Tag Archives: vintage handbag

1960s Susan Gail Original Handbag

I’m not really a big handbag collector, but when I find one that really is interesting, I might capitulate and add it to the handbag shelf. This one from the early 1960s is a good example. I was hooked by the little golden clothespin clasp.

Who could resist? A woman is only so strong in the face of such a novelty.

It wasn’t until I got this bag home that I realized it has another interesting feature – it coverts from a handbag to a shoulder bag. The strap snaps so that it can be lengthened.

This got me to asking myself a question. I was sure that the bad was from the early 1960s, but were women wearing shoulder bags during that time as well? I had always associated the longer straps with the late 60s and the 70s. So I went on a search through my vintage magazines, starting about 1958.

What I discovered was that shoulder bags were being shown for a short time starting in 1960. Maybe my bag was an attempt by Susan Gail to test the shoulder bag waters, but with the assurance that if it turned out to be a mere fad, the bag could still be used.

I was hoping to find ads for Susan Gail goods, but I failed in that attempt. I did find an entry for the company at Bag Lady U.

The Bay Lady mentioned the Susan Gail accordion structure:

The Susan Gail Accordion bag design results from the unique interior frame design. A series of folds in the gussets are not attached to the metal frame and expand wide when open. 

As you can see, my bag has this design feature.

I went on an internet search of other Susan Gail bags. What I found was that the company did a tricked-out copy of the Gucci bamboo handle bag. They also made bags that look suspiciously like the Hermes Kelly. That’s pretty sad, because my bag is pretty nifty, proving that being creative and original beats being a copycat any day.


Filed under Curiosities, Fashion Issues

What I Didn’t Buy – 1960s Evening Bag

I went on a little vintage hunt yesterday and spotted this pretty little evening bag.  It is green suede, not exactly a material one might associate with date night, but the diminutive size and the interior of the bag make this the perfect bag for a dinner date.

The bag has two openings, at top flap, and at the bottom.  The top opens like an envelope.  But it is the bottom opening that is so interesting.

The latch pulls back to expose the interior.

Along with a mirror, there are spaces for a compact, lipstick and cigarettes.  Really nifty.

So why didn’t I buy it?  I guess the main reason is that I already have a very similar bag made in black satin.  And as much as I loved this one, I couldn’t justify the purchase as I’m really trying to concentrate on casual wear.   At $32 I was tempted to buy it and use it myself, but I never wear green.

Still, it does point out what a great buy vintage evening bags can be.  They are often in fantastic condition because most women didn’t use them as much as a day bag.  They are plentiful in antique stores because it seems that women held on to them.  Makes you wonder why anyone would buy a new bag when the vintage ones are so sweet.



Filed under I Didn't Buy..., Proper Clothing