Friday, August 26, 2011

The History of Purses.....

I have a lot of purses....most I bought, some were gifts and others, my Vintage Western Purses, belonged to grandmothers or other relatives. I have a growing collection of Vintage Western purses...I love all the different styles and leather tooling. AND, there are a few Vintage (western) luggage pieces too! 
I would NEVER say I had TOO many or didn't NEED any more...
a girl always NEEDS ACCESSORIES!!! 
Purses have an early history, their origins started with men and women carrying pouches for seed, religious items and medicine. They were used to show signs of wealth and standing, by their decorations, embroidery, shells etc. They were also worn under the clothing to hide a person's wealth.
The standing, western purse on the right (w/the name carving), was my engagement present from my husband almost 40 years ago!
 (**oops, dating myself!)
Egyptian hieroglyphs show pouches being carried around the waist. 
Some of the first written literature regarding purses date back to the 14th century.  During the 15th century, purses were the traditional wedding gift from a husband to his bride. The bags were elaborately embroidered with the story of their love. 
*What a nice sentiment! I wonder IF Hubby knew that when he had his brother make the purse for me? It is a wild rose design, one of my favorite flowers. AND,of course ...Yellow & White roses graced our wedding! Okay, done with the brain fade....
During the 16th century, handbags became more practical. Expanding their sizes, adding closures, such as draw strings and such. At this time, cloth bags were made larger to accommodate travelers who used a longer strap that went diagonal across the body.
In the 17th century fashionable Men and Women carried smaller purses with a variety of shapes. Young girls were taught embroidery techniques on purses while honing their their necessary skills for marriage. The beginnings of beautiful and unique embroidered art was born.
By the 18th century the practice of wearing your purse beneath your clothing began to subside. Ladies of fashion began carrying purses, which were called reticules. Women started carrying different purses to use with different occasions. There were fashion debates among magazines on the proper use of purses. These purses carried; rouge, face powders, a scent vessel, smelling salts, a fan and a card case for calling cards. 
 The early 19th century coined the phrase "handbag". Generally referring to hand held luggage bags, most often carried by men. These bags were the inspiration for woman wanting compartments inside the bag for smaller items, shoes and such. This also brought about the quest for fasteners and locks. Jewelers designed compartments to contain and hide jewelry, face powders, opera glasses and fans, etc. 
With the 1920's came many changes in fashions and, bags no longer needed to perfectly match the ladies outfit. During the 1940's purses were made with materials that were not in high demand due to the war efforts.  
This is just a brief scattering of purse history...I am sure there are volumes of historical facts! 
Today, purses are just as important as shoes! We have so...
 many to choose from, what's a girls to do??? 
Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Coach, Ralph Lauren Dooney Burke, Kate Spade, Hobo, Vera Wang, Michael Kors, Guess... designers galore' ...American, French, Italian....Oh MY!  
Carry On...With Style... 

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