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This week’s Ladies Lounge sponsored by Minx Vintage & Home – 111 E. 16th Street in the Penn Arts Building between Pennsylvania & Delaware Streets

It seems the purse/ handbag industry is cranking out product like a cockroach on steroids these days. Ever cheaper materials and construction are employed, and even bags that cost more than a kidnapper’s ransom could doubtful keep up with a quality vintage bag. The colors, the interesting materials, the detailing, the shapes. Many like little works of art. I love vintage bags, and while I do have a few more recent ones, the bulk of my collection is populated with vintage beauties. Why?

Basket style bag from January 1958. Plain color against bright dress. Or you could reverse that...

What woman doesn't love red? It says sexy, seductive, siren. And this playful basket-like shape throws even more fun into the mix. Available now at Minx

  • As just mentioned, color, construction, detail
  • No one else is going to walk in with my bag. Or doubtful even the same brand of bag. (Remember that episode of Sex & the City where Big gives Carrie the Judith Lieber duck purse, and even though hers was the only duck, she was swimming in a pond with every other form of expensively bedazzled animal and vegetable kingdom? Ain’t gonna happen with vintage.)
  • Love a bag with a past. She had a life and other adventures before me–like a daring friend whose air and carriage smacks of a line out of that Charlene song.
  • A blah khaki nothing-special outfit provides the perfect backdrop for fabulous accessories. And when I’m feeling less than my best, it’s a secret weapon. “Hey, look at me: I’m bright and interesting and storied…” Focus away from me and on to fab bag. Try it. That and your secret weapon pair of shoes.
  • Sometimes, you really score and the bag will still have the receipt, theater tickets, gloves, or the sweet accessories so commonly pre-stocked in bags of that era: mirror, comb, sometimes a change purse.
  • If you ever find one with a faintly musty smell, wash the inside with a mild soap and water or a leather wipe and leave it open–propped if you have to–and put a couple fabric softener sheets inside.

One of a kind detailing and beading jazz up an otherwise simple, but elegant and compact black vintage handbag. Lovely. And available now at Minx.

Check out the vintage Corde’ bag in the foreground of the next photo. Corde’ handbags tend to be from the 1940’s and were made by joining rows of gimp in uniquely stitched patterns to a fabric background. These purses often had lucite handles (rarer to find those still attached). They are durable bags–I’ve had one that belonged to my great-grandmother and carried it now and then since I was a teenager and it’s still in great shape.  The second purse is of patent leather, which has been making a recent comeback and the last black handbag has what appears to be carnelian looking lucite above the closure, adding one of those classy, subtle touches at which handbags of that era excelled.

Most basic vintage bags either have an unusual shape or minor detail...these are available at Minx right now...

One response to “Ladies Lounge: Vintage Handbags”

  1. Natali McFarling says:

    Great pics and nice article, Tiffany. I have to bring up two of my favorite vintage handbag labels to add to the mix. Morris Moskowitz and Coblentz. I’ve had a number of both labels in Minx since we opened, all sold pretty quickly. Coblentz is known for great quality and classic structured design, especially the Perma-Suede bags and moskowitz was known for great leather bags, although I have only run across Moskowitz bags a couple of times, kind of hard to find..
    In the past few years I’ve gone nutty for vintage hand beaded bags made in Hong Kong…sequined beaded beauties of gold, pearly white, black and silver. La Regale and several other companies put out a lot of wonderful bags made in Hong Kong in the fifties and sixties. The quality of those vintage Hong Kong bags is very high, worth every penny you pay for them compared to the little beaded and sequined clutches on the modern retail market today, when a person buys a vintage beaded bag out of Hong Kong, usually the quality is as high or higher than a designer beaded bag manufactured today.

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