Do Lapel Pins Damage Suits?

If you’re wearing a non-magnetic lapel pin, you will likely leave a hole in your suit. It may be a shallow hole, barely visible to the naked eye, but you’ll know it’s there.

However, that shouldn’t stop you from accessorizing your suits with lapel pins. You can wear pins without leaving holes. You merely need to learn more about how certain fabrics respond to being pricked, which types of lapel pins are likely to leave holes, and how to fix lapel pin holes. Let’s get into it!

Which Types of Lapel Pin Backings Can Leave Holes?

If you’re strict about taking care of your suits, and the idea of even a tiny, barely visible hole causes you to dread, consider only wearing magnetic-backed lapel pins. Similar to magnetic earrings, these types of pins fasten onto the front of lapels using a magnetic backing that won’t damage the fabric in the slightest.

However, if you limit yourself to only the magnetic variety, you miss out on many styles and designs. Is there a happy medium? Yes. The two factors you must consider concerning these accessories pricking a hole in your suit are the suit’s fabric and the type of pin backing.

Learning how to pair the right fabric with the proper backing will free you from the stress of swiss cheese suits.

Which Fabrics Are More Likely To Show Pin Holes?

When it comes to fabric, thread count is everything. And it’s complicated enough to be its own science. The best suits tend to be made from high thread count fabrics; the quality is richer and more pleasing to the touch.

Unfortunately, the finer and more densely woven the threads, the worse damage a pinhole will make. Examples of high thread count fabrics include:

  • Bamboo
  • Satin and sateen
  • Egyptian cotton

Beyond thread count, tightly woven fabrics are likelier to show holes than loosely woven fabrics. Examples of tightly woven fabrics include:

  • Denim
  • Cotton
  • Sateen
  • Percale
  • Poplin

The debate over thread count and tightly vs. loosely woven fabric – and which is better for wearing and sleeping – rages on. Look at the way people argue over cotton vs. Egyptian cotton! But one thing’s for sure: the higher the thread count and the more tightly woven the fabric, the more careful you have to be with your pin backings.


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Choosing the Right Pin Backing

The choice of pin backing is also essential. The below types will have different effects on your suits.


The clutch is the most common type of pin backing and comes in various styles. There is the traditional butterfly clutch, the rubber clutch, which uses a black rubber closure, and deluxe clutches, which have a brushed metal look.

Safety Pin

Safety pin backings won’t necessarily be easier on your suits. But they do secure the pin more firmly than traditional clutch backings. Simply put: they decrease the amount your pin will rotate during use.

2-Piece Magnet

A magnetic-backed pin comes in two pieces, both with embedded magnetized strips. Using a magnetic force, the pin secures onto its backing over the lapel fabric. No holes are required to wear this type!

Bar Magnet

This no-puncture style is excellent for high thread count, tightly woven suits. The bar magnet secures snugly on the back of your lapel. You place the pin on top of the lapel, and since it’s a bar magnet, you have more room to adjust exactly where you place it.

Bent Legs

While less widespread, a bent legs pin is a wise alternative to traditional clutch backings and magnet styles. A bent legs pin backing has bendable metallic legs that adhere to your suit lapel. This style makes attachment and removal easy and accessible for a beginner or hobbyist.

Is It Possible To Fix Lapel Pin Holes?

Not all lapel holes can be fixed. It depends, again, on the fabric. Fabrics like denim, polyester, cotton, and blends repair by gently rubbing the puncture site a few times. Then, you can massage the threads back into place.

If that doesn’t work, take an iron, fusible bonding web, and cutaway stabilizer to suture the broken fibers. Unfortunately, other fabrics just can’t be repaired.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will a Lapel Pin Ruin a Suit?

We recommend avoiding pinning, as the lapel buttonhole typically holds pins and boutonnieres. Puncturing the fabric of a lapel is unadvisable for the garment and may permanently damage it. If you must, try using a magnetic lapel pin.

Final Thoughts

One last thing: no matter what you use, be thoughtful when fastening a pin to your lapel. If you’re looking to customize your own lapel pins, get in touch with The/Studio. We offer all types of material finishes, enamel colors, and of course, backing hardware.


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