The Fascinating History of the Corsage
The corsage is a wonderful part of proms and weddings, but these small ﬂowers were not always part of the ceremony. This blog takes a look at the history of the corsage, and some of the changes it has undergone.
These days the corsage is a standard piece of attire for proms, weddings, formal dances, and other special occasions, but it was not always like that. The history of the corsage is a long one, dating back many centuries, and these beautiful floral pieces, found in most flowers shops anywhere in the world, have undergone a number of changes throughout the years.
Whether you are shopping for a prom dress, planning a big night out or just a student of history, learning about the origins of the corsage can be fascinating. The corsage has been a part of formal attire for centuries, and it has always been associated with formal wear and special occasions.
The word corsage derives from the French phrase "bouquet de corsage," which literally means a bouquet of the bodice. The term was originally used to refer to the practice of placing a small bouquet of flowers in the bodice of a lady's dress.
From its earliest incarnation, the corsage was used in weddings, but the reasons were far from merely decorative. Centuries ago, superstition held that flowers were essential for warding off evil spirits, so brides would wear those small bouquets to make sure their married lives changed, of course, but the corsage still plays a central role in marriage ceremonies today.
It was not until the 20th century that the corsage made its debut outside the world of formal weddings. During the last century, it became customary for gentlemen to present a corsage to their dates at proms and other formal dances.
The corsage did double-duty, serving as a special gift and keepsake, as well as a beautiful decoration for the big dance. The prom corsage is also seen as a way for the gentleman to show respect to the parents of his date. It is typical for the young man to present the corsage to his date, then carefully pin it to her beautiful prom gown.
The nature, and the size, of the corsage, have changed over the years to match the various fashion trends in prom gowns, wedding dresses, and other formal attire. While traditional wedding gowns and prom dresses often featured deep bodices, more modern styles do not. As prom gowns evolved to include spaghetti straps and higher fronts, they became smaller and more practical.
Many modern corsages feature elastic bands and are designed to be worn around the wrist instead of being pinned to the dress itself. There are also corsages that can be worn as hairpieces, and beautiful bouquets designed to be worn at the waistline.
In addition to flowers, some modern corsages also include special touches like crystals, beads, or feathers. Some women prefer artificial flowers in their corsages since those faux flowers are more easily kept as mementos. Others prefer the look and feel of real flowers, and it is always a good idea for gentlemen to ask the preferences of their dates before they go shopping.
Just about any combination of flowers can be used for a corsage, and many different varieties have served the purpose throughout the years. Roses are among the most common corsage flowers, but it is not uncommon to see orchids, lilies, chrysanthemums, and carnations as well.
Corsages can be as simple, or as elaborate, as desired. Some couples prefer the understated elegance of a single rose or carnation, while others prefer more ostentatious bouquets for their special occasions. No matter what type of corsage you ultimately choose, knowing a little bit about the history of this ubiquitous piece of formal wear can make shopping more interesting and more fun.