans into various usages like corporate recognition, or military and veterans, but mostly used for achievement and services due to clear finishing.


Offset Printed Pins

Offset Printed lapel pins transfer your design onto the pin’s surface, and thereby incorporate one or multiple color gradients or fade effects. These pins are used to replicate any design you provide and also serve as an example of your creative vision.


Uses: The Offset Printed lapel pins are perfect for designs that use actual photographs as a backdrop and they don’t need metal separation for each colour. This means the design potential is endless and complicated corporate logos can be easily realised.


Laser-Etched Pins


Laser etching engraves intricate and precise designs onto the pin’s metal surface and offers fine and enduring details. These pins utilize thinner metal plates.

Uses: Laser-etched pins offer the opportunity to craft distinctive textures and patterns on the metal, including woodgrain, stippling, and artistic effects. They are frequently used for personalized name pins and to commemorate honourable historical events, individuals, or milestones.


Photodome Pins


Photodome lapel pins are created through a photographic process, and then a layer of epoxy dome is applied for image protection and enhancement. They are ideal for designs that may be challenging for methods like die-striking or enamel filling. The pins are created by an offset printing process to replicate complex logos or images that directly print onto metal. This technique is particularly useful when clients demand designs with multiple color fillings or color gradients.


Uses: They can be worn to welcome chief guests at events, for educational purposes in schools, for cufflinks, name badges, keychains, etc. .


Placement of lapel pins

placement of lapel pins

There are three common places to wear your lapel pins.


1. Your blazer’s buttonhole


To wear a lapel pin traditionally, fix it to your left lapel. For blazer, insert the pin through or over the lapel buttonhole. Ensure the pin is situated north of any pocket square. If your suit blazer lacks a dedicated lapel pinhole, securely attach it to the fabric.


2.   In the middle of your tie


When not wearing a blazer, lapel pins can still be stylish. You can place one at the center of your tie. Lapel pins complement solid-colored ties well. However, if you are wearing a blazer, it’s advisable to keep the lapel pin attached to it for important meetings.


3.   With a stylish dress shirt


No blazer or tie? No problem! Lapel pins can be worn regardless. When wearing a dress shirt, place the lapel pin on the left side, near the heart. Wearing a lapel pins can give others an impression that you are a successful business elite. 


When to wear a lapel pin?


Now that you know how how lapel pins makes your outfit look more classy and make you look better, we now proceed to when to wear and when not to. Wearing it on the right occasion will make a lasting impression on the people around you.


Formal events


Formal events are ideal for displaying lapel pins. When attending formal or black tie affairs in a tuxedo, the lapels are typically picked and represent the utmost formality and style. They are placed on the left lapel in a functioning buttonhole.


Similarly, boutonnières are also trendy at weddings and suit best with white colour as the it is the most formal colour. Other colours and varieties of flowers like lavender, roses, and sunflowers are also gaining popularity in wedding of different themes.




Lapel pins are a symbol of accomplishment or affiliation for employees in some enterprise. Although this tradition is less prevalent now, this practice remains in some enterprise of rich history.


Everyday wear


Not every lapel pin is appropriate for everyday routine. For example, it will be inappropriate to wear rose pins at offices. That’s where long-stemmed lapel pins enhance your daily office attire. Additionally, badges and mini pins can also be worn over casual jackets, sweaters, or duffle coats, adding some characteristic and personality to your outfit.


When not to wear lapel pins?


While lapel pins are a versatile accessory worn in various settings, there are certain situations and environments where it will be rather inappropriate to wear them. Here are some instances when lapel pins should not be worn.


Formal Funerals – It is generally inappropriate to wear decorative lapel pins at formal funerals or memorial services. Dressing in somber and respectful attire is more appropriate in such settings.


Job Interviews – While a subtle lapel pin can be a stylish accessory, it’s advisable to keep it minimal and not eye-catching, when attending a job interview. The focus should be on your qualifications and skills rather than your accessories.


High-Stakes Professional Meetings – In high-stakes business or professional meetings, it’s often recommended to maintain a conservative appearance. Excessive or flashy lapel pins can sometimes be distracting and may not be serious enough for the occasion.


