I’m hoping that my somewhat vague title brought forth a distinct memory in any Baby Boomer readers. That’s because this post is a bit of a memory check for me. When I was a young teen, or maybe even a preteen in the late 1960s, the little bag shown above was carried by every girl in my town. I don’t know how fads get started, but I do know how quickly they can spread. By the time this one died out, all my peers had one. Mine was black “patent leather”.
I remember getting it for Christmas, but I just can’t come up with a year. I’m guessing it was sometime between fifth and eight grade, which would mean from 1966 to 1969. Growing up in a small town in North Carolina, girls were always lamenting that we were at least two years behind the times. That was true in some cases, but looking back I can see that for the most part the clothes we wore were pretty much in keeping with the styles of the day, if a bit more conservative.
After finding the little clutch bag above in a local antique mall, I spent a good afternoon doing “research” in my stash of 1960s Seventeen magazines. I thought that would be the place to start, as this was a fashion I associated with the young. In spite of the overwhelming practical nature of this type bag, the only people I remember carrying them were girls and teens. It didn’t seem to appeal to our mothers.
But I was not able to find a single photo in Seventeen, so I turned to that great American selling place of the past – the Sears, Roebuck catalog. I have several editions, dating from 1964 through 1970, and so another afternoon was pleasantly passed. Unfortunately, I was again unsuccessful in my quest.
So, I’ve decided to turn to you. Do you remember this type bag, and if so, what years do you associate with it? Did you have one in the 1960s? Were they a fad at your school? Do you remember what it was called?
Here’s a look inside. There is a snap purse with a clear vinyl separator. The sides are lined with a cotton print that looks a bit dated even for 1965, but the magazines and catalogs for that year are surprisingly full of dresses made of this type print. There is no label of any sort.
Each side has a pocket for cash and papers. The strap is attached to the purse in the center of the bag.
Considering how popular these were, I’ve run across only two in the past fifteen years or so. I didn’t buy the first one I found so many years ago, mainly because I thought there must be thousands of these just waiting to be found. When that turned out not to be true, I put this style on my shopping list. It made me happy that the one I finally did find was such a bright, cheery color.
So what has happened to all these little bags? It could be that my experience with them is not usual, and there are literally millions of them in thrift stores across the country. Or it could be that when the fad had run its course, these went into the donate for charity pile. They were cheaply made, and no longer in style. I can almost guarantee that is what happened to mine.