In terms of etiquette it is not necessary to wear a corsage to prom--the practice is more customary than mandatory. However, prom can be an opportunity to dress creatively. If what stops you from wearing a corsage is the thought of adorning yourself with an accessory everyone else will be wearing, know that your options are not limited. In contemporary times, prom corsages are not confined to the old-fashioned and conventional styles worn by your mother or grandmother. You can wear a corsage in any way you want to or even make your own.
A corsage used for prom is an arrangement of flowers--typically two to three buds--gathered with a ribbon that matches or complements the gown of the young lady wearing it. Traditionally, her date purchases the corsage and helps her put it on before they leave together for the event. Roses and carnations are two of the most common flowers that make up prom corsages, but there are no rules as to the kind of flowers that are appropriate for the occasion; orchids, cornflowers, freesias and lilies have all been worn to prom.
Regardless of how basic or unusual a corsage appears, there are a variety of ways to wear or use one. Corsages are most commonly worn on the wrist or pinned to the upper left side of the dress. They can also be pinned to the waist of the dress, especially if it is strapless and does not offer enough room for the flowers on top. If you don't want to put on a corsage but nevertheless wish to have one visible in pictures, you can fasten one to your purse or even just hold a small bouquet called a "nosegay" instead.
Those with eccentric and artistic tastes can use a corsage as a finishing touch without blending in with the girls who wear it in the usual ways. Incorporating the flowers in your hairdo is one such option. Another alternative is to wear the corsage as an arm bracelet rather than as the traditional wristlet. Along the same lines, if you have on a short dress that deliberately shows off your legs, you can wear an anklet-style corsage. Details, such as beading on the ribbon of the corsage, can also be added for more of an individual touch regardless of where you wear the flowers. The materials that make up the corsage are another area where flexibility can be exercised. For instance, in place of a ribbon or wire, an actual bracelet can clasp the flowers around the wrist. Your imagination is essentially the only factor that limits your artistry.
Coordinate with your date at least two weeks before prom. Not doing so may result in an unpleasant surprise, as your date may present you with a corsage that clashes with your dress. If you are wearing your prom flowers in a relatively unusual manner, such as in your hair or around your neck as a choker, you especially need to communicate clearly with your date. Corsages--even for prom--can be pricey, so let your date know of your plans in order to save him from investing the time and money in a corsage you may not appreciate.
Go to the florist with your date if you have very specific instructions as to the kind of corsage you would like to wear. This allows you to match your corsage to his boutonniere as well, if you wish. If you are wearing the flowers as part of an intricate hairstyle, you will have to make arrangements with your date so that he can give you the flowers ahead of time for the hairstylist to weave them in as necessary. You could even buy and pick up the flowers yourself to avoid any confusion if your ideas for your corsage are considerably elaborate.