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A Brief Introduction to Handbags (Part 1)

February 05, 2018 2 min read

A Brief Introduction to Handbags (Part 1)


This short and oft-used word is, like handbags themselves, both straightforward and practical, yet surprisingly versatile in the number of products and styles it defines.

Loosely used in the world of fashion to refer to various types of bags and purses, the word "handbag" originated in the 14th century when Europeans began carrying small bags just large enough to fit a few coins or other small necessities, which were often worn within their clothing or attached to their girdles.

While the word “handbag” began to appear in literature and conversation among Europeans in the 1500s, the concept itself dates back much further. In fact, there are images depicting bags worn at the waist in Egyptian hieroglyphs!

As handbags became more popular, many fun and fashionable styles arose. And not only is each style fun, but more importantly, each style has its own unique function.

Here are some of our favorites...

The Bucket Bag

(Photographed above: The Mary)
Not surprisingly, bucket bags feature a body designed to resemble a bucket, with a flat bottom, roomy interior, and drawstring feature atop the bag. Although commonly made of leather, these bags can be found in other materials, as well. Bucket bags are perfect for carrying larger items and can serve as a fashionable backpack replacement.


The Messenger Bag

(Photographed above: Men's Large Messenger Bag)

Messenger bags were historically used to transport mail and small goods. Indeed, even today postbags are crafted in this style.

Messenger bags feature a carrying strap worn over one shoulder and across the chest, which disperses the weight of the bag's contents across both sides of the body. Today, messenger bags come in all sizes and are a staple of the handbag industry.

No matter how big or small, messenger bags are practical and convenient for anyone on the go!

The Satchel

(Photographed above: The Gabriela

Satchel-style handbags have quite a history, dating back to the Romans, who referred to them as loculus or "little place." Over the years they popped up around the globe as people used them to carry books and mail. They were most commonly used as school bags and were typically made of leather.

As with many other styles, satchel designs have broadened in the name of fashion. But common to all satchels is a strap which can be worn in a crossbody style.

The Tote Bag

(Photographed above: The Angela)

While the first records of the tote bag seemingly date back to the 19th century, it was undoubtedly popularized in the 1940’s with L.L. Bean’s release of their "Boat Bag" or "Boat and Tote."

First designed to transport ice due to their convenient shape, handles, and roomy interior, tote bags caught on as a replacement for luggage and other styles of bags.

Of course, today tote bags can be found in many materials, but the original design of the tote hasn’t changed a bit. It’s safe to say that they are here to stay!


To be continued...

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