The History of Women’s Handbags and Purses Every Woman Should Know

For a very long time, bags and purses have been in use by both men and woman for practical everyday articles. They were used for carrying money and other personal items, since clothes weren’t made to fit with the pockets. You might have noticed in the ancient paintings how handbags are preserved. These bags are rare of a kind because they were made of perishable materials.

They were available in many designs for many purposes like: bags with clasps, leather pouches, and purses with long drawstrings. These belts were worn with a belt attached. When the pockets were introduced in the 16th century, men’s bags began to disappear in 17th century. From then, the bags only belonged to women’s domain.

From the 16th century, women often carried their purses on a chatelaine, which is a hook with chains to which small utensils like keys, knife cases, scissors and sewing tools could be attached. Since, chatelaines were often designed from precious metals, they were also deemed as jewelry and status symbols.

Then, in the 17th and 18th century, women’s clothing became so huge that one or two bags or ‘pockets’ could be easily hidden underneath their skirts. Such pockets were typically worn in pairs: one hanging from each hip, thus, the name thigh pockets.

1800-1900 AD

In the 18th century, when the Roman city of Pompeii was discovered, all ancient Greek and Roman things became famous. Classicism also had an immense impact on women’s fashion. Dresses became straight, and the waistline moved upwards. Also, there was no room for thigh bags underneath these dresses. So, they started carrying handbags which were carried on a cord or chain.

In the 19th century, in the age of Industrial Revolution, many advanced manufacturing methods came into being. New materials like papier-mâché, iron and polished steel came into existence and were used in making bags which gave a flexibility in new models and designs. New bags were designed for travelers, who could then travel with ease by boat and railway. Hand luggage was also made for railway travels.

1900 AD- to the Present

In the 20th century, art and fashion movements originated and the era of handbags evolved at a faster pace. Many women were employed as they became more mobile and their handbags always helped them in meeting the growing variety of practical needs. Consequently, this led in all kinds of bags for specific purposes like leather document cases for going to the office, practical leather and plastic daytime bags for walking and visiting, elegant, sparkling bags and minaudières (metal clutches) for the evenings. And now wholesale womens bags provide all kinds of handbags at a cheaper price.