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Handbag History

History of Handbags

Men have been wearing handbags since the dawn of time, when they were rude pouches used to carry coins or flint. Women started using handbags in the 15th century, which they naturally made into status symbols to display their wealth. Handbags were adorned with jewellery and made from rich materials such as silk, and whoever owned the most expensive handbag was the envy of all her friends - something that hasn’t changed today!

men holding handbags
Then fashion dictated that women wear their handbag under their skirt, and further design innovation became somewhat superfluous. Handbags re-emerged in the 1800s, when sleeker clothing made a bulky handbag under it look a little odd, to say the least.

The first hand-held handbags appeared in the 1900s, and were intended to complement a woman’s clothes, which made it necessary for her to own several to go with her numerous outfits. In the 1920s it was fashionable for women to carry a doll clad in a tiny version of its owner’s outfit, a sort of mini-me, complete with a minuscule handbag. WWII made metal and leather scarce, so handbags were made from cloth or plastic, sparking the innovation of design and materials that continues to this day.

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