Many theories exist speculating on which side of a blouse or jacket to place a name tag. Have you ever heard the theory that the name tag should be placed on the right side since you shake with your right hand and the direct line of sight leads straight to your name? Or how about the theory which states you should wear the name tag on the left side since you shake with your right hand and tend to cover up your name tag as you shake? The typical origins of these theories are rooted in discussions and debates at conferences by attendees trying to figure out where to place their name tags.
After attempting to explain one of these theories to a group of conference attendees recently, I decided it might be time to really figure out where the name tag belongs. There seems to be a right and a wrong as to what side is best for both name tags and lapel pins.
1. NAME TAGS: In the United States, proper etiquette states the name tag should be worn above the pocket on the right side of your shirt, blouse, or blazer. The key thing to remember, as mentioned above, is that you want the people you are meeting to be able to make direct eye contact with you and closely see your name as you shake hands.
2. LAPEL PINS: The correct location for a lapel pin is the left side of a jacket, near the heart. The United States Flag Code Section 8(J) states the following about wearing an American flag pin: “The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.”
Keep in mind, however, some organizations have specific rules about when and where to wear a pin that might contradict the above statement. Generally speaking though, since most individuals wear pins that signify something important to them, they wear them on the left side near the heart.
The key is to remember all of these rules come with one big caveat: Wear the name tag and pin in the location that makes the most sense!
If you are attending a meeting where etiquette is very important, then perhaps stick to the rules. But if you are wearing an outfit that tends to flip over your name tag when you shake hands, it would make more sense to wear the name tag on the left. The key with name tag is to get someone to remember your name and they can’t do that if your name tag is flipped over!