Court Appearances – When appearing in court, it’s best to dress conservatively and avoid distracting or attention-grabbing lapel pins. The focus should be on the legal proceedings.


Selecting the lapel pin with the right fixing arrangements


There are a wide range of lapel pins available, each characterized by their distinct way of fastening. The following are some of the most prevalent mechanisms to fastening a lapel pins.


Butterfly clutch


The most traditional fastening method for most lapel pins is the butterfly clutch. It involves inserting a nail-like prong into the material and then securing it with a circular clutch. It is squeezed for both attachment and detachment of lapel pins. 


Rubber PVC Clutch


These backings are fit for vibrant and playful pins, as they are available in a wide range of colors, and complement matching appearance with the pin’s design. They are similar to butterfly clutches but crafted from durable rubber, and also come with plastic alternatives. 


Stem Style Clutch


Similar to standard clutches, they feature an extended prong and are protected by rubber or metal at the sharp tip. They are particularly best for pins designed to penetrate heavy fabrics or multiple layers.


Ball Locking Clutch


They are similar to flathead clutches and are distinguished by a small ball at the clutch end. They are often referred to as “jewelry clutches” due to their appealing aesthetics. These clutches have an internal locking mechanism that ensures the pin’s security.


How to wear a lapel pin?


There are five steps to wear a lapel pin:


Step 1 – Wear your lapel pin on the upper left side of your suit, just above the pocket.  When wearing a shirt with pocket with a handkerchief, ensure the lapel pin does not hide behind it and is above the top of your pocket and handkerchief. Lapel pins are traditionally positioned on the left side and highlight their placement over the wearer’s heart.


Step 2 – Gently insert the pin’s needle through the buttonhole on your lapel and ensure that the pin’s face emerges from the hole, facing forward. The needle should be positioned on the back. Avoid striking yourself with the pin needle while the pin’s backing is removed.


Step 3 – When there is no buttonhole on your suit, insert the lapel pin through the fabric at a slight angle, aligning it with the lapel’s orientation.


Step 4 – For stickpins, locate the area on the back of the lapel where the fabric on the front will lie flat between both ends of the pin. Align the pin to match the lapel’s subtle angle, and insert the needle through that precise location, bringing it to the front of the fabric. Secure the bottom of the stickpin, ensuring it is visible on the front side of your lapel.


Step 5 – To secure your pin, insert the backing by either screwing or clipping it onto the needle. The backing should remain concealed behind the front of your lapel, with the pin’s head extending through the buttonhole.


Care and maintenance of lapel pin


Following are some tips to care for and maintain the shine and appearance of your lapel pin it deserves:

  • Don’t place lapel pins near reactive chemicalsto avoid damage to the finish.
  • Use warm water, mild soap, and a soft cloth piece to clean your lapel pin.
  • Prevent prolonged exposure to light and heat to avoid fading and color changes.
  • Clean your lapel pin at the end of the day to avoid diminishing the beauty and sparkle of the lapel pin.


Why Medals China?


When it comes to selecting a lapel pin manufacturer, MEDALS CHINA stands out as your optimal choice. With a rich experience and a sterling reputation, we have earned the trust of numerous satisfied customers worldwide.


Our prowess in customization options knows no bounds. We believe in turning your ideas into tangible masterpieces. Our team works tirelessly to ensure your design is flawlessly realised, making the lapel pins you truly wants.


Quality control is our utmost priority. Every lapel pin that leaves our facilities undergoes rigorous inspections, guaranteeing that you receive a product of the highest quality and craftsmanship.


Diverse materials and finishes, selected to suit your needs, enable us to create lapel pins that exceed your expectations.


Fast production time is a promise we uphold. We understand the urgency of your projects, and our efficient processes ensure that your order is delivered promptly.


We cater to various budgets with a flexible pricing structure, making our high-quality lapel pins accessible to all.


But it’s not just about the pins; it’s about the experience. Our commitment to exceptional customer service ensures your journey with MEDALS CHINA is seamless, transparent, and beyond satisfactory.


What’s next?


Choose MEDALS CHINA for excellence in quality, customization, and service. Your perfect lapel pins await – contact Medals China now to make your design a reality.

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