Many proper gardeners wore shirt and tie but few wore the button hole flowers they grew. We are starting a campaign to bring back button holes!
Buttonholes are ‘not just for weddings’ but they have dropped down the fashion stakes as gardeners have concentrated on garden design rather than sartorial elegance. How many gardeners now wear a suit and tie to work but pre war that was a different matter.
I am thinking of starting a campaign to bring back the regular wearing of a floral buttonhole but first I intend growing more buttonhole flowers.
National buttonhole day could be on your particular anniversary, April Fools day or my choice would be 30th June to offer a good selection of flowers.
Flowers For Buttonholes
- I was torn between a Rose bud and several other species for the top of the list but Roses won. There are numerous varieties and colours now available and you can cut many buttonhole flowers from one plant.
- A close runner up is the Carnation which can be stylish or outlandishly blousy depending on your choice. A bit more care may be needed to grow these in perfect condition but from under glass they should come out perfect.
- Regional variations are worth a strong mention with Purple Heather for Scottish themes and Daffodils for Welsh. The miniature, tete-a-tete and jonquilla varieties of Daffodil make them easier to manage in your buttonhole. On certain days key plants feature like the White Rose on August 1st in Yorkshire and the Leek on St David’s day.
- I have seen a variety of buttonhole flowers including Calla Lily, Sweetpea, Gardenia, Orchids, Gerbera, Lenten rose and Lily of the Valley. Usually these have been linked to a wedding theme.
- Often the buttonhole is softened with a bit of greenery which can also be grown in the garden.
- The most famous buttonhole must be the Red Poppy used on remembrance day and the weeks leading up to it.
Tailors call the flower a boutonnieres and Timothy Broderick and Antonio Centeno on knol offers several appropriate observations including the following pointers.
Important Boutonniere Points
- Use only fresh, real flowers – no fake ones. Gentlemen do not wear cardboard pocket squares, clip-on neckties/bowties, nor do they don artificial flowers.
- Ensure color harmony with your boutonniere and the rest of your outfit (suit, shirt, necktie, and pocket square).
- A boutonniere is a single flower, not a small bouquet. No baby’s breath or leaves should show.
- You may find small vases that either hang from the lapel buttonhole or hold onto the lapel by a magnet, and these are fantastic. Wear them on the back of the lapel, though. Your lovely flower is the point of interest, not what’s holding it, and the vase should not be seen. If the vase makes the lapel bulge, don’t wear it.
- Wear the boutonniere with confidence. Once you have decided to wear a boutonniere, let it be as the jacket to you. It’s another item on your body, it’s neither weird nor hammy.
- Install the flower into the jacket lapel and leave it alone unless it requires adjustment.
- Heads will turn to the man wearing a boutonniere, so don’t feel self-conscious, rather, let the attention bolster your self-confidence. Don’t fidget with the flower or remove it in the middle of the day, unless its appearance is significantly diminished or the flower is damaged.’