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Purse, Pocket, Reticule or Handbag ?

July 18, 2017

Purse, Pocket, Reticule or Handbag ?

The history of the method of carrying valuable or everyday useful items goes back many centuries.  The way of carry change around in the 16th to 18th centuries was in a draw-string purse, which was always liable to theft from 'cutpurses'.  Thieves who followed  a person carrying such an item, and would simply cut through the strings that fastened the neck by which it was being carried, and run off with the purse itself.

Another early form for ladies to carry items was in 'pockets', these were usually deep pouches that were made of decorated fabric and tied either side of the waist forming decorative panels.  Hence what must have been a rather puzzling phrase to many modern children; 'Lucy locket lost her pocket...'.

In the late eighteenth and the ninteenth centuries the 'reticule' appeared to enable ladies to carry items around, usually quite small with a draw- string.

The modern definition of a handbag had come around by the end of the ninteenth century. One of the most famous lines from a play being that of  Lady Bracknell in Oscar Wilde's play written at this time, 'The Importance of being Earnest' - 'A Handbag ???'.

The 20th century has produced some beautifully decorated examples. In the 1920's woven silver chain bags were very popular and can still be found in good condition today.  Also right through to the 1970's, embroidered, beaded and elegant metallic thread decorated, handbags were made, some by leading names in haute couture, to complement the fashions of the day.

Here at Top Banana we have a selecton of different vintage styles for those Ladies who would like to find somthing unusual for the special evening out.

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