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Three ways to keep your Remembrance Day poppy pinned

To ensure that each method works, Jonathan Forani vigorously shook his jacket and did an arm and backpack interference test for each. Here’s how it went.

We test life hack tips for how to keep your Remembrance Day poppy from falling off your jacket. Got a thumb tack and an eraser? Here's what to do.

JONATHAN FORANI

We test life hack tips for how to keep your Remembrance Day poppy from falling off your jacket. Got a thumb tack and an eraser? Here's what to do.

On November streets, red poppies are as ubiquitous as fallen leaves.

Some might say losing at least one of the red-and-black-flocked plastic flowers is part of the Remembrance Day experience and you shouldn’t fret at having to donate a few coins for another one. This is true.

But of course, it’s also an irritating problem. So much so that a decade ago, The Star asked readers for their tips for keeping poppies in place on coats in November. And searching “lose + poppy + jacket” or other variants on Twitter reveals it’s still as irritating a custom as ever.

So I purchased a handful of poppies to try a few different simple methods at keeping them in place and preserving the look, including some reader tips from 2007.

To ensure the methods work, I vigorously shook my jacket and did an arm and backpack interference test for each. Here’s how it went.

Test 1: Pin downwards

The Test: Instead of pinning the poppy into your jacket sideways, point the pin downwards, weaving it in and out a few times. Be wary of pricking yourself as you weave. “Use gravity as your friend,” wrote Ajax reader Kristin Szabo in 2007. “Above all, if you carry a purse, don’t let the strap rub on the poppy! It will dislodge.”

The Result: As someone who usually pins his poppy in sideways, I’m embarrassed. This is the most common sense tip of them all and requires no additional materials than the poppy you pick up at the checkout counter. While you’ll surely dislodge the poppy with too much purse or backpack action, as Szabo suggested, the poppy holds pretty well.

The Rating: 8/10

Test 2: Canadian flag pin or safety pin

The Test: Many opt to replace the black centre pin combination with a Canadian flag lapel pin. One reader in 2007 suggested replacing it with a good ol’ safety pin.

The Result: Of course it works, but it sacrifices the esthetic. If you like the look of the traditional poppy — the black centre is just as critical as the red petals — this solution isn’t for you. The Canadian flag lapel adds a unique look to your poppy and holds it firmly in place, but it’s not very subtle. Nor is the safety pin trick, which requires a large safety pin and otherwise mangles the flower.

In 2015, a Calgary man faced criticism for “commercializing Remembrance Day” and selling black poppy centre lapel pins online. This is an esthetically pleasing alternative if you agree with the sale of poppy accessories.

The Rating: 7/10

Test 3: Tack & Stopper

The Test: Get a black thumb tack or use a permanent marker to blacken a silver one. This is your new poppy centre. Push it through your jacket. Now cut off a bit of an eraser (or remove one from the end of a pencil) and push it onto the sharp end of the tack inside your jacket.

The Result: The eraser strongly locks the poppy in place, while the thumb tack allows for less interference with a shorter pin. Note that a thumb tack will produce a slightly larger hole in your jacket than the traditional long poppy pin. Opt for using the latter with the eraser if you’re nervous. A piece of wine cork or a rubber earring backing are good alternatives to an eraser.

The Rating: 9/10

Conclusion

The eraser trick is the best method for preserving the look of the poppy, keeping it on your jacket, and not drawing blood from yourself in the process.

Jonathan Forani is a Toronto-based freelance journalist in search of ways to make everything a little easier. Still looking for a life hack to six-pack abs.

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