How have purses changed over time?

Almost all of us will own a purse or wallet in some shape or form. They have become very much a staple accessory for women and men, as a practical item for carry money, credit and debits cards, store cards and anything else compact enough to fit. However, the purses we all know and love today have evolved greatly over the past few decades to fit in with modern lifestyles, trends and dangers.

The history of purses and handbags

Instances of purses and handbags have been seen as far back as the ice age. Throughout the ages they have had various practical uses by both men and women as a functional accessory for carrying weapons, coins, tools, food and much more. Over the centuries, these receptacles changed to be put to different uses. For example, in the 16th & 17th Century women would often use small drawstring purses to carry rose petals, herbs and spices to mask the smell of body odour. While in the 18th Century, men were known to wear small coin purses that hung closely on their belts. During these times, these types of bags tended to be made from fabric material, whereas work satchels and bags were made of leather. As time went on and fashions changed, many of the female bags and purses were often embroidered with ornate patterns and made from more exotic materials. However, it wasn’t really until the early 20th Century that handbags and purses began to be more than just a practical accessory. During this time, they became more of a fashion statement used in everyday life, rather than just reserved for special occasions, especially in women’s fashion, where most women wouldn’t leave the house without a bag or purse.

The purse evolution

Although the history of handbags and purses are intertwined, we’re focusing on purses in particular. As an essential accessory for our everyday lives they often gets very little share of the limelight, tucked away in stylish totes or satchels, but just the past 20 years, the style, shape and design of purses have altered significantly. Back in the sixties and seventies, people didn’t use bank cards or store cards, therefore purses weren’t typically designed with the ubiquitous card holder pouches we have today. Purses from this period were mostly designed for holding paper money and coins and possibly personal ID; therefore they were mostly money pouches with zips or metal fastenings. These may have comprised of just one large compartment or several separate compartments for different types of money, depending on personal preference. Just like modern purses these could be made from a wide range of different materials, but leather became a popular choice for its durability and aesthetic appeal. These trends carried on into the early eighties, but when the first bank cards were introduced in 1987 in the UK, the design of the purse evolved to suit a different requirement.

Modern day purses

Nowadays, it seems that everyone owns a purse and most designs will have those essential coin sections, credit card holders and in some cases vanity mirrors or clear pockets for ID cards. But a purse is now much more than just a practical accessory and they come in all shapes and sizes to suit all occasions. Most women will own at least 2 purses.

One for every day like this Prime Hide Windemere double zip purse that has an array of zip compartments, card holders and note sections that can house everything you need when you’re out shopping or at work; and one for evenings like a coin purse that is more compact. The smaller pouch-style purses are great for stashing coins, essential bank and ID cards and of course a lipstick, but they’re compact enough to fit into an evening bag or just be carried on their own, meaning you don’t have to take your entire world out with you. Although it is possible to use a larger purse as part of your evening ensemble too. A larger purse like the Harness Ladies Frame Purse can act just like a clutch bag so you can travel light and n style. This is clearly something that celebrities like Selena Gomez favour, as she’s seen out and about with a stunning Louis Vuitton Iris Wallet that acts as her entire bag. It also seems that modern purses have moved away from the staid colours of black and brown too, with many women opting for funkier, brighter designs that show a little personality. These can be made from leather like the Navy and Cherry Matinee purse or with different fabrics in plain or patterned designs.

Added security features

Part of how purses have evolved also includes additional security features to help prevent theft. Some of these are more obvious, like secret compartments and more secure fastenings, but some also involve high-tech measures, such as RFID protection. This is because unfortunately we live in an age where new technology has also resulted in new ways to steal people’s money and identities digitally using RFID readers. To counteract the RFID capabilities, the purse has adapted to incorporate RFID protection that prevents cards with smart chips from being read and duplicated. RFID purses are the perfect way to protect your bank cards and personal information stored on your credit cards. As RFID purses are becoming more popular there are now plenty of stylish designs available, so you can have peace of mind that your cards are protected and that you’re up to date on the latest trends. It seems that the possibilities with the latest purse designs are endless; and they are now definitely seen as a status symbol not just a practical place to carry money and other essentials. They can be bought to match your favourite handbag, shoes or whatever outfit you’re wearing and just like any other accessory they will work to complete an ensemble and make a statement. At Just4Leather, we have some absolutely stunning purses on offer that are just as practical as they are stylish. To get your hands on the latest styles and designs for stunning leather purses, simply visit our online store.

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