The Cool History of Handbags for Girls Who like Fun Facts ...


The Cool History of Handbags for Girls Who like Fun  Facts ...
The Cool History of Handbags for Girls Who like Fun  Facts ...

You rarely see a woman without a purse or handbag, From huge tote bags that hold everything to diminutive purses that only hold cash, keys, phone and a lippie, a bag is an essential accessory. Today's bags come in a truly impressive range of types and styles and colors, but how did we reach this kaleidoscope and eclectic state?

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Ancient Times

Ancient Times In the society of Ancient Egypt, it was totally common and normal for men to carry around purse-like pouches that they could tie around their waists to carry different items in.


These pouches were often highly ornate, signifying status and wealth. While the men were rocking their carry-alls, women in Ancient Egypt fancied something similar, yet notably more delicate and smaller in size. Their handbags would not only serve as essential carriers for personal belongings but were also treated as fashion statements with intricate designs, ranging from bejeweled patterns to embroidery that reflected their standing within the social hierarchy. So yes, handbags have been iconic from the very start!


Medieval Times

Medieval Times Early medieval times across Europe saw peasants fashioning small bags to be able to transport things like seeds and from market places back to their homes.


These pouches, often crudely made from cloth or leather scraps, were vital for the day's haul. Interestingly, as time progressed, the humble bag evolved. The 14th and 15th centuries witnessed an uptick in their ornateness, as they became not just utilitarian but also a symbol of personal taste and social status. Wealthier individuals, particularly women, would have intricately designed bags embellished with jewels or embroidery, indicating their wealth and position within the tapestry of medieval society. It's fascinating how a simple need to carry items could flower into such a rich display of culture and identity.


14th Century

14th Century Skipping forward, in the 14th century drawstring bags were a common accessory used to carry coins, and at the same time wealthy women began to wear them simply as accessories to events like balls.


15th Century

15th Century Interestingly, handbags in this century were very often linked to marriage, with an ornate pouch being presented to a bride on her wedding day. It was also common during this time for Knights to carry ‘hunting purses’.


These hunting purses were not just a fashion statement but also highly practical, tailored to fit the needs of a rugged lifestyle dominated by outdoor pursuits. Ironically, the intricate designs on these masculine accessories would probably be considered pretty fancy by today's standards. Carrying on the tradition of gift-giving, it was typical for a groom to gift his bride an embroidered purse, symbolizing wealth and the transfer of his possessions into her care. Such purses often featured romantic imagery or familial coats of arms, weaving love and legacy into the fabric of their design.


16th Century

16th Century Although drawstring bags were still the most common, women began to wear what they called girdle pouches, which were bags that could be concealed underneath petticoats. Cloth bags that could be worn over one shoulder were also popular with peasants and travellers.


17th Century

17th Century In the 17th century, embroidered carry bags began to become popular with women and young girls, and bags like these became a common and sought after gift to give on a birthday or similar occasion.


18th Century

18th Century As clothes became more slender and more simple, bags started to become something more of a fashion symbol. In Europe they were called ‘indispensables’, which gives you an idea of how popular they had become. Drawstring bags were still popular and were called reticules.


The 18th century was a time of great fashion and style for women. Handbags were a popular accessory and were often made of light materials such as silk, velvet, and cotton. They were usually decorated with intricate embroidery, beads, and other adornments. Some handbags had drawstrings to close them, while others had clasps or buckles.

The most popular handbag of the 18th century was the reticule, which was a drawstring bag that hung from the wrist. It was often decorated with ribbons and tassels and was used to carry small items such as money, a fan, or a handkerchief. It was a popular accessory for the ladies of the court.

The popularity of handbags in the 18th century was due to the fact that they were seen as a symbol of status and wealth. They were often given as gifts by the wealthy and used to display their wealth and status. Handbags were also used to carry important documents such as letters, contracts, and other papers.


19th Century

19th Century Technological advancements in this century saw the handbag being fashioned out of a wide range of fabrics in a wide range of sizes. The increase in train travel meant that people wanted a handbag to carry their valuables in safely. We saw the introduction of the carpet bag.


Early 1900s

Early 1900s The early 1900s saw the creation of the leather briefcase and the leather shopping bag. Small drawstring purses and Dorothy bags became an essential accessory for any woman who could afford to buy one.



1920s After WWI, fashion became more relaxed and a woman’s bag no longer had to completely match her outfit. Also, Egyptian art and designs became increasingly popular as a result of the discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb. Woven metal thread purses became a trendy item.



1930s Satchels, clasp bags and clutches become the most popular form of handbag around the world. The inclusion of plastics and zippers start to make everything a bit more practical. Art Deco styling hit its peak.



1940s After WWII, there was a change in design to make bags larger for women as a symbol that they were being more self-sufficient and independent.



1950s This was a massively important era for the world of handbags as design houses like Chanel, Hermes and Louis Vuitton all entered the fashion world and started to take it by storm.


During the 1950s, handbags became more than just a functional accessory, but a symbol of status and luxury. Designers like Chanel introduced the iconic quilted bag, while Hermes popularized the Birkin and Kelly bags. Louis Vuitton also gained recognition for their signature monogram canvas bags. This decade also saw the rise of the "it" bag trend, with celebrities like Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn sporting designer bags as a fashion statement. The 1950s also marked the beginning of collaborations between designers and celebrities, such as the partnership between Gucci and actress Grace Kelly, which resulted in the iconic "Flora" print. This era solidified the handbag as a coveted fashion accessory and paved the way for the evolution of handbag design in the years to come.



1960s To match the style of the swinging 60s, there was a move to a smaller, more slender and dainty style of handbag, such as the iconic shoulder clutch with long chain.



1970s With world travel becoming increasingly popular, there was a move towards popularising the big, fabric satchels and messenger bags that are so convenient when going a trip to several different countries.



1980s A big world push on personal health and fitness saw the fast popularisation of the handy sports bag, perfect for taking all of your sports clothing with you to the gym.


21st Century

21st Century Handbags are more popular now than they have ever been. They come in all shapes and sizes, styles and fabrics. The most significant advancement in the 21st century has been the rise in mainstream use of handbags for men, or ‘manbags’ as they have been nicknamed.

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Veeeeeeery cool and interesting topic to know about. Getting a brand new bag is one of the most exciting feelings! 😝

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