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    (Wikipedia) - Handbag
    This article possibly contains original research. Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding inline citations. Statements consisting only of original research should be removed. (September 2011)
    Model at New York Fashion Week showing a Louis Vuitton handbag.

    A handbag, also purse, pocketbook or pouch in American English, is a handled medium-to-large bag that is often fashionably designed, typically used by women, to hold personal items.

    Contents

    "Purse" or "handbag" or "pouch"

    The term "purse" originally referred to a small bag for holding coins. In British English, it is still used to refer to a small coin bag. A "handbag" is a larger needed accessory, that holds items beyond currency, such as a woman''s personal items and emergency survival items. American English typically uses the terms "purse" and "handbag" interchangeably. The term "handbag" began appearing in the early 1900s. Initially, it was most often used to refer to men''s hand-luggage. Women''s accessory bags grew larger and more complex during that period, and the term was attached to the women''s accessory. Handbags are used as fashion accessories as well as functional ones.

    The verb "handbagging" in the meaning of "treating ruthlessly" comes from Margaret Thatcher''s habit of hitting her opponents with her famous handbag.

    Modern originWomen''s fashion from 1830, including a reticule handbag from France.

    Early modern Europeans wore purses for one purpose, to carry coins. Purses were made of soft fabric or leather, and were worn by men as often as ladies; the Scottish sporran is a survival of this custom. In the 17th century, young girls were taught embroidery as a necessary skill for marriage; this also helped them make very beautiful handbags. By the late 18th century, fashions in Europe were moving towards a slender shape, inspired by the silhouettes of Ancient Greece and Rome. Women wanted purses that would not be bulky or untidy in appearance, so reticules were designed. Reticules were made of fine fabrics like silk and velvet, with wrist straps. Originally popular in France, they crossed over into Britain, where they became known as "indispensables". Men, however, did not adopt the trend. They used purses and pockets, which became popular in men''s trousers.

    The modern purse, clutch, pouch or handbag came about in England during the Industrial Revolution and the increase in travel by railway. In 1841 the Doncaster industrialist and confectionery entrepreneur Samuel Parkinson (of butterscotch fame) ordered a set of travelling cases and trunks, and insisted on a travelling case or bag for his wife''s particulars. Parkinson had noticed his wife''s purse was too small and made from material that would not withstand the journey. He stipulated that he wanted various hand bags for his wife, varying in size for different occasions, and asked that they be made from the same leather that was being used for his cases and trunks; this would distinguish them from the then-familiar carpetbag and other travelers'' cloth bags used by members of other social classes. H. J. Cave (London) obliged and produced the first modern set of luxury handbags, as we would recognise them today, including a clutch and a tote (named as ''ladies travelling case''). These are now on display in the handbag museum in Amsterdam. H. J. Cave did continue to sell and advertise the handbags, but many critics said that women did not need them, and that bags of such size and heavy material would ''break the backs of ladies''. H. J. Cave ceased to promote the bags from 1865, and concentrated on trunks instead, although they continued to make the odd handbag for Royalty, celebrities or to celebrate special occasions, the Queens 2012 Diamond Jubilee being the most recent. However, H.J. Cave resumed handbag production in 2010.

    20th century
    This section requires expansion. (November 2011)

    During the 1940s, the rationing of textiles for World War II led to the manufacturing of handbags made of materials like raffia, or crocheted from yarn. Some women crocheted their own small handbags from commercial patterns during the 1940s.

    Men''s bagsA casual men''s messenger bag.

    Men once carried coin purses, and the oldest known purse dates back more than 5000 years, and was worn by a man, Ötzi the Iceman. In early Modern Europe, when women''s fashions moved in the direction of using small ornamental purses—which evolved into handbags—men''s fashions were moving in another direction. Men''s trousers replaced men''s breeches during the course of the 18th and 19th centuries, and pockets were incorporated in the loose, heavy material. This enabled men to continue carrying coins, and then paper currency, in small leather wallets. Men''s pockets were plentiful in 19th century and 20th century trousers and coats, to carry an ever-increasing number of possessions, such as pipes, matches, pocketknives, and so on, and they were an item frequently mended by their wives. Women, on the other hand, have shown a strong demand for larger handbags that carry more items for everyday use.

    Men''s purses were revived by designers in the 1970s in Europe. Since the 1990s, designers have marketed a more diverse range of accessory bags for men. The names man-purse and murse have been used. The designs are typically variations on backpacks or messenger bags, and have either a masculine or a more unisex appearance, although they are often more streamlined than a backpack and less bulky than a briefcase. These bags are often called messenger bags or organizer bags. The leather satchel is also common. Demand is strong after several years of popularity, possibly supported by the growing range of modern electronic devices men carry with them. Men''s designer bags are produced by well-known companies such as Prada and Bottega Veneta in a variety of shapes and sizes. The global men''s bag and small leather goods trade is a $4 billion a year industry. Sales of men''s accessories including "holdall" bags are increasing in North America.

    Types of handbagsAn 1875 Chatelaine bag, with a buckram frame and velvet body. It would have been "hooked" into the waist of the skirt.Crocodile skin handbags in a conservation exhibit at Bristol Zoo, England

    As a fashion accessory, handbags can be categorized according to the silhouette of the bag, as well as the type of handle. The current popular handbag silhouettes are (as of 2011):

    Gallery of popular handbag silhouettes

    According to type of handle, handbags are often categorized as:

    Handbags that are designed for specific utilitarian needs include:

    Hardware1860 Woman''s handbag with frame and kissing lock (LACMA).

    A distinction can also be made between soft-body handbags or frame handbags, where a metal frame supports the textile or leather of the bag. Frame bags often use a kissing lock closure, with two interlocking metal beads set on the top of the frame. Kissing locks were popular on handbags during the early- to mid-20th century, and remain popular with vintage collectors and in "retro" designs. These locks are still seen on smaller change purses.

    Diamanté clasps were in use by the 1930s. In later decades, designers found popular success with zipper enclosures, flaps, and even magnetic clasps hidden in the fabric of handbags.

    History worldwide

    The need to organize one''s belongings is universal, thus handbags exist in differing forms in cultures around the world. People have been quite clever in thinking of ways to use the materials at hand to create their bags; this section shows many different examples of handbags.

    Gallery of traditional handbag types Gallery of contemporary handbag types

    Tags:African, American, Amsterdam, Bristol, Britain, British, Bucket, China, Chinese, Clutch, England, Europe, France, French, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Handbag, Kenya, London, Margaret Thatcher, Mexico, New York, Nigeria, North America, Papua New Guinea, Queens, Revolution, Rome, Switzerland, Volkswagen, Wikipedia, World War II, Zimbabwe, Zoo


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