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Vincent Price

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Italian Wool Knit & Suede Bohemian Handbag, 1960's
By Sears, Roebuck & Company
Located in Atlanta, GA
original works of art curated by Vincent Price. This bohemian bag has a hippie chic look mixing colorful

1960s Italian Hobo Bags

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Finding the Right shoulder-bags for You

Ever since we’ve needed an accessory to carry our personal items when we’re on the go, shoulder bags have proven indispensable. Today, vintage and designer shoulder bags are such a treasured part of fashion history that they even get their own museum exhibitions.

Prior to bags becoming an essential piece of any ensemble for any gender, women wore pockets strung on ribbons as garments that were separate from their gowns, accessible by openings in the fabric. Small handbags and handheld purses were developed before the accessory gained importance as functional and fashionable. Most had more in common with wallets than anything else.

While the bags of the 16th century warranted ornament, such as exteriors embroidered with silver-gilt thread and beads, it wasn’t until the late 18th century and early 19th century that the design and craft of bags had really broadened. Handheld purses were finished with details that were meant to garner attention, and bags were fitted with shoulder straps. A stylish shoulder bag meant that women could tote jewelry, cash and perhaps a decorative snuff box full of tobacco to an evening ball across town.

The early 1900s saw the introduction of gold and silver minaudières. The patenting of these compact bejeweled clutches has been attributed to revered French jewelry house Van Cleef & Arpels, and today they remain a fashion favorite. One of Judith Leiber’s innovative minaudières even earned a role in the movie Sex and the City.

A luxury shoulder bag is a work of art with a long, fascinating origin story, and entire brands and fashion lines have emerged around creating the perfect versions of shoulder bags and top-handle bags. For example, the iconic Hermès Kelly bag, which was popularized by actress Grace Kelly, is a widely coveted, collected and often faked entry from the handbag hall of fame. And while vintage Gucci tote bags have their own dedicated fan base, collectors and lovers of luxury are likely familiar with the Dionysus, a pared-down Gucci shoulder bag that manages to make a substantial statement anyway.

Embrace a classic look with a vintage shoulder bag designed by Chanel, Givenchy or Fendi — find yours on 1stDibs today.