Lapel pin, also called “pin badge” in Europe, is a small metal with a back attachement wearing on the lapel. Some custom lapel pins are just decorative, but others are used to show achievement or class, such as employee recognition awards, or membership in an organization such as Masonic and other professional associations. The proper placement of a lapel pin can vary based on your clothing, gender and what the pin itself represents.
On a Jacket
People wearing suits or jackets should place the pin on their lapel. Traditionally, lapel pins are worn on the left, near the heart. This is especially important if the lapel pin symbolizes something important to the wearer, such as a national flag. However, it is not a serious faux pas to wear a lapel pin on the right lapel.
Certain organizations, especially military organizations, have strict codes instructing the wearer to wear the lapel pin on the right or left lapel.
On a Tie
Men who are not wearing a jacket but are wearing a tie can wear their pin toward the middle of the tie. However, if a man is wearing a jacket and tie, it is most appropriate to wear the pin on the left lapel.
On a Shirt
Men wearing shirts without a tie or a jacket and women wearing shirts without a jacket traditionally wear lapel pins on the left side of the shirt, near the heart.
Wearing Multiple Pins
It’s perfectly acceptable to wear more than one lapel pin if one of the pins is decorative and another is either promotional– a pin that advertises a product or company–patriotic, or symbolizes a cause, such as a yellow ribbon for troop support or a red ribbon for AIDS charities.
It’s also acceptable to wear multiple pins if the pins are part of a set that may show advancement in an organization. Military organizations often promote the wearing of multiple pins, but strict regulations specify where the pins should be placed in reference to each other.
Attaching the Pin
Most pins feature a metal face, with a fairly short point and a detachable backing. You need to take off the backing, push the pin into your lapel (or tie or shirt) until the point comes through the other side, and reattach the backing.
The pin should sit upright on your lapel, tie or blouse. Make sure it is not upside down or at a strange angle. Make sure the pin is tightly clasped on the back so it doesn’t rotate when you move. This seems trivial, but certain symbolic pins that are upside down may actually be offensive, as an upside down symbol often represents a negative sentiment.