Sunday 31 May 2009

Handbags - A Historical Perspective

A recent study revealed that the average handbag and its
contents are worth a whopping 900 dollars! That's 120 billion
dollars women are carrying around in handbags nationwide. And
can you blame us, really, when there's such an abundance of
variety in the handbag market?

It could well be argued that handbags have overtaken shoes as
the luxury collectable accessory of choice for celebrities and
ordinary women alike.

But in fact handbags may have as long and controversial a
history as the ubiquitous high heel, and according to handbag
historians they were used in a similar way - to show the status
of the wearer.

In the fourteenth century, the richer and more powerful the
person the more jewels and embroidery festooned the handbag.
Not much has changed in the handbag world, then.

Over the centuries handbags have gone through many adaptations
and fashions, but the word 'handbag' was only coined in the
1900's. That decade also heralded the type of handbag we would
recognise today - with bags getting increasingly smaller and
the introduction of handbag fasteners, inner compartments and

But that's enough history: clearly the most important time
period in terms of handbags was the fifties, which saw the rise
of the ultimate handbag designer houses; including Chanel, Louis
Vuitton and Hermes.

Like Chanel's Number 5 perfume, some of these handbags have
become instantly recognisable fashion icons; signifiers of the
rich and the famous. Sadly, though, this means that showing off
your new Louis Vuitton at the office party, or having a stash of
Gucci handbags in the wardrobe, is out of the price range of
almost everybody.

We should be grateful for the Internet, for perhaps giving us
mortals a chance to own a genuine Gucci handbag without having
to win the lottery or shoplift. The web is so full of second
hand designer handbag dealers that auction giant Ebay have
branched out with their own dedicated handbag site, e bags.

Even better, high street shops are increasingly living up the
ideals set by the designer houses, and its never been more
likely that you can buy a handbag for 8 dollars and pass it off
as a unique one-off! Truly his decade ought to be the decade of
the handbag: and specifically the stylish and affordable
handbag. Handbag fans rejoice!

About The Author: Ciara McGrath taught for many years and is
now a full time mother to four teenage daughters. Find more
articles at For more accessory
advice visit or

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