THE ORIGIN OF THE HANDBAG

The handbag is an essential accessory for almost every woman. It is probably the most practical clothing invention ever created. Whether you fit most of your belongings in a clutch bag or carry around your entire life in a tote bag, there is a bag to suit every woman's lifestyle .

A fashion accessory with very distant origins...

Bags are essential to humans' daily lives since they have something valuable to carry with them. Its origin dates back to around 38,000 BC and was used by both men and women. The bag was therefore unisex from its origin.

original handbag

Humans used them to store and transport food , tools , and various items. Until the 16th century, everyone had a bag to carry money and personal items when traveling since clothing did not yet have pockets.

From a functional bag to a real fashion accessory

In the past, women's bags were essentially pockets worn under skirts and close to the skin. They were then considered underwear. In the 16th century, fashion for women's clothing underwent a great evolution, notably with dresses with finer silhouettes. Due to this new style, wearing bulky pockets under the dress ruined the appearance of these garments and quickly became a serious fashion faux pas . This is how the first true “ handbag ” was invented, a container carried by hand on a rope or chain.

reticle bag

Women quickly began carrying her new handbags when going out, and had a different bag for every occasion . Inside, they took lipstick, face powder, a fan, a bottle of perfume, a business card case and smelling salts. In the 17th and 18th centuries, these women's handbags were referred to in France as "reticules".

17th century women's fashion

The handbag in the middle of a real turmoil between fashion scandals and feminist struggle

With the death of women's pockets, came the birth of the women's bag. So when women's bags became popular, many considered them vulgar or bold . Indeed, this fashion trend is one of the first examples of underwear being worn as outerwear. To many people, this idea was simply absurd , since the mere act of a woman parading her belongings in a visible pocket amounted to an act akin to lifting her skirts and publicly revealing her underwear.

Aside from the scandal of flashing your underwear for all to see, some women considered handbags a poor alternative to pockets .

feminist movement

Early American feminists , in particular, fought against the loss of women's pockets. They believed that handbags would never be as practical as pockets and advocated the integration of functional pockets into women's clothing, as with men's pockets. For these women, pockets for men and handbags for women became symbols of gender inequality and the fight for equal rights for women, much as later feminists will consider the bra.

The dress code revolution

With the rise of department stores as a respectable meeting place for women outside their homes, it became possible for them to stay away from home much longer than before. With this newfound freedom came the need to carry more than could fit in a practically small reticle.

The industrial revolution of the 19th century greatly promoted the development of the handbag with new manufacturing methods and new materials that could be incorporated into its design.

industrial revolution fashion

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, much more functional handbags with multiple internal compartments began to replace the reticle. These changes in the bag itself also marked a change in the idea of ​​the women's handbag : it became something that was entirely unique to each woman . With this new fashion, jewelers got to work offering handbags with special compartments for opera binoculars, cosmetics and fans.

The handbag, the first sign of women's independence?

The handbag continued to develop and transform in the 20th century, influenced by rapidly changing fashion trends, as well as the increasing freedom of women in society. Over time, women entered the labor market in greater numbers and thus became much more mobile and independent. Their bags therefore had to be designed to adapt to this new lifestyle .

1950s handbag

Starting in the 1950s, handbags began to gain cult status. Handbags became true fashion accessories , rather than a simple utility item. The 1950s were marked by strict style rules, one of them being that a handbag must go perfectly with an outfit. This is why handbags began to be considered a fashion trend in their own right.

The ultimate finishing touch for your outfits

The handbag still continues in our time to be a necessary element of a woman's wardrobe. Even though designers are starting to add larger pockets to women's clothing, the handbag is today an iconic piece that undoubtedly gives the finishing touch to every woman's outfit.

Find the ideal bag now to give an impeccable look to each of your outfits thanks to our Women's Handbag collection .


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