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In Praise of The Little Evening Bag

Collections. Many started in childhood. Wasn’t that what pockets were for as we played by the creek, in the sand or out in the woods? There were small rocks of odd shapes and colours, a flat stone bearing an ancient fossil, handfuls of tiny shells, the prize of green seaglass. At the school playground; marbles like cat’s eyes and shiny steelies carried proudly in our parents’ soft purple Crown Royal or Seagram’s bags.

In time the groupings led to science projects; mounted unusual insects and butterflies, waxed autumn leaves with their Latin names, book series like Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys and many more, stamps from all over the world pressed into special albums. There were coins to collect, bottle caps, club crests, figurines in tea boxes, multicultural dolls, postcards, keychains and rubber Trolls.

The allure of antique and retro items remains with me. A stunning brocade evening bag with an ornate bronze closure winked at me from a purse rack in St. