Friday, November 30, 2012

The Evolution of Handbags

By Raymand Frank

Man bags, hand bags for men, are worn the world over now days, European men such as the French and the Italians, often carried small bags, hauling their small personal belongings, but to some the hand bag has a more female association, yet originally hundreds of years ago, men were the main wearers, and used them as they do today for carrying personal or valuable objects close.

The actual beginnings of the hand bag are not clear, but they have been around a long time. Egyptians depicted handbag wearers in their hieroglyphs, and men and women in the beginning of the Renaissance period wore handbags, not only for practical use, but also as a stylish element, becoming fashionable with lavish decorations in gold and jewels, and personalised with embroidery.

Towards the middle of the renaissance, hand bags were used by most people, and became larger, and made from cloth or hide and worn by travellers. As a fashion item they faded out as woman used smaller bags that could be hidden underneath the clothes. Men also stopped using handbags with the introduction of breeches with pockets.

By 1800, Europe, going through change after the French Revolution, also saw a dramatic change in women's fashion, and clothes became more delicate and worn tighter with blouses. This called for the use of handbags once again. At this time a handbag was called a reticule.

By the 1900's hand bag designs became more complex, adding chains, locks, fancy fasteners and for the inside, compartments. Fashion again pushed the popularity with the introduction of the restrictive 'hobble skirt'. This was also the time when the name hand bag became used for women's bags, before, the name simply refereed to a man's hand-held luggage. These bags kept on changing and becoming more and more practicable, with makers including special places for theatre glasses and make up.

By the roaring twenties and in keeping with the "Crazy Years" fashion took a dramatic swing with clothes becoming a social statement and less rigid.Handbag design were effect by the Second World War, in the 1940s, materials used in the production of handbags, like zips and leather, were needed to help the war effort, so alternative materials were used, for example wood, plastic and other synthetics.

Today the choice in handbags is huge, from every shape and colour imaginable, and to reach any budget. Trends are marketed and models and celebrities show off the latest must-haves, these are at the top end of the pricing spectrum. Although there is still new materials being developed and worked with, leather has stood the test of time and is still a favourite amongst silk, velvet and waterproof materials.

Men have also started clutching man bags again or at least slinging them over their shoulders, with abroad choice, from camera, messenger and satchel styles. There are also ranges for parents, unisex baby-changing bags, often seen hanging from a stroller. Parents need to carry clothes, food and items for changing in bags like these so they are very useful.

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