The hand bag became a mainstay of women’s fashion in the 18th century when form fitting dresses came into popularity and pockets were taken out (a topic for another day). The result was a whole new accessory to express oneself. While the styles and types of hand bags are nearly limitless, one that I think is particularly interesting, and is deeply under loved is beaded handbags.
Early beaded handbags were often handmade and used glass beads and in the early 1900’s the trend of using metal beads began. The designs on these purses could be incredibly intricate, using varieties of bead materials, shapes, and colours to create beautifully stunning pieces. The use of different beads allowed for everything from simple patterns to detailed images of animals or flowers.
But the use of beads did not have to necessarily be complicated, they could just as easily be used to give a purse a different look. Beads have often been used simply to add texture or splashes of colour. Sometimes they’re used to beautifully accent other styles of bags, like wicker purses for example.
Most commonly I find, the beaded hand bag is thought of as a piece for a night out at a dinner party or some sort of formal event. These pieces are usually black with one or two colours of shiny beads. But I think this is too limited a view of beaded pieces. Beads can really make this classic accessory pop in any setting.
I think there’s a problem with perception when it comes to beads on hand bags and purses. Glass beads are seen a fragile which has led some to pass over adding great and unique pieces to their collection. Plastic beads are sometimes seen as cheap leading people to think of purses with them as tacky.
What’s most important is that you like the look, whatever material a piece is made of. This goes beyond beaded purses and handbags. Whatever you decide to accessorize with or wear it should always be about what you like, not the material or the name on the tag.