There are occasions when women, or men, are required to wear a corsage. There is often some confusion as to which side to wear it on.
Is there a particular rule for this? What about a corsage worn on a wrist or in a buttonhole? And what occasions are corsages typically worn for?
We’ve done a little digging, so read on for answers to these and more questions about how and when to wear a corsage.
A woman typically wears a corsage on her left side, and it is often pinned to her lapel.
The confusion comes in because years ago, the corsage was worn on the right.
Things do tend to change though, and nowadays, the left side is considered the correct side.
Odds are that you have seen them but did not realize they had a specific name.
Have you ever seen the small floral arrangement worn by a woman to a formal event? That is a corsage.
No, there is a variety called a wrist-corsage. It is affixed to a stretchy material such as elastic and is placed on a woman’s wrist.
Yes, it is considered good etiquette to wear the wrist corsage on the left side of the body. An exception to this would be if the lady is left-handed.
Then she may strongly prefer wearing it on the right side.
On the occasion it is worn by a bridesmaid, it will remain on her left side to be consistent with the other bridesmaids.
The non-spoken, yet proper rule, to follow is to wear the wrist corsage on the non-dominant arm. That is, the arm you do NOT use to write.
Sometimes yes, for a wedding or other extremely formal occasion. In such cases, it is often referred to as a boutonniere rather than a corsage.
However, it serves the same purpose as a corsage worn by a woman. For a wedding, the groom is able to wear a corsage if it is preferred.
A buttonhole flower is a flower containing a single stem.
In the wedding party, the buttonhole flower for the men ought to match or compliment those in either the bridal bouquet or on the bridesmaids’ dresses.
A corsage is usually comprised of two or more flowers, whereas a buttonhole flower has only one.
Women or men can wear a buttonhole flower depending upon the intended occasion. A buttonhole flower is officially known as a boutonniere.
It is customary for men and women to wear the corsage on the left lapel. For women, the stem should face up with the flowers facing down, while for men it is the opposite.
Traditionally, it is correct to place the corsage four inches down from a woman’s left shoulder. This is where the pin for the corsage should be affixed so that the corsage is placed correctly.
Yes! Years ago corsages were pinned to the bodice section of a dress. That has since changed. Now it is worn on the shoulder strap of the dress.
Generally speaking, the flowers look best when facing your fingers with the stems pointing toward your elbow.
When placed this way, the flowers will be seen by other people, especially photographers.
This is something most people do not know; it is different from men. Women are supposed to wear their buttonhole flowers on the right.
Not only that, but the flower needs to face downward with the stem facing her shoulder.
While it is sometimes appropriate for a woman to wear them, it is more common for a man. Examples would be men in a wedding party.
Not only the groom but also members of the immediate family of the couple of honor often wear buttonhole flowers.
The rule of thumb is, it ought to be a contrasting or a complementary color to that worn by the groom.
For occasions other than a wedding, it is possible different rules would apply. Keep in mind that things do tend to change over time.
They can if they want to, but it is not essential. They can choose to wear a suitably fashionable brooch or equally decorative jewelry.
It is up to the bride and groom themselves what the mothers should wear.
Corsages date back to ancient times in Greece when it was customary for women to wear flowers for good luck and for protection from various spirits.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, corsages were used to prevent diseases during a woman’s daily life.
After that, they began to be utilized for adornment during special occasions. This is how they are used today.
There are certainly generational differences when it comes to wearing corsages. Younger people gravitate towards wrist corsages for occasions like proms or special birthday celebrations due to the ease of applying them.
In contrast, older people prefer the sheer elegance of the traditional placing of the corsage on the woman’s shoulder.
Nowadays, corsages are typically worn for formal occasions only. These can include:
- Mother’s Day
- Special birthdays
They are used to identify the guest of honor in a group. An example would be a sweet-16 birthday celebration honoree.
They might also represent the convictions of the wearer or simply be used to compliment a woman’s attire.
The most common reason out of these is to highlight someone of special significance.
As for women, men wear these decorations for formal occasions. These can include:
- Job promotions
Please note: when a gentleman wears a boutonniere, it is expressly understood the occasion is very formal.
In the case of a wedding or a prom, the type of flower often matches that of their bride or their date.
If he wants to have good etiquette, he wears it on his lapel to the high, left side of the body. In contrast to women, men wear it with the stem pointing down.
The difference is basically in the terminology. Also, where the woman’s corsage usually has two or more flowers, the man’s boutonniere only has one.
Not too small or too large. While you do want to make a statement by wearing one, if the flower is too big it will droop or become twisted.
On the other hand, if it is too small, nobody will notice it. That is not good!
The florist will usually take care of this. They often select roses or carnations. Callas are good too. These flowers are chosen not only because they are attractive, but because they have a good lifespan and will look fresh throughout the event.
Keep in mind, the color of a corsage or boutonniere should also be chosen based on the color of the outfit it will be worn with.