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The Corsage - What it Means and Where it Came From

Have you ever wondered where the idea of corsages came from?

Believe it or not, they weren’t always worn on the wrist like they usually are today. Here’s a brief history of these mini bouquets, as well as a few tips and tricks for choosing the perfect one for your prom.


According to, the bodice of a woman’s dress used to be called a corsage. Some of the first corsages as we know them today were worn on this part of a women’s clothing, and the French referred to the blossoms as a “bouquet de corsage.” That’s where the modern term for these small bouquets of flowers came from.

People have been wearing flowers for many centuries. In fact, the source reports that the ancient Greeks used to wear flowers at wedding ceremonies because they believed that the scent would ward off evil spirits. The bride and the other women at the event would all carry bouquets or attach flowers to their clothing. notes that by the 1900s, corsages moved up from the bodice of a woman’s dress toward the shoulder. They were usually pinned on upside down, with the bow at the top, and were much larger than most corsages we see today.

The tradition of giving a girl a corsage at prom originated in the 20th century, according to Escorts would pick up their dates and present her parents with a gift, like flowers. Then he would take a blossom from the arrangement and pin it on her dress. Now that dress styles are changing and strapless and spaghetti straps are more prominent, corsages are now usually worn on the wrist.


In weddings, the corsage identifies members or family of the wedding party. The mothers' and grandmothers' corsages are usually different from corsages in the wedding party. The magnolia is a popular corsage for the mothers and grandmothers of the bride and groom. At graduations, faculty members wear corsages to identify themselves. The corsages are usually symbolic of the class theme or motto. The Mother's Day corsage is usually an orchid, which represents love, beauty and strength given to the mother to express respect.


Corsages are worn to honor people, such as recipients of awards, or for other special occasions. At a baby shower, the mother- to-be is honored with a corsage that is usually pink or blue for the baby's gender or both if the gender is not known. Groups often wear corsages to symbolize patriotism, a memorial, awareness or their convictions to a cause. The flowers chosen are often symbolic to the cause as well as the ribbons used to decorate the corsage.


The corsage is a remembrance of the occasion. Some are made of silk, which keeps easily. Even fresh flower corsages are dried. The corsage is designed not only to match attire, but also to match the personality of the wearer. Giving a corsage tells the recipient she is important. Take the time to find out what a person's favorite flower is, what she is wearing, and how you want to honor her.


Amy McLaughlin

Newburyport Floral Designer and owner of Amy McLaughlin FLowers.

We design one-of-a-kind corsages and other floral jewelry. Available for ordering online, by phone (978-358-8036) or at our shop: 23 Middle Street, Newburyport, MA

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