The 1950s Handbag for Fall 2010: A Return to Grace Kelly

Fashionistas in the Bay Area who adore vintage are in for a treat this Fall season! The 1950s style handbag is back in fashion and designers have paired it with the full skirt, 1950s silhouette; referred to in modern times as the Stepford look. The 1950s era handbag is literally worn by hand or slung over a woman’s forearm. The handbag has a small, thick strap which cannot be worn over the shoulder. This vintage throwback style is smaller in size than the oversize handbags fashionistas became accustomed to earlier in the decade. In order to wear this trend, women will need to decide what really belongs in their handbag!

The 1950s handbag evokes memories of well-dressed women shopping at City of Paris, I Magnin, Livingstons’s, Ransonhoff’s, Joseph Magnin, The White House or lunching at Townsend’s or the St. Francis. Visions of women at Eplar’s Bakery or strolling down Maiden Lane while wearing a full skirt, proper handbag, hat and gloves brings many fashionistas, from all generations, begging for their own vintage 1950s handbag. Of course, women in San Francisco never wore white. Handbags graced the arms of well-dressed San Franciscans in black alligator, brown alligator or a neutral colored leather.

The 1950s style handbag is starting to dot the shelves of stores for Fall 2010. Prada has several styles in varying, two-tone neutrals. In sharp contrast to the color palette in the 1950s, Prada’s bags are white with tan, navy with red or all black. Hermes has the holy grail Kelly handbag available in any color worth sitting on a waiting list for several months. Chanel is showing the style with two chain straps in a nod to the variation of the handbag style earlier in the decade when the double handled handbag was all the rage. Can we say Lambertson-Truex Box Car? Louis Vuitton is showing the style in various fabrics as well as Epi leather. More affordable lines such as Coach, Longchamp, Banana Republic and Dooney and Burke have the style in stores as well.

Bay Area Fashionista Tip: Why buy the same handbag as all of your friends? This is one trend that screams “go vintage!” Now is the time to scour vintage stores in San Francsico and around the bay for the perfect 1950s style handbag. Once word gets out about this trend, the vintage finds will be scarce. You may also try to shop your closet, your Mother’s closet or your Grandmother’s closet. Chances are, the real thing is in there somewhere! Happy shopping and stay fabulous.