Dialect Magazine

A little clutch bag history


Every woman needs the perfect purse to complement the perfect outfit.

There are many handbags to choose from, but what says style, glamour, and grace more than the clutch bag?!!!!

Clutch bags have been used as a female style staple for so long, that one has to wonder where they came from. The term “handbag” began appearing in the early 1900s. Initially, it was most often used to refer to men’s hand-luggage. As women’s accessory bags grew larger and more complex during that period, the term was attached to the women’s accessory. The clutch; however, came about in England during the Industrial Revolution and the increase in travel by railway.

For some companies, such as Tiffany and Co., Gucci, and Louis Vuitton, clutch bags were introduced to their product range recently in their history but for others like H.J. Cave & Sons, they have been around almost as long as the company. Nonetheless, clutch bags are among their best-known products, and their logos are recognized in many countries today.

The most expensive of the luxury clutch bags are made by Hermès. Hermes prices generally start at $6000. Hermes clutch bags; as well as handbags, are made to order, and the waiting lists are years long. Hermès handbag designs carry the names of actresses, socialites, and other celebrities who were frequently photographed with a particular handbag, most notably the “Birkin” bag named after actress and singer Jane Birkin, and the “Kelly” bag named after actress Grace Kelly.

Other designers have adopted the practice of naming their handbag designs after celebrities, for example Marc Jacobs who created the “Stam” purse, named after model Jessica Stam. I wonder which future female celebrity will have a designer clutch bag named in her honor? Hopefully we won’t be kept in suspense for too long.

Ashly is a freelance writer and poet from Baltimore, MD.

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