Lately, an unexpected accessory has been popping up everywhere in fashion: the corsage. Traditionally, a corsage is worn on a dress or on the wrist for a formal occasion such as homecoming or prom, but flowers being pinned on to clothes is actually a style phenomena that dates all the way back to Ancient Greece. Small bunches of sweet-scented flowers were pinned or threaded onto clothing at weddings as a good omen to ward off evil spirits from souring a marriage.
For many, the corsage is a memento kept and cherished as a reminder of a formal evening of slow dancing years ago. Now, there’s a new take on the corsage which doesn’t need a special occasion.
At Yves Saint Laurent’s Summer Spring 2023 show, influencer Devon Lee Carlson was spotted with a large maroon flower pinned to the lapel of her leather coat. It was a clear callback to Carrie Bradshaw, as giant floral corsages became one of the character's most iconic signature accessories. Bella Hadid also gave the oversized flower her stamp of approval, pairing hers with a denim bustier and teeny tiny miniskirt that would look right at home on Paris Hilton in The Simple Life.
The flower's popularity can largely be credited to one thing: fashion's current Y2K obsession. Blumarine, a brand powering the Y2K revival, has featured plenty of floral details in its past few collections. For Fall 2022 there were knitted corsage-esque flowers that garnished the entire collection—knitted florals were positioned at the cleavage of a top, rung around skirt hems, tied around the neck, and placed at the midriff of dresses and shirts. Blumarine continued onward with adorning their dresses and sets with similar corsages in their Spring 2023 collection.
On the more affordable front, Vietnamese brand Fanci Club—beloved by it-girls like Dua Lipa, Hailey Bieber, and Olivia Rodrigo—carries on the corsage embellishment craze. Fanci Club’s notorious Garden of Eden Dress features a plunging neckline and a rosette planted at the collar bone, and the brand has plenty of Y2k mesh and spandex sets that interlay ruffled flowers with ribboned floral choker collars.
The newest take on the corsage accessory is for the bloom to be tied around the neck as a choker. Influencer and creative Lexie Jayy shares with Byrdie, “Last time I was super into chokers I wore really simple ones, typically just black velvet. This time around I’m enjoying them in a maximalist sort of way…with a big metal charm, bow, a loud color, etc. It’s just a reflection of the times! The corsage choker is new to me, and quickly becoming a fav. I love to take brooches and other pins/corsages from my closet, attach them to a ribbon and wear as a choker.”
Jayy continues, “When I was in high school, I learned that during the French Revolution women wore chokers as a sign of protest towards the French monarchy. I’ve always associated them with self-expression and empowerment.” The addition of a floral corsage coincides with the chokers association with empowerment, since historically it's a relic of protection and self-preservation.
2016 is largely considered "the year of the choker" thanks to major celebrities like Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Kendall Jenner wearing simple black ribbons and classic diamonds around their necks. The choker is seemingly regaining popularity in 2022 with the help of the corsage, as well as other quirky details like puffy charms and glass hearts.
Business owner and creator, Kendall Marsh, started making flower chokers and selling them online through her Instagram, @4salebyowner. Model Kendall Visser recently wore one of Marsh's chokers to a Chanel dinner, while similar styles have popped up in campaigns for cool-girl brands like Frankie's Bikinis and on the necks of celebs like Becky G and Anya Taylor-Joy.
Marsh shares with Byrdie, “the choker trend has been slowly but surely working its way back around through various runways shows even dating back to 2020 (Philosophy Di Lorenzo). But, 2022 is when the trend really took over—from Acne Studios to Magda Butrym and of course, YSL."
The beauty of a floral choker is that it's a simple way to take a fashion risk without too much effort. Marsh continues, “you can truthfully wear anything with the choker, that’s the best part of it. It is supposed to bring out your personal style no matter what that may be. Some days for me, a plain white tee, vintage Levi’s and a small flower choker hits the spot. Other days I lean fully into a vintage nightgown, socks and loafers, and top it off with the trusty choker and gold jewelry.”
The corsage choker is a carefree yet daring addition to any outfit, Marsh shares, “it’s not something you have to open your wallet and spend hundreds of dollars on to get the look.” If you're feeling like taking a fashion risk by spicing up your OOTD, a chic corsage choker is the answer to your style woes—no prom date necessary.