As of late, Mr. Peacock has noticed an abundance of peacocks sporting boutonnières. Mind you, most of these peacocks aren’t wearing boutonnières in the traditional sense, which was usually reserved for formal occasions such as weddings or proms, but are donning this floral decoration in a more casual and modern manner. I think it’s a subtle nod to nature, and also a way of making your own mark in this cookie-cutter world of mainstream menswear. The cashier at my local market looked casually dandy last week, with an artificial sunflower (about 4” in diameter) pinned to the pocket of his denim jacket. I also noticed an acquaintance, at a beer bust (of all places), wearing a real flower pinned to his cap. That probably doesn’t qualify as a boutonnière, but you get the idea.
Historically, the boutonnière has symbolized a sense of sartorial elegance—and it still does.
Many great men have worn boutonnières including: 1. Muhammed Ali 2. Oscar Wilde 3. Marcel Proust 4. Fred Astaire 5. Yes, even Captain Kangaroo wore a boutonnière 6. Pete Townshend 7. Duke of Windsor 8. James Cagney.
These modern gentlemen also have donned some sort of boutonnière in their wardrobe:
1. Jean Paul Gaultier 2. Robin Renucci 3. Tom Ford 4. André Benjamin.
Numerous fashion designers have also been favoring a modern boutonnière. The Dsquared2 boys showed some boutonnières at their Fall 2009 Collection (see below).
Dean & Dan Caten, the Canadian designer twins of Dsquared2, looking classically elegant after their runway show (see above)—adorned with red boutonnières, which appeared to be crumpled and pressed red satin.
Menswear designer, Antonio Azzuolo, also showed boutonnières with his dapper Fall/Winter 2008/09 Collection.
Philip Lim showed crocheted boutonnières adorning his jackets. Creative peacocks like, Rene in Berlin, crocheted a boutonniere in his own style. If you like the look of this handmade flower, but don’t crochet, you can order one here (see photo above).
Mr. Peacock has always fancied black silk roses worn as a boutonnière. I’ll push the silk flower stem through the lapel buttonhole on my YSL suit or pin one to my vintage blue gingham jacket (see above). You can find very economical silk flowers at fabric stores. I've also been known to snap off a leaf or flower when exiting my courtyard, and hastily pin that to my jacket—which also adds a fresh touch to your outfit.
Peacocks like Cator Sparks, or Bart in New York, have always appreciated the virtues of an elegant boutonnière. If you’ve never worn a boutonnière there's a few things to keep in mind when making your selection. It is important you choose (ask your florist/flower stand person) a flower that has a mild fragrance and one that will stay fresh for an extended length of time—like a rose or an orchid.
Carnations or Bachelor Buttons are also good boutonnière candidates, they both have a very light fragrance and won't wilt very easliy. If you want a flower with a stronger perfume, try a Gardenia. Steer clear of a Shasta Daisies (traditional white petals and yellow center) as a boutonnière, due to their strong unpleasant smell, but Gerbera Daisies are okay, because they don’t have an odor. You can be even more daring and non-traditional and wear a zipper rose (see right photo) as a boutonnière—order one here. What’s you favorite boutonnière flower?