A History of Prom Boutonnieres and Corsages

Prom is just around the corner, and with that is the pressure to choose your corsage or boutonnieres. There’s no shortage of options when it comes to choosing the colour and size of your flower adornment, and Karen’s Flower Shop carries plenty of styles, from classic to modern to simple and elegant. The act of wearing a spray of flowers on your clothing is a centuries-old tradition that we still honour today at high-profile events, weddings, and proms. Here’s a brief history of the small bouquets you’ll soon be wearing, courtesy of Karen’s Flower Shop:

Corsages, Then and Now

The original definition of the word corsage refers to the bodice of a woman’s dress. The bouquet de corsage was a small bouquet worn on the woman’s bodice. For hundreds of years, women wore flowers on their clothing for special occasions, and the belief was that some flowers carried specific powers that could ward off evil spirits or bring good luck to special occasions. It was also common practice for both women and men to wear herbs and flowers close to their clothing to mask the smell of their unwashed bodies—bathing just twice a year was not uncommon before the Victorian era. As fashion evolved, corsages moved upward toward the shoulder.

In the last century, women’s escorts arrived at their door with a bouquet, from which they would pin one or two flowers to their dress. Today, prom dresses are often worn off the shoulder, so tying the corsage around the wrist has become another standard option.

Boutonnieres Through the Ages

These days, boutonnieres are most often seen on prom dates and the bridegroom and his groomsmen, but for centuries, a boutonniere was worn as a fashion accessory by well-to-do men. Its name means buttonhole, which can give you a pretty clear idea of where it used to be placed. Fashionable men used to wear it on the top button of their shirts, and as the silhouette of the shirt became more open at the neck, the boutonniere moved to the lapel.

Wearing a matching boutonniere and corsage is a symbol of unity, friendship, and love. Take a look at our wide selection of beautiful prom flowers today!