November is truly upon us. Tomorrow is (already!) Bonfire Night. During my university days in Scotland, we would spend the night on West Sands Beach, drinking soups from flasks, and always with toffee apples. November is also known for being “Poppy Month”, when we wear poppies to commemorate those who have died in conflict. This year marks 100 years since the start of the First World War. Remembrance Sunday, 9th of November will be all the more poignant. In this post, we present the etiquette of wearing poppies and brooches. When to wear a poppy The Royal British Legion, the nation’s custodian of Remembrance, recommends wearing one from the launch of their appeal at the end of October until Armistice Day, 11 November.
How to wear your poppy This is a hotly debated topic. Some people say wear it close to the heart, on the left side of your body. Others say that men should wear theirs on the left and women on the right. There is also a school of thought that says the poppy stem should be pointing down, and never worn at an angle. Again, I echo the advice The Royal British Legion: there is no right or wrong side “other than to wear it with pride”.
Brooches and corsages Traditionally, women wear brooches on the right and men wear badges on their left. I find this is no longer observed. I find that because women’s hats and fascinators are designed to be worn to the right, a brooch worn on the left achieves a balanced, put-together look. (More on this hat etiquette later). What I have noticed is that flower corsages are still worn a certain way, at weddings for instance. Married women would tend to wear them with the flower pointing down (see photo below). While the opposite is true for single ladies, they would wear it with the flowers pointing up.
So wear your poppy with pride. Pin it on your coat, wear it in your hair or even buy a giant one for the car. We must not forget that the sentiment that goes with wearing a poppy is more important than social customs. I leave you with this very cool “educational” video on how to wear your poppy.