Pulled in closely to the buttonhole
I’ve watched videos online about the boutonnière, the flower for the buttonhole in your jacket lapel.
Sadly, none of the videos communicate how to insert the most important lapel flower, the carnation boutonniere, properly.
You see, a carnation boutonniere should sort of grow naturally from the buttonhole in your lapel. That’s what I like based on tradition. Check photos of Cary Grant, Noël Coward, The Duke of Windsor and the rest. None of them carries a carnation swaying on the top of the lapel, or sticking out from the lapel buttonhole. They all wear a carnation that has been pulled in closely to the lapel. The online educators don’t get that natural carnation boutonniere style right.
A carnation boutonniere from a florist
Before inserting a carnation in a lapel buttonhole you need to make it ready. A raw carnation will break, if you try to fit it to the lapel buttonhole, including to a wide English lapel buttonhole. In other words, you have to visit a skillful florist.
Preparing this blog post and video I contacted the most famous florist in Copenhagen, Tage Andersen. He showed me from start to finish how to make ready a carnation for a lapel buttonhole.
He doesn’t make many carnation boutonniere nowadays, he told me. In fact very few. It stopped 40-50 years ago, when men gave up wearing formal wear at a regular basis. Moreover, when people need a flower for, say, a wedding today they ask for a small bouquet of lapel flowers instead of a classic one-flower boutonniere.
The skill to make ready a carnation he still has, though. Watch the video.