Tuesday, May 10, 2016

HANDBAGS: A HISTORY





Handbag fetish or addiction, no matter what you call it, I have it. Yes, I admit it and it's worse than my shoe addiction. Yikes! Geez, this may be worse than I originally thought. But hey, I can't be the only one, right???

Anyway, that's what sprung this idea for our talk today. Purses have shown up throughout time in many shapes and forms. From the earliest of time, both men and women carried pouches to carry sundry bits of importance, like seeds, items of religious significance and medicines. They were made of bits of animal skins, later cloth, and knitted string to look like net. Each might be decorated to personal tastes with shells, feathers and the like.




















Traditional wallets began as early as the 16th century, as small leather pouches with a drawstring with which to tie to a belt loop. Women carried sweet bags that held lavender or other scents to freshen their clothing and handkerchiefs. It was around this time pockets were introduced into clothing to carry small personal belongings.


Bettina Feldt's 18th Century Clothes and Accessories

Women also carried bags tied around their waists and worn under their skirts, as seen above.

The mid-1800s showed a variety of handbags from the beaded and embroidered drawstring to a flat style that could be either square or circular in design.
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Patterns for these were offered in popular ladies magazines of the day.











Early 20th century saw another change in the style of handbag carried by the modern woman. Two purses I'll share with you belonged to my grandmother, Faith, and her sister, Stella.








They are circa 1910-1915 and I framed them to showcase and preserve them.

 During World War II, shoulder bags became popular and have evolved to include over the arm, clutch, crossbody and tote. Some men briefly carried a messenger or casual bag in the 70's and even today they might be seen carrying one, but purses or handbags are largely used by women. I know I usually carry the kitchen sink. I want to have anything for any situation, a hold over from my mom days, I suppose.

This past weekend, Mother's Day, my som graciously bought me a shiney new handbag that caught my eye at the leather store at Grapevine Mills Mall. It's turquoise with silver hardware. I obviously needed it, and it's prreeetttty. Don't you agree?


Well that's what I have to say today. Chime in and let me know what you think. Do you get as ga-ga as I do over a purse or is there something else that trips your trigger?

I'd like to wish all a happy belated Mother's Day!

Hugs to all,
Carra
xoxoxoxo


5 comments:

  1. Glad to see you made it! These internet outages can ruin an entire day...or longer, sometimes.
    I have a love/hate relationship with purses. In my working days, I always carried a large purse on my shoulder. Teaching school taught me to be prepared for anything. But my shoulder began to ache with sharp pains, and I decided I had developed "Purse Shoulder." Although I could not convince my teacher friends the purse was what made them have shoulder pain, or neck pain, or arm pain. I went to very small purses, but one with a cord or strap to wear cross-body. Today, I carry a very small turquoise purse made by Liz Claiborne that has a short strap for my shoulder--very light--and I have everything I need in this purse--a few small items for make-up touch-ups, a small Swiss Army Knife, and a small regular pocket knife, nail clippers, file, Kleenex, cough drops, etc.
    I do love those photos of the embroidered purses--lovely. Thanks for the history lesson--I enjoyed it.

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  2. As soon as I saw you had blogged about handbags, I hurried on over here. Loved all the pictures, btw. I love all different kinds of pocketbooks and even make some of my own. I made one shaped like a fish. One of my favorites is the sporran (that's the Scottish purse men wear with their kilts.) I thought it was a great idea and they look so cool. Loved the picture you have with the lady with her "sweet purse" which is much like a sporran. I have several. It's a hands free kinda thing.
    I cannot imagine a time before pockets. Where did they put their house key and change? LOL
    I have an expensive Coach purse. It's nice, but I seldom use it. It's a shoulder purse and mine always slip off. So annoying. I like cross body purses best.
    Loved your blog, Carra!

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  3. What an interesting and unusual post. Loved the pics. Since I can't have a shoe fetish due to medical reasons, I now love gorgeous handbags, so I get this, I really get this post. I used to like Coach, but now I'm hung up on Brahmin bags, the only kind I like to carry. Oh, forgot to mention, the handbag "hangie" thing you gave me has come in handy, a lot, especially at a crowded brunch, this past Sunday!

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  4. Great post, Carra. Didn't know they wore purses under their skirts too. Hmmm, secret place for our heroine to carry a derringer! As for my favorite 21st century purses, their mostly Vera Bradleys - lots of pockets, practical,pretty and washable.

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  5. Carra,

    It seems that throughout history, men and women have searched for the perfect bag for carrying our indispensables from food to gunpoweder to medical supplies to cell phones. I chuckled at Celia's 'purse shoulder'. because teachers carry stuff around all the time (I was a teacher who carted all sorts of heavy bags to and from school). I don't like carrying a purse, so I've settled for a girly-looking backpack and a sling bag.

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