Handbags in History

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Women are so used to carry them everywhere. They are an important part of an outfit. It is the number one accessory. They complain when it’s too small, but also when it’s too big ! One is never enough ! But still, they are addicted with Handbags !

Have we ever wondered about the origin of handbags ?

The oldest proof, that shows that handbags were used, is on Egyptian Hieroglyphs. The handbag is that old ! We can pretty much imagine that handbags, purses or pouches were used since people had precious good to carry around. And the first representation of these bags show that they were realized with many ornaments, jewels and embroidery. The bag was the representation of the richness of its owner.

In the 16th century, handbags were made with cloth or leather, and were carried in diagonal by travelers.

In the 17th century, both men and women were carrying bags as a fashionable accessory. But that’s not it, this century saw more and more elaborated handbags made by hand. These were carried by young women who were showing their talent for embroidery, which, at the time, was making them marriageable.

In the 18th century, as women were changing their way of dressing, handbags became  an important part of ones’ style. Each outfit had its own handbag (also called reticules), and of course a woman would carry a different handbag and every occasion. This is also the century when handbags made their arrival in the first fashion magazines.

Finally, the 1900’s saw the birth of the handbags we know and love today. Handbags with different shapes, colors, with locks, with compartments. Also handbags with style : metals frames, zips, leather, mirror, used plastic and wood.

And in the 1950’s, the world of fashion saw the rise of amazing designers houses, that are, now a day, the victims of a huge black market ! Designers houses like Hermes, Chanel, and the very famous Louis Vuitton.

Coin Purses were once carried regularly by men. As a matter of fact the oldest purse known to exist belonged to a man & it dates back to over 5,000 years ago. Designers in the 1970’s in Europe revived the men’s purse. In the 90’s designers began to diversify the product into a range of accessories for men. These bags usually have a masculine or unisex appearance to appeal to men & they are often streamlined so they are less bulky than a backpack or briefcase. These are often called organizer bags or messenger bags. The demand for such bags is strong & has been growing due to the wide variety of electronic devices being carried by men in this age.

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