What’s a Corsage?

For as far back as we can remember for occasions such as milestones birthdays, graduations, proms,   weddings and even baby showers there have been flowers involved. From table decorations to personal arrangements pinned to a shirt, or tied around a wrist to fresh flowers placed in an up-do or a flower crown on your head. But where did this floral tradition start? Why were people pinning fresh flowers to their clothing?

The word “corsage” is French and originally referred to the bodice portion of a formal dress. Women used to pin flowers to the bodices of their formal wear which was known as “bouquet de corsage”, quickly shortened to what we use today.

In ancient times, flowers were worn to special events in order to ward of any evil. Hence why weddings and special occasions became the main flower wearing events! Some even wore flowers to simply keep themselves safe. It is said that boutonnieres provide the same for men by warding off evil and preventing disease. Back in the 16th and 17th centuries many people would wear corsages and boutonnieres every day to stay healthy, but as time went on they became more common just for special events.

As more time went on, the placement of corsages changed from the bodice to a strap on a dress near the shoulder. The meaning of corsages also change and was less focused on warding off evil or preventing illnesses and became more of a luxury. When courting a lady, a gentlemen would give his date a corsage as a gift for attending an event or dance with him. This is more like what we know corsages to be for today.

The gentleman would show respect to his date’s parents by presenting a bouquet of flowers and usually would pin a flower from the bouquet to his date’s dress. This was meant to represent attachment to another person. Corsages were also given on holidays, and even birthdays to show love and appreciation.

More presently, corsages are still worn for many special occasions. However, fashions and styles continue to change and more ladies will wear a wrist corsage, flower crown, flower ring, or carry a bouquet instead of pinning anything to their beautiful (and expensive) dresses.

A cordage is meant to make someone stand out from others and signify that she is celebrating something very special. Some will even press and frame their corsages to hold on to special memories.

Corsages by Leigh Florist