Accepted Customs And Practices For Dress And Insignia

Each hereditary society and order has published regulations concerning the use of their various medals and decorations. The rules for the proper usage of insignia vary among the different organizations. Members are encouraged to review the particular protocol of an organization when attending either their formal or informal functions. The following is a general summary of the rules governing the wearing and use of insignia and related items. This information is provided as guidance in order that all may conform therewith, to the end that the prestige and esprit of the hereditary community be maintained and the dignity of their proud backgrounds may be enhanced.


Evening attire (dinner jacket or full evening dress) is customarily worn on all formal occasions. It is desirable that members of many of the societies participate on such occasions wearing full evening dress.

Attire for formal or informal occasions follows the dictates of good taste and social usage.

Uniforms of the U.S. Armed Forces, service or dress, may be worn at any social function by those entitled to do so.


Insignia And Decorations For Gentlemen

It is recommended that the insignia and decorations of the hereditary community be worn as prescribed below in keeping with customs and tradition:


Standard Insignia:

The standard or full size insignia is worn by members on formal occasions, centered on the left lapel or breast of the coat, about four inches below the top of the shoulder. If more than one standard medal is displayed, the insignia of the most senior organization, by date of founding, is mounted toward the wearer's right side. The top edge of all medals should be on an even line. No more than three standard size insignia should be worn simultaneously.

Members of most societies who are or have been officers, either on a national or state level, may wear the medal pendant from a neck ribbon in the societies' colors. Some of the larger societies also permit chapter presidents to wear the insignia pendant from the neck. When worn with formal evening attire, the medal is to be drawn up close below the knot of the bow tie.

The insignia may be worn with informal clothing such as a sack suit or blazer. It is also appropriate for use upon a cut-away or military uniform. When worn on a uniform, the regulations of the appropriate branch of military or naval services govern the permission and proper placement of the insignia. Certain hereditary society medals have been approved for this purpose. The standard size insignia is never worn with any type of miniature except on occasions when the larger medal is suspended from the neck.

President General Or Governor's Star And Other Star Orders:

The Governor or President General's Star is worn on the left front of the jacket several inches below the medal bar. Other order stars (but no more than four) are also worn below. However, when attending an occasion when these orders take precedence, the Governor or President General's Star is worn below them. For example, if attending a French government function, one would wear the Légion d'honneur in pride over any other order's decorations or medals. The Star may also be appropriately worn on a ribbon, pendant from the neck by the presiding officer of certain societies and orders. Many of the hereditary societies provide a smaller star for former Governors, President Generals, and National Officers. They are appropriately worn in the same fashion.


The sash is worn by officers and past officers only on formal occasions. It extends over the right shoulder diagonally to the left hip with the society medal pendant from the bow at the intersection of the end over the hip. With full evening dress, the sash is worn under the coat and over the waistcoat. With formal wear (cut-away coat), the sash is similarly worn. With uniforms, the sash is worn over the coat. The sash is not worn with dinner jacket or sack suit.


Miniature Insignia:

Miniature insignia or medals may be worn on formal ceremonial occasions and should be in one horizontal line on the left lapel or breast of the coat. To assure proper alignment, the medals should be mounted on a single bar; this bar should never be longer than the distance between the fold of the left lapel of the coat and the left armhole seam; the medals may be overlapped on the left edges to conserve space if necessary. More than one row of medals may be worn and the decision is a matter of personal taste.

The foregoing applies whether the insignia in question are full size or miniature. It should be noted moreover that when more than one medal is worn, all must be of the same size; miniature and full size insignia are not aligned together. (This restriction does not apply to neck ribbon insignia, which are always full size and are worn independently of other insignia).


Order Of Insignia:

Orders, decorations and medals are worn in the following order from the wearer's right to left:

  1. Orders
  2. Decorations of honor
  3. Federal decorations of honor or valor in order of precedence
  4. Federal campaign medals in chronological order
  5. State decorations
  6. State campaign medals
  7. State organizational and long-service medals
  8. Insignia of patriotic and veterans societies, in the order of precedence

Numbers (5), (6), (7) and (8) above are never worn on Federal uniforms except on appropriate occasions of related significance. Insignia are never worn on the overcoat except when specifically ordered.

The complete, chronological list of the hereditary societies and orders of the United States is located on this site. Click here


The Rosette is worn only on informal occasions in the left lapel of a blazer or sack suit provided that no other insignia is worn at the same time. It is never worn with formal evening dress. During inclement weather, on occasions of ceremony, it may be placed on the lapel of an overcoat for identification.

Blazer Patch:

The blazer patch is correctly worn on a traditional blazer. It is mounted on the jacket pocket on the left side of the coat and never worn with that of another society or order. This insignia is never used with formal attire or for any other purpose


Many of the hereditary organizations provide a tie in the societies' colors for their members. They are correctly used as any other tie.