Jul 26

Buttonholes vs. Boutonnieres

My distaste for the word boutonnière is no secret.  I despise second guessing myself and having to spellcheck every single floral proposal, blog post and email confirming their numbers.  I’ve heard them referred to as buttonholes – which to mean holds a sweet, old fashioned sing-songy charm.  Not to mention the obvious, it’s much easier to spell.

Buttonholes vs. Boutonierres | The Day's Design | Ashley Slater Photography

Photography: Ashely Slater Photography

And then I began to wonder, do I really have any right to call them buttonholes?  No one else does and perhaps there was a reason for that.  My mind began to wander, pondering why men where these in the first place.  I started questioning their purpose and history.  Where they worn to ward off evil spirits?  Add a touch a fragrance to one’s label?  What is the story behind this manly little bloom?

It was off to Google I went – isn’t that the answer to all of life’s little questions?  I easily get sucked in by history and tidbits like this are no exception.  The answers were so much more romantic then I had ever imagined.  I had actually started to think the tradition of these little guys was a little unnecessary. And I learned that I do have the right to call them buttonholes.

Boutonnières, not surprisingly is a French term.  I am very clearly American and while someday I would love to travel to Paris, I’m planted pretty firmly on American soil.  For that reason alone, I should defiantly be calling them buttonholes.

The name however, comes from something else.  Ever noticed a little hole in the lapel of a fancy mens’ jacket?  The hole without a button which is a bit of a strange fashion phenomenon.  The mysterious buttonhole.

I read a sweet story about Queen Victoria presenting her Prince Albert with a little bouquet on their wedding day.  Sometimes it’s the smallest gestures that make the most impact.  As a true gentleman, he made a small slit in his jacket for the flowers to be placed.  And henceforth, all of his jackets were made this way.

Royalty has always dictated the actions of society.  Society has followed suit like lost children.  I believe a lady should gift her beau with a little blossom on a special occasion.  Flowers are part of nature, nature can be both feminine and manly.  Earthy and romantic.  Buttonholes are the perfect example of this contradictive world and a sweet little tiding to wear on your wedding day.

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