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.
It is recommended that the insignia and decorations of the hereditary community be worn as prescribed below in keeping with customs and tradition:
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.
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).
Orders, decorations and medals are worn in the following order from the wearer's right to left:
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.
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.