A corsage is a small bouquet of flowers worn on a woman’s dress or around her wrist for a formal occasion. Traditionally, they are given to her by her date. Today, corsages are most commonly seen at weddings and formal events. The partner of the wearer may also wear a matching boutonnière (also called buttonholes or boutonnières).
A traditional pin-on corsage dates as far back as Ancient Greece, when small bunches of fragrant flowers and herbs were worn at weddings to ward off evil spirits. The word corsage comes from the French term bouquet de corsage, meaning “a bouquet of the bodice”.
In the early 19th century, corsages were regarded as a courting gift 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. This would then be carried or attached to her clothing, usually on the shoulder. Because dress styles have changed, pinning the corsage can be impractical, and so wrist corsages became the norm.