Sweet smelling flowers, herbs, and perfumes enhanced a person's scent throughout the eighteenth century. The infrequency of bathing made nosegays, or small bouquets, essential for any well-dressed woman. Nosegays could be attached to an outfit or carried. When flowers were pinned or held in small vases at the bustline of a woman's stomacher, the center part of her bodice, they were called bosom flowers or bosom bottles. Real flowers were replaced with rosettes made of perfumed ribbons after about 1750. Nosegays live on into the twenty-first century as the corsages worn for special occasions. ("Corsage" means the bodice of a woman's dress in French. Perhaps nosegays were so often worn attached to the bodice that they came to be called corsages.)

Woman with a nosegay pinned to her dress. The infrequency of bathing had made nosegays, or small floral bouquets, essential for any well-dressed woman in the eighteenth century. Courtesy of the .

During the eighteenth century, French men began tucking flowers in the buttonholes of their waistcoats and introduced boutonières as fashionable nosegays for men. Boutonières were popular among men at formal affairs into the nineteenth century and continue to be worn into the twenty-first century.


Yarwood, Doreen. The Encyclopedia of World Costume. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1978.

Also read article about Nosegay from Wikipedia

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