So it’s 2022 and you say tomato I say tomatoe. In this day and age, whether you say purse or handbag no one bats an eye, nobody is confused we all know what you’re referring to.
But, what is the diﬀ?
Everybody knows that both the purse and the handbag hold our personal items, make us look stylish and set the tone of how we like to present ourselves. It’s a status symbol and both are equally important and so much more.
I have to believe that you ﬁrst started calling it a purse in your youth and as the price tag grew and the size went up your terminology changed to handbag. When I think about the word purse I think of pursed lips, something a little more rigid a little tight which makes me think about a small structured bag that you hold close. Handbag, is all about the bag a large receptacle to throw all your stuﬀ in. With a purse, you have to be a little more organized a little more thoughtful but with a handbag no so much.
Traditionally and historically a purse represented a practical and small type of women’s carrying device. It didn’t start oﬀ as the adored fashion accessory that is now a staple in our wardrobes. In all actuality the original purse wasn’t a purse at all, it was a form of pocket that women wore under their skirts, and considered an undergarment. It was all about function as women’s fashion changed, silhouettes got more reﬁned, the need to remove extra lines and bulk the pocket was then removed from women’s garments. We still needed a place to hold our coins and fans so you could imagine the scandal and gossip when women started to wear them out from under their clothes and made them visible. I can just see the headlines to such debauchery. At the time they weren’t fancy at all imagine the Crown Royal bag that your whiskey bottle comes with, only later did they start to get embellishments and structure.
The handbag wasn’t much diﬀerent in the sense of its conception from functionality and a sign of the sign of times. The handbag represented freedom and really got its start from luggage manufacturers. As women got out of the house more for extended periods of time the need for a larger catchall was born. In all honestly, this wasn’t just for women at all and men would also use the “handbag” but we like to call them things like messenger bags.
You say tomato I say tomatoe at the end of the day it’s the same thing. Maybe you grew up hearing Grandma say “Hold my purse please” or your mom asking “Where’s my handbag?” whatever term rolls oﬀ your tongue is just ﬁne.
But really let’s break down the Purse vs. Handbag stance.
I’m a fashionista, and the ﬁrst thing I ever sewed with my own two hands at 12 was a purse, not a handbag, a purse. It had two pieces of rectangle-shaped fabric that I sewed by hand with one little snap that didn’t require any extra tools to adhere it. Why a purse? Because a purse to me represented growing up, independence, freedom and having my own worldly possessions. I know at 12 I didn’t have a lot of things much less a lot of things I needed when I was away from my house but at least I had something to swing and it looked like I had stuﬀ, even if it was just my Lip Lickers Wild Cherry Lip Balm or my Bubble gum ﬂavored roll-on Kissing Potion. Yeah, I did just date myself…but really you should look it up they are still great. Anyway!
She’s quaint and straightforward and deﬁnitely reliable. She has a no-nonsense approach and doesn’t demand a lot of space but she is relevant. I ﬁnd I tend to use a purse when there isn’t a whole day of shopping going on or tackling any speciﬁc tasks. Maybe it’s a happy hour with the girls or something I put in my handbag for a quick run to the grocery store. Basically, my purse does not have a lot of extra room for throwing in a water bottle or stacking up receipts.
Now, this is a force to be reckoned with! This bad boy is generally a whole personality in itself. It’s big, bold and ready for anything at any given time. You need a snack? Sure, I got it! You need a brush, yep got that too! Oh you wish you had a book waiting in line to get your rapid test? You guessed this gem is ﬁlled with it all and then some.
Whether you’re a purse her, she, hers, he, him, his, they, them or theirs or a handbag her, she, hers, him, his, they, them or theirs kinda peep go on go ahead you are exactly right. Water or H2o either way it’s life! I think that Handbag is now the designer way of saying purse. I mean we don’t shop in the purse department or browse the purse section of our favorite online retailers. We go looking for handbags and we follow those signs that say Handbags.
Both have had their evolution where once they may have been made of simple textiles or leather and uncomplicated closure they have just like us grown-up, matured and require attention to details. I myself require more of the statement piece type out of my purse and handbags. I appreciate the functionality yet give me some embroidery, some fringe, beads or tapestry and I am throwing down those cards. Usually, we have the solid go to that literally matches everything but I’m all about going bold or going home!
They are precious to us, when we are on the hunt we go looking for our next best friend our next happy hour ogle our next investment or heirloom piece. We can’t ever underestimate our purses, our handbags, our security blankets. They are there through thick and thin, through our Broke Girl status to our First Class ticket vibes. It’s one of those things that I reward myself with when I’ve had a sense of accomplishment or empowered when I sold one of my LVs to a girl for dirt cheap (her ﬁrst) after I broke up with the guy that guilt gifted it.
Both have had their evolution where once they may have been made of simple textiles or leather and uncomplicated closure they have just like us grown-up, matured and require attention to details. I myself require more of the statement piece type out of my purse and handbags. I appreciate the functionality yet give me some embroidery, some fringe, beads or tapestry and I am throwing down those cards. Usually, we have the solid go-to that literally matches everything but I’m all about going bold or going home!
Basically, the difference between a purse and a handbag is that it’s a whole lot easier to ﬁnd your earring from the night before in a purse than it is in a handbag.
Whatever you call it, sophisticated ladies and men unite!