Friday, December 5, 2014

A Purse Overview and Some Popular Styles

The term purse was originally referred as a small bag to hold coins. It was used by both men and women. In the early years, these purses would be tied around person's waist for security. Still that wasn't enough to keep them secure because they were too easily stolen. Therefore out of necessity, pockets were invented. Men and women could have these pockets within their trousers or dresses that would hold the purses and keep them from being found. 

However, it wasn't until after the late 18th century that purses became an item more for women then men. The reason was that European styles began to move towards a slender shape. This made it harder for women to have pockets within the folds of their dresses. Therefore reticules were design out of fine fabrics such as silk and velvet. These were pouches with a strap that could hold perfume, powder, fan and small feminine weapons. Men, on the other hand, continued to have pockets and purses.

The industrial revolution with the increase in travel brought about the clutch, pouch or handbag from England. These were traveling cases in various sizes for women's particulars.  Men and women who were going to be away from home for long periods of time needed a way for their clothing to travel as well. Therefore, other types of cases such as hotboxes, suitcases and dressing cases were also invented.  These things were the precursor to the modern handbag.

By the 20th century, slim skirts were the fashion and pockets in women's clothing were totally passe. Various types of handbags began to emerge as a result. One of the first popular of women's handbags was the clutch.

 Modern day clutch from

Clutches remained popular until WWII when the rationing of textiles forced manufacturers to find other means to create handbags. As a result, raffia, straw and yarn were used to create satchels based on military designs. 

A straw satchel from

Iconic designer bags became popular in the mid to late 1950's. A Hermes Kelly bag, named after the popular actress and later princess of Monaco, Grace Kelly, and a Chanel 2.55 are two examples of those times. Below is a vintage Chanel 2.55 bag. It was so named because it came out in February of 1955 and it became the first popular shoulder bag.

A Chanel 2.55 from

Since then purses became an essential part of a women's wardrobe. Many believe that a purse can tell a lot about about a woman's style, personality and mood. Furthermore, what's inside the purse can tell even more because the contents within gives a glimpse into a women's personal life. So let's look at some popular purse styles and see if any match your Purse O'Nality.

Hobo Bag from

Medium-size crescent-shaped bag with a top zipper 

and a slouch or dip in the center

Tote from

Medium to large bag with two straps and an open top

Pocketbook from

Small purse, rectangular shape

Messenger Bag from

One long strap worn across the body, inspired by bags 

worn by urban messenger to deliver business mail

 Satchel from

A soft sided case usually of leather

Pouch from

A small bag such as a pocket, coin purse, sporran, etc.

Trapezoid Purse from

Shaped as a trapezoid and made of stiff material

Saddle purse from

Shaped like a horse saddle and may have equestrian
motifs and hardware to emphasize the design