The insignia of orders of chivalry, orders and certain decorations are usually accompanied by information cards which detail how the individual insignia should be worn.
These notes are a guide on how the various insignia should be mounted for wearing.
Awards worn on the left breast
When in possession of two or more awards designed to be worn on the left breast they should be mounted in the following fashion:
Worn in accordance with the approved ‘Order of Wear of Orders, Decorations and Medals’ in a horizontal line suspended from a brooch (pin-back metal bar) which should not be visible. The length of the bar is usually not more than 16.5 cm (6½ inches), i.e. approximately five awards not overlapped. The length of the award (i.e., from top of ribbon to base of award) should be equal and be not less than 8.9 cm (3½ inches) and not more than 9.5 cm (3¾ inches) unless the size of the award or the number of clasps or bars attached to the ribbon of any award necessitates additional length.
If awards, on account of their number, cannot be suspended from the brooch so as to be fully seen, they should overlap and be arranged with the first fully exposed and with each succeeding ribbon and award underlaid by an equal amount.
Some individual awards issued to women are mounted on a bow (with or without tails). When in possession of two or more awards, a woman would normally wear her awards mounted in the same fashion as that prescribed above (without the bows) when in civilian dress or uniform of a military pattern.
Awards are worn with the obverse (usually the Sovereign’s head, Royal Cypher or Coat of Arms) showing or to the front.
Mounted similar to full-size awards, except length of brooch should not normally exceed 14.7 cm (5¾ inches), i.e. approximately nine miniatures not overlapped unless the number of miniatures necessitates additional length.
The length of the miniature (i.e. from top of the ribbon to the base of the miniature) should be equal and not exceed 5.7 cm (2¼ inches) in overall length irrespective of size of miniature, unless the number of clasps or bars attached to the ribbon of any miniature necessitates additional length.
Styles of mounting
The awards may be mounted in “free-style” (i.e. the awards swing freely) or “court-style” (i.e. where the ribbon comes down behind the award and the actual award is tied to the backing ribbon and mounting frame). Court-style prevents damage to awards especially those containing enamel work.
The brooch (pin-back metal bar) should be moulded or stitched into the mounting frame which may be made of a variety of products. The awards may be attached to the frame by stitching or glue.
For court-style, the backing ribbon should extend and cover approximately half of the back of the award. The backing ribbon should not protrude below the award.
Awards worn on the right breast
Awards which may be worn on the right breast should be mounted and in the same fashion as those worn on the left breast.
Breast stars of Orders may be attached to the left side by sewing small loops of thread on the coat or garment at the appropriate position through which the pin on the back of the star passes. This avoids damage to the fabric. (Another quick convenient method is to make two small loops by passing suitably sized safety pins from the inside of the coat to the outside, and back).
At an investiture a man receives a neck badge suspended from a long ribbon of full-size width. This investiture ribbon is replaced by a shorter ribbon of miniature width which is usually supplied with most insignia.
The correct length of the short neck ribbon (of miniature width) is usually the shirt size plus 5 cm (2 inches) for wearing with a bow tie or 7.5 cm (3 inches) for wearing with a necktie. With a bow tie the ribbon is worn round the neck under the collar and the badge should hang close-up below the tie. With a necktie the badge should hang about 2 cm (¾ inch) below and in front of the tie knot.
The equivalent of a neck badge for a woman is issued mounted on a bow. At her discretion, however, a woman may wear the badge from a bow on the left shoulder of the dress or from a ribbon round the neck. In uniform of a military pattern the badge is worn in the manner prescribed for a man.
The length and width of ribbons when worn without medals should be 1 cm (⅜ inch) in length, with full width of ribbon exposed.
The number of ribbons worn in one complete row is governed largely by the physique of the wearer. In general, not more than five or less than two ribbons are worn in any one row e.g. the holder of 6 awards would wear 2 over 4 ribbons rather than 1 over 5 ribbons.
Ribbon bars are usually worn only on jackets or shirts of a military pattern and should be worn above the left breast pocket (or thereabouts) and no ribbon should be obscured by the lapel of the jacket. The ribbon of the most senior award should be nearest to the centre of the chest (or left to right from a viewer).