The Newsroom

Return to Newsroom




Hello everyone, and welcome to The Rakish Man. My name is Léon Philippe and I am here with all the right responses to your sartorial queries. I’ve poured my first glass of Grand Marnier, so let’s get started.

Dear Léon,

What&rsquos the proper way to wear a boutonnière? I see more and more men wearing things in their lapel from pins to fake flowers to living flowers. I like the idea of adding some color but I want to get it right.

Thank you,

Petaled in Pittsburgh

Dear Petaled,

Thank you for your query. This is indeed one of the urgent issues that vexes right-thinking clothes-wearing men of our time.

First of all, I reject out of hand your suggestion of “living flowers.” The logistical difficulties of carrying around a vessel with enough earth to keep a plant alive are overwhelming. Perhaps some sort of basket could be devised on the opposite side of the lapel, but this may create unsightly bulging, and there’s already quite enough of that on the person of the modern gentleman.

The breast pocket may offer fertile ground. Certainly it could hold enough dirt for a modest bluet, or nightshade. Alfalfa may be too ambitious. But under this strategy you would likely be restricted to always wearing each jacket with its indigenous plantlife, as continually moving the entire habitat from one jacket to another would challenge even the greenest thumb. Moreover, even if kept in the same jacket, confining the soil to the interior of the breast pocket must be considered an impossibility. Lighter beiges and creams must then be absolutely avoided, and they are among the most pleasing tones to wear in summer.

That said, I would hate to be responsible for the deflowering of dandies worldwide. 

Therefore I would suggest that instead of living flowers, we use dead ones. Of course, one might question if a flower should pay with its life for the vanity of man. But I have never had much patience for one, and wonder why writers continue to hypothesize about his beliefs and habits. For a gentleman’s vanity, no price is too high, especially when someone else is paying.

Now, you may wonder how a gentleman might procure his daily flower. If you have a floorist near you, you could include a visit in your morning rituals. It may seem strange that floors and flowers are sold in the same place, but this practice finds its origins in 17th century England, when landed lords wanted to harmonize their indoor and outdoor ground coverings. Of course, in our vulgar age, people no longer care, nor perhaps even realize, that a garden of hydrangeas outside and floors of malachite inside is an abomination. But floorists still sell flowers to maintain the proud traditions of their guild.

If you have no floorist near you, you could try growing your flowers at home. I found a couple of plants at a Swedish specialty store that are very hardy companions indeed. They require almost no watering, and I simply clip one off each morning to wear in the butthole of my lapel.

So there you have it, Petaled. Please do report back on your successes. By the by, if you are handy with an Allen wrench, I’ve been testing my fine motor skills on some rare and delicate furniture (from same aforementioned Swedish boutique), and could use some guidance if you could be so kind.


Ed. note: If you have a query for The Rakish Man, please send an email to david at nomanwalksalone  dot com and I will make sure he sees it.