There is no better way to perfect one's vintage look than vintage accessories. If you love 30s crochetwear like I do, you may already notice that it is a fair bit easier and less expensive to acquire crocheted accessories such as crocheted purses/handbags. On this subject, here is a little anecdote that some may find interesting.....When I was at my first vintage fair last month, I got into a little polite discussion/debate with a vendor over whether my beloved shell pattern crocheted purse I was carrying was from the 1930s or 40s. Here's sort of how it went: Him: " oh, I love your 1940s bag. We've got a similar one in black for sale. You should check it out." Me (politely, smiling sweetly): "Oh, thank you. However, I was under the impression that this particular style was from the 1930s." Him: "oh no, no no. Definitely 1940s."
At the time, I didn't think it was worth it to sit there and split hairs over whether my cherished bag was 30s or 40s, but I knew it was 30s (and not only because I trusted the seller of my cream purse, the delightful Lauren of Dear Golden Vintage, was 100% spot on in labelling it as 1930s), so I did try to research it further. My initial searches revealed nothing about it. However, the other day, I happened to see my exact purse in a copy of a pattern book for sale on Etsy dating from 1938. (Mine is 70+ years old, so the shape has stretched a bit longer and the "shells" are less puffed out than the one shown at left below, but it is definitely the same purse pattern). Now we know!
On the subject of these bags, I must say I've seen the prices on them diverge VERY widely. For example, I bought my cream one for about $30 USD. I got a navy one (shown below) for $18.00. At an antique store I was at a few weeks ago, I saw the twin of my cream one for $95.00. My jaw dropped when I saw a brown one on Etsy for over $200. Say WHAT? Outside of buying the pattern, finding a frame, and making one yourself, my advice to buyers is to do comparison shopping before buying this. I am certain you can find an identical one for $20-40 elsewhere. In fact, I just saw a lovely green purse recently get listed on Etsy for $40.00 and I think it has a much more expensive looking frame than the brown one! I also found a navy blue one on Etsy for $25.00, though it is being misidentified as a "treasure from the '50s."
Final note: look at online listings for crocheted bags carefully. Crochetwear was really popular in several other decades as well, particularly the 1970s. Some 70s crocheted and macrame bags can look somewhat similar to 30s purses from a distance. Often, the best way to tell the age of the bag is to look at the handles. 30s bags tend to have soft plastic or lucite handles, while 70s bags often have wooden ones. The 30s bags often have more art nouveau or art deco details, like scrolls, flowers, or peacocks (see above images for examples). Finally, many 30s bags are made of corde or yarn that is made of a rayon blend (giving it somewhat of a silky, slightly shiny appearance), whereas many 70s bags are made of cotton or acrylic yarns. I'm by no means an expert on this subject, but these are some things I've observed. Any other tips or thoughts on this subject are greatly appreciated! What are YOUR favourite vintage accessories? What do you think is most central to perfecting YOUR vintage look?