Civil War Handbags
Every sophisticated Civil War lady needs a proper handbag to accessorize her 1860’s outfit!
Much like today, women of the 1860’s would carry a different handbag for different occasions. Even back in these days there were fashion magazines that would tout the proper bag for a certain event.
Just what items would a fine lady carry in her drawstring bag in the 19th century? You could expect to find such things as rouge, a fan, a bottle of scent, and even smelling salts.
The origin of purses and handbags is believed to have been derived from early pouches that were used for many different purposes. Some would hold seeds or medicinal items, while others were used to carry religious items. Pouches can even be seen in early history being carried around the waist in Egyptian hieroglyphics.
During the 18th century handbags were first called indispensables, then were later referred to as ridicules, which then in the mid 1700’s became known as reticules.
During the 19th century women usually carried a drawstring bag. These bags were commonly made of net, velvet, or brocade and were embellished with embroidery, beaded trim, and various lace accents.
As the history of handbags continues, with the development of railroads, the term “handbag” began to be used to describe hand-held luggage bags. It wasn’t long before the term handbag was thought more of as a purse rather than luggage. Some of the top names associated with exclusive purses in modern times had their beginnings during the 1800’s. For example, Louis Vuitton was a luggage packer for the wealthy in Paris and in 1854 he began manufacturing trunks and luxury goods, then in the late 1800’s he introduced his first handbag.
Civil War Dress Competition
Check out the accessories – purses, parasols, gloves, hats & wigs in this video.
Filed under: Accessories