Sunday, April 18, 2010

Hooked on 30s Crocheted Handbags

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?


Miss Rayne said...

An awful lot of sellers class 1930s stuff as 40s, they seem to think the 40s have a greater cachet.
Many styles from the late 30s crystallised until about 1942 when styles began to progress again.
I recently bought some 30s Rayne shoes which the seller had listed as 40s, she had other 30s shoes listed as 20s, I don't get it, is the 30s a black hole or something?

Francy said...

Thanks for the tips! I saw a few bags just like these at a new vintage shop I visited the other day. They seemed a little overpriced to me, and it looks like my intuition may have been right!

garofit said...

I LOOOOOVE these bags, and been on the look for one for a while. Yours is truly beautiful.

PS Glad you're feeling better!

Leproust Vintage said...

Those bags are so gorgeous! Isn't the variety of pricing on vintage so interesting!?

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Kelley Anne said...

Thanks for doing this. I love these types of posts as they are so educational. Its good to know the price ranges and also information about dating items.

Thanks too for the comment on my last post. Its so interesting that we both studied similar topics in grad school!

FairyFiligree said...

Thanks for a great post. these bags are lovely.

Haleigh said...

i love crochet and these bags are adorable! I have a crochet hat I love wearing. I think that Carrie from Sex and the City might have brought it back in style when she started carrying the Crochet Clutch and the crystal brooch. That one was amazing

xoxo Bardot in Blue

BaronessVonVintage said...

Miss Rayne...I know exactly what you mean about 40s being more marketable so 30s items get re-labelled. People who love the 30s should definitely keep their eyes peeled for 1930s goodies mislabelled as such (sometimes it can lead to good deals). I've also noticed there are fewer fashion history books devoted to 30s fashion.

Glad you found this useful, gals!

Haleigh: Ohhhhh, that's right! I'll have to go rewatch my old box sets to catch a glimpse of that awesomeness.

lauren said...

What's so ironic about your post is that my mother just argued with me for too long about how old that bag was. She was calling it 1960s and I just wasn't budging on my dating it from the 1930s. I feel vindicated! Thank you!

BaronessVonVintage said...

Lauren: really! that's too funny! glad to have helped you win the debate! ;)