Do You Wear Your Name Tag on the Right or Left?

I attended an event today where the organizers had pre-printed adhesive name badges for each attendee. I put mine on without thinking much about it, until the person sitting next to me introduced name badges as a topic of conversation, “What side do you wear your name tag on and why?” Everyone at the table had theirs on the left side, except the person who started the conversation. Raised in Texas, she was taught to wear her nametag on the right because when you shake hands it’s easier to see.  

From there, we did a visual sweep of the crowd. The majority of people in a crowd of about 200 had their nametag on the left. The prevailing theory is that for a right handed person, it’s easier to put the nametag on the left side. I learned to put my name tag on the left side because I have long hair. My bangs sweep to the left, and I have a habit of tucking them behind my ear, causing my hair to stay back and away from the name tag. There is no pain quite like getting your hair caught in an adhesive label!

Sometimes, it’s about the clothing. Someone at the table was wearing a top with straps. The right side had a knit flower on it and so you couldn’t put the name tag on that side.  Sometimes it’s about culture. I’ve learned that in some Asian cultures wearing a name tag on the right is a sign of mourning, or agony. Emily Post’s Etiquette Daily website agrees with my friend from Texas that the name tag should be worn on the right so that it’s easier to read. recommends wearing on the left because it’s easier for a person walking toward you down an aisle to read it. It seems that everyone has an opinion, and every opinion is different.

Our solution? Use a lanyard. Problem solved.

What side do you wear your name tag on and why? Share your story in the comments below!


photo credit: Jeff_Werner via photo pin cc

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  1. Randy A.

    Kelly – Thanks for bringing up this subject.  I always wear name tags on the right.  That was a cardinal rule in my fraternity.  I found out when I later clerked for a federal judge that it was also mandatory under rules of etiquette.  Later, law firms I worked at mandated this too.  The reasoning was that it was easier to see the tag when shaking hands with someone.  For the same reason, food and drink should be carried in your left hand keeping your right hand free (and also not wet or cold from carrying your drink!).  It probably does not matter to most people but I've found it is better to be safe than sorry and you can't go wrong following rules of etiquette when you are around people who you don't know well.

    • Randy – Those are some great reasons for wearing your name tag on the right! You’re the first one to mention that it keeps your hands free and dry for handshaking. That’s actually something that happened at this event. I met someone I knew on social media face-to-face for the first time, and they apologized for not shaking my hand because their hand was wet from their drink!

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