Origins of ordinary things: Handbags

Handbags are to women what wallets are to men; light and convenient accessories for storing a few portable personal items when people are going somewhere. Of course, handbags are a lot bigger than wallets and if men hadn’t shied away from using them, they wouldn’t be considered feminine today.

Handbags are to women what wallets are to men; light and convenient accessories for storing a few portable personal items when people are going somewhere. Of course, handbags are a lot bigger than wallets and if men hadn’t shied away from using them, they wouldn’t be considered feminine today.

You see, in the fourteen and fifteenth centuries, both men and women carried bag-like accessories called pouches. They would attach them to their girdles around their waists. They used them for carrying coins. This is according to Random History, a knowledge dissemination platform.

In the 16th century, according to Info Barrel an education platform, bags were made in larger sizes so that they had more practical uses. By the 17th century, there was interest in making sophisticated and fashionable bags. As such, young girls were needlework skills.

It was in the 18th century that pouches stopped being popular among men. This happened because women wanted purses that were neither bulky nor untidy. As a result, reticules made of silk and velvet and carried with wrist straps were designed. Men preferred purses and pockets. This is according to Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia.

According to Information, an online knowledge platform, 17th and 18th century women wore their bags underneath their very voluminous clothing. The bags hung from the wearer’s hip, and were thus called thigh pockets. This trend stopped in the 19th century when women’s clothes became straight and left no room for carrying bags underneath.

Handbags gained popularity in the 1840s when more and more women started travelling by train. According to Random History, professional luggage makers took notice of the trend and made hand-held luggage bags. This is when the term “handbag” is said to have first emerged.

According to Wikipedia, English entrepreneur Samuel Parkinson is particularly credited for the manufacture of luxury handbags. In 1841, Parkinson ordered for handbags of varying sizes for different occasions for his wife and his request was met. After that, luxurious handbags became increasingly popular.

The 20th century saw a surge of different of styles of handbags that changed decade after another. For instance, while 1950s bags were basket and box-shaped and made of plastic,1960s bags were more natural and made of material such as beads. This is according to Info Barrel.

Today, handbags of different forms and make are available and buyers are spoilt for choice. At the same time, handbags for men commonly known as man purses are making a resurgence. Whether or not they will be fully embraced remains to be seen.

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