In American English, a corsage // designates a small bouquet of flowers worn on a woman's dress or around her wrist for a formal occasion in the United States. Traditionally, they are given to her by her date. Today, corsages are most commonly seen at homecomings, proms, and similar formal events.
- The corsage is worn on a young woman's clothing or wrist for a homecoming celebration or other formal occasions such as prom in some schools around the world.
- In some countries, similar ornaments are worn by the mothers and grandmothers of the bride and groom at a wedding ceremony.
- In some cases, young girls may wear a corsage to a father-daughter dance, and the father may also wear a boutonnière.
Sometimes incorrectly called corsages, flowers worn by men are called buttonholes or boutonnières. At school events such as homecoming or prom, the couple traditionally coordinates the corsage and boutonnière with one other, signifying that the couple is paired together and separating themselves from other guests or groups.
Although today the term corsage refers to any small bouquet of flowers that a woman wears, the tradition of wearing flowers pinned to clothing dates as far back as Ancient Greece, when small bunches of fragrant flowers and herbs were worn at weddings to ward off evil spirits. During the 16th and 17th centuries, corsages and boutonnieres may have been a part of daily life to prevent disease and to ward off evil spirits, but over time, they became special-occasion pieces.
The word corsage comes from the French term bouquet de corsage, meaning a bouquet of flowers worn on upper part of the body ("corsage" meaning bosom in French), which was traditionally worn by women to weddings and funerals. Eventually, the term shortened to corsage in American English. In the early 19th century, corsages were regarded as a courting gift and were often given at formal dances. Traditionally, the gentleman would bring a gift of flowers for his date's parents and would select one of the flowers to give to his date, which would then be carried or attached to her clothing, usually on the front of the shoulder. During the 1950s, some corsages were made with fruit and would be seen on hats for decoration. As dress styles changed, pinning the corsage to the dress became impractical, and wrist corsages became the norm.
Today's corsages are still very similar to those made in previous decades, although they are much smaller now. It is still customary for a male to give his female date a corsage when attending a formal dance, but they are also sometimes given to a daughter attending a formal event by her parents or worn by the mothers and grandmothers of the bride and groom at a wedding. Wives and any surviving mothers typically wear corsages at Anniversary celebrations; generally, the flowers are the same as what was used at the wedding, with ribbons indicating the milestone, (i.e. silver for 25th, red for 40th). Flowers used should be complementary in color to the attire, and corsages and boutonnières should be coordinated to indicate that a couple is attending the event together. Corsages are often dried and pressed to be preserved as mementos.
Homecoming and prom
When attending a school formal or prom, providing a corsage for a prom date signifies consideration and generosity, as the corsage is meant to symbolize and honor the person wearing it. Corsages are usually worn around a prom date's wrist; alternatively, they may be pinned on her dress or a modified nosegay can be carried in her hand. The colors of the flowers are usually chosen to complement the dress or to add color to the couple, creating a unifying look. Prom couples may wish to go together to choose the flowers for a custom-made corsage or boutonnière. Traditionally, the male presents a corsage or nosegay to the female as a gift, while the female would provide the boutonnière and pin it on the male's shirt or jacket.
Corsages can be made from a single flower or a small bunch of flowers, and a variety of flowers can be used. The following table shows some of the main flowers and accents used to create a custom-made corsage and that can be included in a nosegay and boutonnière.
|Main flowers||Fillers and accents||Extras|
|Spray roses (sweetheart roses)||Gypsophilia (baby's breath)||Artificial leaves|
|Mini calla lilies||Asters||Pearl wristband|
The style and design of a corsage may vary depending on the event. Younger generations tend to use wrist corsages, which may vary in style and size depending on the wearer. The more traditional option is a corsage pinned on the shoulder of a woman's dress. This style often gets confused with a boutonnière. The main difference is the size and the number of flowers used.
If a wrist corsage is chosen for an event, it can be made using wire and floral tape or floral glue. The wire method is recommended for pin-on corsages because the wire will support the stems or flower bulbs. Glue can be added to hold the flowers together if the wire and tape are not sufficient.
|Wrist corsage||Pin-on corsage|
|Floral glue||Floral wire|
|Floral tape||Floral tape|
|Look up corsage in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
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