Prom corsages and boutonnieres are a classic prom tradition, as timeless as the Prom itself... but knowing how to buy them isn't exactly common knowledge. Still, they are a common addition to your formal wear and a must for completing the perfect ensemble. In this post, I'll walk you through everything you need to know (and probably even some things you could do without knowing) for the perfect flowers for your fit.
The Who, What, Where, When and Why of Wearable Flowers
A corsage is a miniature bouquet of flowers typically worn around the wrist for a formal occasion. Traditionally, a corsage is given to a woman by a date and should coordinate with her attire.
The word “corsage” is French and originally referred to the bodice of a dress, where the flowers were once pinned. A single flower, called a boutonniere, which translates to “little buttonhole,” are the flowers pinned to the lapel of a suit jacket. In ancient times, flowers were worn to special events to ward off evil spirits or cover up that stank from not being able to take baths, like, ever. During the 16th and 17th centuries, boutonnieres and corsages may have been worn every day, but over time the practice was reserved only for formal occasions.
Eventually, as fewer people worried about the Babadook ruining their prom night, the tradition evolved to a gentleman showing respect to his date’s parents by offering a bouquet of flowers and then pinning a flower from the bouquet to the date’s dress. In this sense, corsages symbolize respect and attachment. While corsages were originally attached to the bodice of a dress – or a shoulder strap – since spaghetti straps and strapless dresses have come into fashion, they have transitioned to the wrist.
While traditionally the man buys the corsage and the woman buys the boutonniere, it doesn’t really matter: wear whatever the heck you want, how you want... the future is NOW!
How & What to Buy
Most people think of corsages as carnation or rose based, with some type of filler flower like baby’s breath & greenery. But there are so many different options, why limit yourself to what your mom wore?! We've used orchids, ranunculus, anemones, and even succulents to create a cool, unique accent to your outfit while still in keeping with the traditional stylings of a prom wrist corsage & boutonniere.
When you call us, we'll ask you a series of questions like: what color is the dress? what color jewelry are you wearing? And, would you consider yourself traditional, modern, or something else? Our designers usually like to see a picture of your dress so we can determine your style and make something custom to fit your look.
You should plan to order your corsage at least a week before your prom, and pick them up on the day of, so they can stay as fresh as possible. If you're in a time crunch, the flowers can be refrigerated up to 24 hours before the event.
If you're not ordering as a set, and you're not sure what your date is wearing, it's best to order white so it be versatile and match with anything.
If the traditional wrist corsage and bout isn't your thing, there's a plethora of different options available. I'm sure you've heard of flower crowns, a very bohemian and easy to wear design which looks really nice with a lacey, dressed-down prom look. But if you're looking for something even bolder...
I'm a big fan of the flower chandelier earring (pictured above left) and the knuckle ring (middle). You could wear any of these styles in addition to your prom corsage, or as a unique alternative.
Did Rihanna wear a wrist corsage? No. Well... maybe she was too busy creating bangers to actually bless us with any prom looks, but regardless, it definitely takes a fierceness to wear something other than a wrist corsage and boutonniere. The options in the above right photo are definitely Rihanna-worthy prom looks. The floral anklet (bottom right) would look amazing if you choose a mini or knee-length dress.
What I'm really trying to say here is... the sky's the limit. If you have an idea, your florist can make it happen. In fact, I'm dying to make it happen. Someone PLEASE let me do the floral anklet.
Some people don't know exactly what they want, and that's okay! Typically some of the best results are achieved by just giving us a color or a picture of your dress and letting your florist do their thing.
How to Wear
OK, so now that you've gotten your corsage and boutonniere, what do you do? A commonly asked question is, how do I pin the boutonniere on my date without stabbing right through his shirt, piercing his gentle flesh and leaving a bloody wound, staining the shirt, and thus losing the security deposit we paid to Men's Wearhouse? Simple: Place the boutonniere on the wearer's left lapel, approximately four inches down from the tip of the left shoulder. Make sure the flower is positioned correctly before pinning it in place. Hold the pin with your right hand, and starting from behind the lapel, push it through the fabric just beneath the head of the flower. Pierce through the flower stem, reinserting the tip of the pin into the fabric so that the tip of the pin ends up behind the lapel. Be sure that the flower is securely in place. Tug gently on the stem to be sure the boutonniere is properly fastened. There, we've avoided wounding anyone before dinner. If you're still not sure, ask your florist to demonstrate and they will be happy to show you!
Corsages and boutonnieres are typically worn on the left side of the jacket and on the left wrist, but whatever, do what you want. If you're super intimidated by the whole pin ordeal, ask us to make you a buttonhole or a pocket square, just make sure the tux has either a pocket or a buttonhole first!
If you want to see more pictures of our work, click here or on on the PROM tab in the menu. Prom is one of the most special nights of your life, and the memories made are sure to last a lifetime. We hope that your prom flowers are exactly what you dreamed of and look forward to the honor of making your dream floral look happen!