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Corsage do's and don'ts

Flowers and formal events go hand in hand. Both women and men may wear flowers at weddings, graduations and dances.

A corsage is a small bundle of flowers that is pinned to the lapel area of a woman's clothing or tied around her wrist. Some people get creative and wear corsages in their hair or on their ankles.Corsages get their name from the French bouquet de corsage, meaning a grouping of flowers for the bodice. Initially, corsages were attached to the bodice of a dress and wearers believed the corsages helped to ward off evil spirits.While corsage fashion may have changed, they remain incredibly popular today. Male promgoers typically give their dates corsages before heading off for the festivities, and promgoers or others wearing corsages to formal events may want to consider the following corsage do's and don'ts.DO order corsages at least two weeks to a month in advance so that the florist will have time to order the necessary flowers. Expect certain flowers, such as orchids and pink and white roses, to be in demand. Ordering early ensures you get the flowers you want.DON'T forget to talk to your date about clothing color schemes and style of dress, as corsages often are matched to the gown. Florists can customize the corsage based on the length, style and color of what a date is wearing.DO ask if the gown has straps. This will help you decide whether or not to purchase a corsage that pins near the bodice or one with a wrist strap.DON'T feel the need to match the corsage and boutonniere exactly. While they may feature the same flowers, it is not necessary for them to have the same ribbon or bloom.DO go easy on your date and let him know if you prefer a certain flower or style of corsage. In addition, mention if you have any allergies to certain flowers so your corsage does not trigger an attack.DON'T be embarrassed to discuss budget with a florist. If you have a certain price in mind, mention your budget as you look for the right corsage. Then choose an arrangement that falls in your price range.DO experiment with handmade corsages if you are handy. Amateur florists can try their hand at making corsages for their dates, who may be especially impressed and moved by homemade corsages. Make a corsage from fresh or silk flowers or create a "bloom" from ribbon. There are plenty of tutorials and tips for corsage tricks. Visit a craft center for more inspiration and materials.DON'T be shy about exploring the modern and trendy ideas in corsages. Corsages can be a method of self-expression, and there's no limit to their style, size and placement. Tiny blooms can be grouped together to make a corsage bracelet or a corsage ring.DO keep corsages cool until they are used. Store them in a refrigerator to prevent the flowers from drying out prematurely. Afterward, consider drying the corsage to save as a memento.

METROGRAPHICS Corsages complete a prom look.