HANDBAGS

The pared-down women’s fashions of the 1920s left little room for pockets, and so a well-dressed woman needed to carry a handbag in which she could keep her compact, lipstick, and a few other necessities. (1)

1. 1920s floral petit point purse (esty) 2. 1920s Austrian Tapestry Bag (etsy) 3. 1920's gold and silver beaded purse (etsy)
1. 1920s floral petit point purse (esty) 2. 1920s Austrian Tapestry Bag (etsy) 3. 1920’s gold and silver beaded purse (etsy)

While morning appointments generally called for a more casual handbag made of fabric or leather, afternoon and evening engagements required a dressier bag, often constructed of mesh or fancy bead work. (1)

1. 1920s silver and velvet purse 2.  1920s Whiting and Davis Art Deco Enamel Mesh Flapper Purse (etsy) 3. 1920s German Silver Mesh Chain link Purse with Etched & Cut Art Nouveau Frame (etsy)
1. 1920s silver and velvet purse 2. 1920s Whiting and Davis Art Deco Enamel Mesh Flapper Purse (etsy) 3. 1920s German Silver Mesh Chain link Purse with Etched & Cut Art Nouveau Frame (etsy)

Some bags, called reticules, were pouch-style bags that closed with a drawstring and were made of fabric or, for evening wear, crocheted out of strands of glass beads. The “pochette”, another popular style handbag, was a simple, flat, rectangular bag that featured a clasp at the top and a short carrying strap. (1)

1. Vintage Flapper Purse Blue Carnival Glass Beads (etsy) 2.Black silk pochette faced with carved ivory, 1920s (nulathanhauser.com)
1. Vintage Flapper Purse Blue Carnival Glass Beads (etsy) 2.Black silk pochette faced with carved ivory, 1920s (nulathanhauser.com)

Metal mesh bags, introduced in the United States in the nineteenth century, also enjoyed tremendous popularity in the 1920s. They could be pleated in gold or silver, or enameled in Art Deco patterns resembling flowers, birds, sunbursts, or Egyptian or Oriental motifs. (1)

1. Whiting & Davis Gold Snake Scale Mesh Evening Bag, Perhaps Flapper Era, 1920s (etsy) 2. Whiting Davis 1920's Coloured Metal Mesh Purse (etsy) 3. Vintage Whiting & Davis Gold Mesh Bag (etsy)
1. Whiting & Davis Gold Snake Scale Mesh Evening Bag, Perhaps Flapper Era, 1920s (etsy) 2. Whiting Davis 1920’s Coloured Metal Mesh Purse (etsy) 3. Vintage Whiting & Davis Gold Mesh Bag (etsy)

The late 1920s saw a vogue in reptile-skin bags, including those made from the hides of lizards, alligators, and snakes. Stylish women who carried these bags sometimes wore matching pairs of gloves. (1)

1. vintage alligator head purse - 1920s (etsy) 2. Vintage 1920's Black Alligator Leather Handbag (etsy)
1. vintage alligator head purse – 1920s (etsy) 2. Vintage 1920’s Black Alligator Leather Handbag (etsy)

SHAWL

The shawl – a highly popular accessory from the early 1920s to the beginning of the 1930s. Variously draped around the body, and often fringed in silk, shawls added further dimensions to the pillar-like forms of prevailing fashions. They also provided warmth and comfort over flimsy 1920s attire. There were lavishly embroidered imports from India and China, as well as hand-painted versions by leading artists. (2)

1. vintage 1920s silver assuit shawl / art deco (etsy) 2. Gorgeous 1920's Floral Print Silk Shawl with Long Fringe (etsy) 3. 1920s incredible beaded piano shawl (etsy)
1. vintage 1920s silver assuit shawl / art deco (etsy) 2. Gorgeous 1920’s Floral Print Silk Shawl with Long Fringe (etsy) 3. 1920s incredible beaded piano shawl (etsy)

SOURCES:
(1) The 1920s (American Popular Culture Through History) by Kathleen Drowne and Patrick Huber, 2004
(2) 20th Century Fashion – Valerie Mendes, Amy de La Haye, 1999

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