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One of the pleasant surprises of this round of Fashion Week shows was how many gents showed up with a little flash on their lapels. Of course, we’ve already sung the praises of the tie pin, but the lapel pin gives you a lot more room to work—and there’s a tribal element that never quite made its way to the tie pin. In days of yore, this was where you’d show your allegiance to the Kiwanis, Electricians Local 229 or the Cleveland Browns. Nowadays, all you’re likely to see is the cable-news-approved flag pin, which is the opposite of the personal touch you should be looking for.

The best pins hew closer to nostalgia than kitsch, like a vintage brass eagle or (if possible) your granddad’s local 229 pin. Something with a story behind it. Something personal. Throw enough of them together and you’ve got a fair portrait of where a man’s coming from. It’s a way to elevate your suit out of the sharp-but-forgettable limbo where most gentlemen find themselves. And if, along the way, you get the chance to rep the Kiwanis, all the better.

Of course, finding them is easier said than done—especially if you want something with a bit of history—but the first step is to start looking.

—R.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom