The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024
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FASHION FLASH

FASHION FLASH

No matter what any man may say, a handbag is one of the most important things that a woman can adorn herself with. It tells the world who you are, and what is your unique style.

I was at a girlfriend’s birthday dinner one evening, when I noticed her mother’s handbag. Being the flattering gentleman that I am, I complimented her and told her how much I liked it. Her response shocked me – she asked me if I wanted to see the inside. Curious, I took her up on her offer. To my surprise the gorgeous designer bag was completely empty. Confused about the situation I was left speechless, and for those of you who know me, you know how much of a blessing that was.

Mrs. J told me that it was of no consequence whether she put something in her purse, but more about the plain fact that she was carrying it.

Now this was a bit extreme, wasn’t it? Intrigued, I questioned her about the motives in carting around an empty purse, was it purely for show? In the most elegant voice, she answered me.

“Simply put, a handbag is not about money, or power, or status nor is it about practicality, but rather it is just for the woman wearing it because she wants to.”

Just because? I liked that.

Ranging from 50 cents to several thousands of dollars, a purse has become more than just a way to transport personal goods, it has become a necessary part of our every day lives. But how did they get that way?

I began to search a bit, when I stumbled upon henriettashandbags.com who had this to say about the history of handbags,

“The very first mention in written literature comes from the 14th century, even though Egyptian hieroglyphs show pouches carried around the waist. Bags were attached to what were called ‘girdles,’ which were fastened to the waist. Embroidery and jewels adorned these articles and were used to show status – the richer the person, the more elaborate the bag.”

In the 16th century, handbags took on more of an air of practicality with the use of everyday materials such as leather with a drawstring fastener on top. During this period, cloth bags that were made larger and used by travelers and carried diagonally across the body. The 17th century saw more variety and both fashionable men and women carried small purses with more complex shapes. Young girls were taught embroidery as a very necessary skill to make them marriageable and we see the rise of beautiful and unique stitched artwork in handbags.”

With such a rich history, I can see how the handbag came to be what it is today.

Entire sections of high-end department stores are dedicated to the obsession. Unfortunately, even the sale of illegitimate bags is a multi-million dollar per year industry. It has been said that a single shop on Canal Street in New York can sell up to $100,000 a month in counterfeit goods. When I hear statistics like that I have to think about the hundreds of jobs lost, the countless loss to the real designers and the beautiful history of this accessory. If you want a cute bag for less, Target (my favorite store ever!) has the trendiest fashions by well-known designers.

In the end, it all comes back to what my friend’s mother said. I mean, how good can you really feel about yourself with a fake in your hand?

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