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The History and Evolution of Purses and Handbags

Even though the handbag is the essential element of every woman's wardrobe, because of its fashionable and functional design. It is one of the most common accessories for both women and men - and has been for as long as mankind can remember. Purses are one of the fashion icons that are most used. It has different styles where people can choose from. As one of the most important accessories when going out, without it, it is hard for daily living.  Purses are not just accessories, it is a handy accessory not just for a show. It was made to bring our belongings easier and safer. It can also boost your outfit with choosing the best purse you can partner your style with. Where does one of the fashion icons come from? Let’s travel through centuries!


The First Ever Purse in Ancient Times

Looking back in ancient times, it was found from Europe’s oldest natural mummy named Otzi which is known as the Iceman. It is simply made by chamois hide and attached on it is a single strap. The bag has been historically referred to as pouches used for carrying seeds, religious items and medicine for centuries. When men and women traveled even on short trips, they needed something to carry their belongings with them.


Feel The Renaissance Style of Bags

During the 15th to 17th century, it shows the unique style of purses. They were traditionally gifts from the groom to their brides that help them express their love. Aside from that, styles of clothes such as skirts have been changing making it hard for them. Rather than the pouches that were easily lost in the large amounts of fabric, women started to wear their pouches under their skirts, and men usually filled them with lavender, herbs or sweet smelling material.


Revolution Times of Purses

After the French Revolution, the women’s full skirts became less popular and more slender dresses emerged, leaving no room beneath for pockets. Purses became popular again, this time in a form of embroidered, often silk drawstring bags called reticules.

Developments in science and industry during the Industrial Revolution brought a variety of fabrics and changed bag styles from the classic drawstring to a popular flat style. The bags during this era were marked with the date and their own initials and were often heavily decorated with beading and needlework. There were smaller versions as well, and they’ve been used as coin purses which include a metal fastener.

By the early 20th century, handbags became much more than just hand-held luggage. Working women who now started to be gone from home for longer periods of time could choose from different models including larger handbags and purses.

Purses Development During Art Deco Period

In 1920’s to 1930’s, most of the bags that we use today had been created such as handbags with handles, a clasp frame, satchel, clutch and a shoulder bag. New materials have been used when making these different styles of purses.



New Designs Emerge during WWII 


World War II made changes to the smooth contours of the previous decade and introduced larger and more practical military style bags. During the postwar economic boom, major designers such as Hermes, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Dior emerged to transform the classic handbag into a cult status which is highly popular to society.


During the past centuries, it has been developed into a fashion accessory that is changing every season and is worn by both women and men. Different styles have been created by world-renowned designers and they continue to produce their amazing pieces to boost your style.

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