Finding the Perfect Handbag for Every Occasion

While designer handbags are a recent phenomenon, purses have been around in one form or another for several centuries. Just as in modern times, elaborate pouches or bags were used to carry expensive items for rich people as early as the 14th century. These bags were often bejeweled or embroidered with intricate designs.By the 16th century, purses became more practicable as they were designed to carry quotidian materials with reliable drawstrings on the top.

Most bags were made for both men and women. Durable cloth bags were used by travelers around the globe and were either carried on the shoulder, like a modern purse, or diagonally across the body, like a satchel.It was during the 17th century when purses were first designed to appeal to men or women. While European men did carry small pouches, even purses, they were not overly ornate. By comparison, purses that were designed for young girls were available in different shapes and were often embroidered.

Historians tell us that the first handbags were designed because straps could cause wrinkles and creases on the delicate feminine clothing of the Neo-classical period. As a result, women began carrying around reticules, which were and are small drawstring handbags.In time, fashionable women the world over began establishing general rules of handbag etiquette. For starters, they had different bags for different occasions and they knew exactly how to hold them and what to carry in them.

On any given evening, a woman of status would store a bottle of perfume, lipstick, rouge, face powder or foundation, and a fan in her purse.But it wasn’t until the after World War One that larger bags became popular with fashion-conscious females. These handbags had numerous compartments and were made from different materials. Leather, zippers, interior mirrors, and metal frames were popular through the 1950s.As youth culture began to assert itself on both sides of the Atlantic, fashion houses like Louis Vuitton and Chanel turned their attention to accessories. The first designer handbags were offered in the early 1960s.

Where are we now?

Several years ago, designer handbags became the fashion accessory of choice for the young, rich, and famous. Every tabloid rack across the country displayed a veritable rouge’s gallery of young women showing off their latest handbags. And since celebrities are all-powerful in America, it wasn’t long before Main Street fashions started following Hollywood.Before long, every fashionable suburban mom just had to have a designer handbag. There was only one problem: replicas abound. The international Chamber of Commerce estimates that as much as ten percent of all designer items are fakes. Counterfeiting is a profitable business, especially when it comes to handbags, since the newest styles go for incredible prices and most consumers cannot spot a fake.

Choosing a bag

For the average shopper, choosing a designer bag is serious business. Since they cannot afford bags for every imaginable occasion, they must select one all-purpose handbag. The first thing a consumer should know is how to spot a fake. This is really much easier than most people think.The easiest way to ensure authenticity is to simply examine the logo. Since it is illegal to copy a registered logo, must counterfeiters make simple, obvious alterations. It is also important to closely examine the quality, as you would with any high-priced item. When it comes to handbags, poor stitching is a sure sign the bag is phony. After all, no top designer would let a poorly-made bag leave the warehouse.


Superrich celebrities often choose bags that match specific outfits. But for the average shopper, it best to find one that goes with most of their wardrobe. A leather handbag in a nice neutral color is generally the most versatile choice, as it can be worn at any time of year with most outfits.


Carry-alls, evening, and office handbags are the most popular types of bags at present. Each bag is designed for a different purpose and they are used at different times of the day. The evening handbag is the smallest and it is therefore the least versatile. It can only carry a few choice items, like keys, lipstick, and a mobile phone. The office bag is much larger and is designed for professional use. Files, paper, pens, pencils, etc, can all be comfortably stored in this handbag. Finally, we have the carry-all, which as its name suggests is far more capacious than the other bags. If we were forced to choose just one type of bag, it would definitely be the carry-all.

Where to buy?

Once you know what type of handbag you want to buy, the most important consideration becomes the price. A new designer handbag can cost anywhere from a couple of hundred to a couple of thousand dollars. Thankfully, there are designer outlets stores that offer discounts of up to seventy percent, for those who are willing to make the hike. You see, these outlets are often located in rather remote locations and it may take several hours to reach to them. An excellent alternative is online shopping sites, where you can find popular brands, giant selections and highly competitive prices.