I blame my mother completely for the handbag obsession. Plus the shoe obsession, and the clothes and makeup obsessions too, but first and foremost the handbag obsession. Specifically vintage handbags. She’s collected them for as long as I can remember, and got me started too.
Handbags are the perfect gateway drug to get you hooked on vintage – there’s less of the initial ick factor that comes with shoes and clothes (although I got over that too, of course!), and so many ladies kept their best handbags in such good condition that a lot of truly lovely specimens have survived. This means prices can still be quite reasonable, despite the massive rise of vintage over the past few years.
I started collecting a few years ago, and since then my collection has grown via market stalls, charity shops, vintage stores and online auctions. Many people stick to an era or a type, but I prefer to buy what I love – be they perspex box bags, tiny beaded evening bags or the (very occasional!) piece of designer history.
I’ve learnt the hard way that just because the bag survived the last 60 years doesn’t mean it’s going to survive the next 60 unless you are careful though. Pulling the handle off a 50s clutch the day after I bought it was not my finest moment!
Despite this unfortunate mishap I do use some of my collection, although only for very special occasions now! I have all my bags displayed on a shelf in my bedroom though, and I think even if you don’t use an object as it was originally intended that doesn’t mean it wasn’t ‘worth it’ if you get pleasure out of looking at it every day.