Handbags; they can be a staple of a woman’s wardrobe, and one of the most desirable objects to add to it. A really nice one will get the kind of “ooh” reaction that few other items can evoke. But when you really think about it, that’s odd. It may seem like blasphemy to say it, but in the end a handbag is just an accessory and a thing to put other things in.
So why do so many women get so enthusiastic about them?Some women spend more money on a new handbag than they do on a new car. Many others pay more attention to small bags over models’ shoulders on the catwalk than to the glorious dresses they wear. But do any of us really know why a bag is so special?
The rise of handbags as the must-have objects they are today has really taken place over the past 100 years, give or take, and understanding how this happened will give a lot of insight into why the women of today’s society love them so much.It’s partly a matter of status. Travel has become more popular and more accessible over the past century, and of course this started with wealthier people and then filtered down.
This created a trend for stylish (and visibly expensive) luggage, starting with full-on suitcases but evolving into handbags. A good handbag became a sign of status and modernity because it symbolised a person who was out and about, going to exciting places and travelling in style along the way.There has been a much bigger and more important change for women over the past century, however, and this has also played a role in the growing love for ladies handbags.
This change is the growth of feminism, equal rights, and independence for women.A hundred years ago when feminism was in its infancy and women had not quite got as far as even earning the right to vote, the role of the woman was a domestic one. She largely stayed at home keeping house, and if she went out at all then it was probably to carry out essential errands, take part in a limited range of women’s social activities, or decorate the arm of her husband at a wider social function.
Thankfully, those days have gone and common sense is increasingly prevailing when it comes to the rights of women. Women now have careers, access to a more complete social life, and the freedom to travel for leisure without having to be chaperoned. The women of today are out and about a lot more than their great grandmothers, and have a much greater need to carry essential items around in a handbag. The bag is therefore both a practical necessity and a minor symbol of independence.Perhaps the most surprising fact, however, is that handbags even have a bit of historic sex appeal.
They evolved from much smaller purses which women would wear beneath their top layers of clothing and close to their skin for safekeeping. When these bags moved from the inside to the outside, it was almost like having a visible item of underwear. While those connotations are gone, the excitement they sparked still burns.
This article was contributed by Abegunde Abiodun Michael. He is a fulltime blogger with 36naija.com and he writes solely on health and women fashion. He is the author behind the popular Marijuana article on 36naija.com that went viral on twitter early this week.