History of Corsages, Wristlets & Boutonnieres 3 comments

September 12, 2018, posted by Gina – Fall is almost here and we look forward to this particular season more than any other. The cooler weather, Fall decorations, Halloween, Thanksgiving and football season are just a few things we love about it. Another fun Fall event is Homecoming season. It is upon us and we have been making pretty wristlets, like the one pictured here, and handsome boutonnieres. We started wondering about the history of wearing flowers and we found some interesting things about this lovely tradition.

The term “corsage” is French and originally referred to the bodice of a dress. The reason the flowers worn to adorn formal attire are now called corsages is that women once wore flowers pinned to the bodices of their dresses. These flowers were known as the “bouquet de corsage,” and over time this phrase was shortened to just “corsage.”

The wearing of a corsage at weddings dates to the time of the ancient Greeks, who believed that the fragrances of flowers and herbs warded off evil spirits. Not only the bride but other females at the wedding held flower bouquets or attached them to their clothing.

Eventually, the meaning of the corsage shifted and they became a luxury item offered during courting. A gentleman would offer his date a corsage as a gift for attending a special event, such as a dance. He would show respect to his date’s parents by offering a bouquet of flowers and would usually pin a flower from the bouquet to the date’s dress. In this sense, corsages symbolized attachment to another person.

In the 20th century, it became common for escorts to present their dates with corsages, particularly for formal dances and proms. As women’s dresses have changed to styles with spaghetti straps or no straps, it has become more common for women to wear the flowers on the wrist.

Sources: www.onlineathens.com, www.gardenguides.com

As for the boutonniere…

French language uses the word boutonnière for the buttonhole on the lapel of a man’s suit jacket.  The buttonhole is reserved specifically for this purpose and there is no corresponding button on the other side. There may be a small latch on the underside of the lapel which holds the stem in place (this is usually the sign of a higher end garment). This is located on the left side just above the heart of the wearer.

Modern day history regarding the origins of the boutonniere begins with the 15 century War of the Roses. During this significant campaign battle, the House of York was represented with the white rose, while the soldiers for the House of Lancaster wore red roses. As modern military clothing was not available during this time, most soldiers from the same area appeared similar and required something to differentiate which side they represented.

Men’s jacket styles have continued to evolve through the centuries, with folded lapels now the norm. This provides the perfect display area for lapel flowers and pins, adding an air of sophistication and flair.

The boutonniere was commonly worn by men when they went on dates, at work and, of course, for formal wear for decades, although they became less common after WWII. They remained popular with entertainers such as Dean Martin, The Commodores and Frank Sinatra, contributing to their classic and classy style. The boutonniere is still considered de rigeur for formal occasions such as weddings, funerals, proms and homecomings.

Source: www.bespokeunit.com

Please give us a call if you are in need of a special wristlet or boutonniere for your upcoming Homecoming! 601.707.7806.

120 Depot Drive (behind Strawberry Café), Madison, MS. Tues – Fri. 10 – 5 and Sat. 10 – 2

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