From Our Archive
This story was published before Summer 2021, when we launched our new digital experience.

The Boutonniere

History of the buttonhole flower

MOST READ TRAVEL
Our Favorite Shop-Small Destinations of the Year

Editors’ Picks

Our Favorite Shop-Small Destinations of the Year

Our editors’ picks for special finds at unique stores.

How to Make the Perfect Cup of Italian Coffee

Food and Drink

How to Make the Perfect Cup of Italian Coffee

Unpacking the history, allure, and ways to use the humble Moka pot.

LifeLabs MegaWarm: The Best Winter Jacket

Fashion

The World’s Warmest Jacket

This deliciously pillowy puffer — made from 87% recycled materials — will keep you...

"I sacrifice a rose each evening to my buttonhole: Roses are the Order of the Garter of that great monarch called Nature." In 1838, the French writer Barbey d'Aurevilly was so taken with the new fashion of gracing one's frock coat with a fresh blossom that he declared himself a "Knight of the Order of Springtime." The Boutonniere: Style in One's Lapel (Universe, $25), by Umberto Angeloni, chairman of Brioni, the Rome-based men's custom clothing house, affectionately relates the history of the buttonhole flower.

In breezy essays well illustrated with paintings and photographs, Angeloni and his collaborators make the case for "the importance of sartorial elegance in our daily lives." Imaginative guidelines are offered for choosing among gardenias, carnations, roses, camellias, and violets. And we learn that Oscar Wilde, a lapel-flower devotee, held an uncharacteristically earnest view of the boutonnière: "A really perfect buttonhole flower is the only thing to unite art with nature."

Newsletter

Let’s Keep in Touch

Subscribe to our newsletter

You’re no longer on our newsletter list, but you can resubscribe anytime.