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Handbag History

Have you ever wondered about the history of handbags? The handbag has been an essential item to the fashion industry ever since people have had something precious to carry around with them.

The first use of handbags drawn in history began in the 14th century, It was in the Egyptian hieroglyphs that shows pouches carried around the waist. Bags were attached to a belt around the waist which was called a girdles. Embroidery and jewels was added these belts and bags to show the wearers status – the richer the person, the more detailed and complicated the bag.

In the 16th century, handbags was more practical with the use of everyday materials such as leather, with a drawstring fastener on top. Woman wore their chaneries or hamondeys under their dresses. During this time cloth bags were used that were made larger and were used by travellers and carried across their body.

In 17th century handbags they became more of a choose, from round, oval, long to short bags. Fashionable men and women carried small purses with different shapes. Young girls were taught embroidery and then they would stitch unique artwork on to the handbags.

In the 18th century narrower slender dresses became popular, so wearing a bag under their clothing ruin the look so fashionable ladies started carrying their handbags which were called reticules. Women had a different bag for every occasion.

The name handbag was first use in the early 1900’s referred to hand-held bags carried by men. These were an inspiration for bags that became popular for women, including the use of fasteners, internal compartments, and locks. With this new fashion statement , jewellers got into the act with special compartments for opera glasses, cosmetics, and fans.

The 1920s saw the pouchettes which was clasp bag, in the 1930s the shoulder bag, satchel, clasp and clutch all became in to fashion.

With the war in the 1940s the handbag become more of a strict design, more big, more angular and more practical. Metal frames, zipper were hard to get so the makers used plastic, wood and synthetic material instead of leather.

The 1950s post war made the handbag in to a icon status. Well know designers emerged including Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Hermes.

The 1960s saw more youthful styles such as the long narrow clutch, the shoulder bag,with long chains or straps, any thing went no rules!

The 1970 took in the large satchel, and fabric shoulder bags as more young people were travelling all over the place. Afgham bags, patch work and embroidery and flower power designs were becoming more available.

The 1980’s was seeing the fitness boom so more sport bags. Vera Bradley designed a classic quilted bag which became very popular. Miuccia prada designed the first unisex back bag.

The 20th century handbags are available in many styles and materials such as waterproof canvas, space age synthetics, and faux reptile skins. Handbags, which for so long had been associated with the feminine are now becoming more popular with men. Both the modern man and woman can strap on or sling over a hands-free bag and go.