BEADED BAGS -- A special kind of Yesterday TODAY!

Beaded bags are so OUTRAGEOUSLY impractical that you simply must fall in love with them to search them out!  For those of you who are fun loving and slightly esoteric they may be just right for you!  You probably think of beaded bags as a 'night out bag' or a 'special occasion bag' and of course they are exactly that but there are lots of other occasions for showing off your special beaded bags - let's discuss them later - but first here is a short history of the beaded bags and what to look for when purchasing a vintage or antique beaded bags.

The earliest examples of these beautiful bags go back to the 17th and 18th centuries as beaded wedding pouches, dowry bags and display bags.  Bags were created by artisans and by gifted homemakers.  Women of all classes were expected to be well versed in the art of stitching - and often created most of the clothing worn by their families - creating plain or highly decorated beaded bags was the perfect outlet for these talented women.  These bags were worn under the clothing and were tied to the body.  Handmade bags of this era are very desirable!  When clothing styles changed the handheld bag became popular and by the mid 18th century these small beaded bags were carried -- and continued to be carried through the 1920s/1930s as beaded evening bags.

As you already know there was a big change coming!  Some folks say the industrial revolution was responsible for changes in women's clothing and accessories but I would rather believe that Women created these changes.  Suddenly pretty little handbags suited for carrying a few cents, a hanky and smelling salts had to be replaced by the larger more durable bags of today -- holding just about everything needed to carry us from one coast to the other at a moment's notice.

WWI and WWII made international trade common and beaded bags from pre and post war Japan became very accessible to all social classes in the US and Europe.  These exquisite bags were often carried home by returning soldiers as special gifts for mothers, sisters, wives and lovers!  These are the bags that I search for!  They were created for evening wear and are generally on a frame, hand beaded with each bead stitched individually to the outer fabric and then lined in satin.

The second half of the 20th century brought even more change to the beaded bag -- and often they are referred to as 'hippie bags'.  These bags were imported worldwide and were constructed using new and different types of beads -- larger than the seed beads of the earlier bags -- wood, resin, plastics, stone and ceramic beads were now matched with wool, cotton and polyester.  Today's contemporary beaded bags are available from designers such as Mary Frances and generally have less beading than their predecessors.  

Getting back to how you can use a beaded bag for ANYTHING but an 'evening out' or 'special occasion' bag -- here are some ideas!   If you find yourself carrying a big bag or even a tote then try adding a pretty little beaded bag as a carrier for your must have items -- ID/Credit Card carrier, cash, pills, cell phone -- the things that you cannot afford to lose -- and carry them in the big bag!  Try carrying a special beaded bag as your main bag as a conversation piece when meeting friends or new potential friends!  

Other uses include framing vintage or antique bags for home or office décor!  Create endless images of your favorite beaded bags as part of your personal branding.  Or perhaps host a simple 'bring your favorite beaded bag' party!  These bags are great icebreakers!  So much fun to take along on 'have to attend' parties -- showers, welcomes and goodbyes!

Please take a look around -- these beautiful little bags are so available and relatively inexpensive at the moment!  It is time to start your own Special Collection!