From the beginning of time women needed a place to put personal things. And whether you call it a chanery, chatelaine, pocket, reticule, handbag or purse it became something a women couldn’t do without.
An interesting thing is how very small they were in the beginning in the 1700’s. That was because way back then women rarely carried anything. If she went shopping a maid accompanied her and paid for all the purchases. A woman didn’t talk about money and heaven forbid she certainly didn’t HANDLE it.
So, visiting cards, a handkerchief, small bottle of perfume, or the ever-present smelling salts (because you never knew when you were about to keel over) were about all she needed to keep with her.
They were made of all sorts of things—silk, velvet, brocade, leather, straw, old doilies, handkerchiefs. You name it and it could be made into a reticule. And then there were the knitted and crocheted ones. Some had adornment and some were plain Jane.
Usually reticules had a drawstring closure but not always. The two reticules below are mine and both have a chain handle.
In my research, I ran across a notation about women of courting age spending large amounts of time embroidering their name and date on their reticule to show a potential husband her domestic skill. As though that would’ve certainly sealed the deal. Too funny.
Today’s purses are all shapes and sizes and made out of anything you can imagine. Some are inexpensive and some would require me taking out a loan to buy.
And Lord at the things we carry in them!
Just don’t ever ask me to crochet or knit one. This girl is not very domestic.
What about you? What kind of purse do you favor?