Often, purses and handbags mirrored pop-culture trends.

Year Fashion Style Handbag Trend
20's slinky shapeless flapper dress slinky mesh 
30-40's structural shoulders structural 
50-60's Pierre Cardin mid-centery modern lucite and linear
70's bohemian slouchy w/structure
80's eye catching color color and crystal

During these decades, women had bags for everyday use as well as evening handbags and clutches. Today, the luxury market is much more available to the masses than it was even in the 1990s, much less the mid-20th century, so the choices are far greater.

Whats hot right now in Vintage Style?

Chanel seems to be incredibly hot right now in Vintage style purses and handbags.  She revolutionized the handbag in the ’50s with the 2.55 bag, which takes its name from the month and year it was introduced. Chanel’s handbag became popular for its shoulder strap. Prior to Chanel, most bags had handles only.

             A Chanel Black Fabric Quilted Purse, 1960s, with goldtone straps and closure, back pocket, double flaps, fully lined in crimson CC logo lining.  Stamped: Chanel.

Chanel's black-fabric quilted purses from the 1960s had goldtone straps, a back pocket, double flaps, and a crimson CC-logo lining.

Some of the older Gucci bags are pretty sought after if they are in really good condition. The Gucci bag is also associated with Jackie and is even known as the Jackie bag because she wore it all the time. Gucci began making purses in the ’60s. In addition to the Jackie bag, they were known for their bamboo handles—they did it once and it stuck. You see bamboo handles on Gucci bags to this day.

Other popular bags are made of Lucite, plastic, or cloth, as well as those adorned with beads or embroidered. Some designers use jersey, wool, or suede. 

 There is no difference between the words purse and handbag. The terminology is simply geographical depending on where you grew up as a child. Most people on the East Coast usually call it a pocketbook, and most in the Midwest call it a handbag or bag.