Ultimate Guide to Retro Style Bags

There’s nothing like a retro bag that can add depth to a modern look. However, in this age of modern fashion, a retro-style bag may seem passé. Great handbag styles do tend to come back around, and there’s nothing quite like a retro bag to add depth to your looks. Whether you may own one or two retro bags yourself, or you wish to look for an investment handbag, keep on reading for our guidelines.

Know first that “retro” is not the same as “vintage”.


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A bag is considered vintage if it is from a prior time in fashion, and especially if it is recognizable from that time or embodying certain styles popular in that period. A vintage bag is an antique and could be worth some cash. A Victorian-style beaded pouch crafted in the 1960s and a beaded flapper bag from the 1920s is a vintage piece. On the other hand, a bag is retro if it recalls a prior time in fashion. The bag that graced runways was retro as it is new and recalls one of the great classics.

Think of “Bakelite” and “Lucite” handbags made from plastic structures that can update your modern look.

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For a retro handbag with some “wow” value, you might look to plastic that typically means either Bakelite or Lucite. Bakelite was a popular accessory from the ’20s through the ’40s. A fascinating fact, their popularity continued through the 1940s, after World War II, when the Western World suffered all sorts of shortages including a leather short shortage. That’s the reason why designers turned to plastics. If you decide to spend on a retro-style bag with “Bakelite” details, you may want to check with an expert and be wary of pairing it with other plastic accessories as the novelty might wear off.

Bohemian-inspired bags like hobo and crossbody can give you a carefree look.

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In the 50s through 70s, “hobo bags” and cross-body bags were known in the bohemian style. And not only in leather but also in bright, cotton prints, hand knits, and macramé. Today’s unstructured hobo bags are throwbacks to the free-spirited fashion of the bohemian ’70s. If you wish to add some carefree feel to your style without wearing bell bottoms, platforms, and a head scarf, resort to these retro style bags.

Victorian-inspired clutches with beads and gems can also look elegant and classy.

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A beaded clutch or a jeweled handbag can add elegance to an otherwise simple outfit. During the late 1800s, women started carrying small handbags with intricately beaded pouches. Queen Victoria herself is said to have inspired the trend, and the beaded clutches we have now are retrospectives on this meticulous art. If you wish to go for a retro style, opt for long-strapped pouches that have been popular in flapper area, often further adorned with beaded tassels. Also, beaded frame purses have been big since the early 1900s, and the jeweled style bags with painted scenes covered in colored gems. By taking our guidelines into consideration, you’ll be able to pick the perfect retro style bags for you.

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