, , , , ,

Although the hand bag has been

regarded as being in

the fashion domain of  women’s accessories,

it was originally a non-gender-specific item.

Yet, as fashion is fickle and cyclical,

it is to be expected that the fashion of

men and hand bags

would come full circle.

 Ancient Equality

Egyptian hieroglyphic imagery and

Biblical text indicates the use of

cloth and leather pouches

to carry small personal items.

These pouches were worn by men and women,

secured at the waist and used for carrying

loose items – such as coins.

Medieval Outer/Inner Wear

During the Middle Ages, both sexes continued

wearing pouches either tied at the arms or at the waist.

At this time, pockets were not an element of garment,

so pouches served a practical purpose.

Pomanders were also tied around the waist.

These pouches served a specific function:

to hold aromatic substances –

ensuring that the wearer was constantly

enveloped in fragrance.

 Hanging from a cord at waist, these girdle pouches

were also considered a fashion adornment,

worn for special occasions:

such as marriages and betrothals .

As with other articles of clothing,

they were indicators of the wearer’s societal status.

Ladies particularly desired detailed embroidery work

on their pouches.  These richly decorated pieces

were known as harmondeys or tasques.

Renaissance Reinvention

Due to dictates of fashion, the 16th century

 witnessed the expanding of women’s dresses to

extremely voluminous proportions.

Externally worn pouches, would have been lost

among such yardage of fabric.

Pouches,  previously worn outside the garment

were now worn under the skirts.

Men too began to wear pouches

under their clothing.

Leather pouches called ‘bagges’

were worn inside the breeches.

Bagges were the design basis for the pocket.

By the beginning of the 17th century,

pockets appeared as integral component

to men’s clothing.

Men’s  pouch-wearing requirement

was no longer

en vogue or of necessity.

The pouch had become a

women’s only item for practical use.

Its later equivalent – the purse –

continued identification with

  women’s wear.

Centuries would pass before

 hand bags solidly gained

gender – general status.

Fast Forward … 21st century

Today the descendent of the ancient pouch –

the modern hand bag is

gender universal –

gender liberated fashion wear.

Men’s dress has totally embraced

the hand bag as a statement fashion factor –

complementing even enhancing a total look.

Let’s hear it for the boys.

(images fashionising):

On the runway

a/w  2013

Vivienne Westwood






Burberry by Christopher Kane





Street style Sass:  nothing says it better.

(photo from pausemag.co.uk):


(photos by the urbanspotter.com):

22-02-2013  39371

30-01-2013 (21)

08-01-2013 (30)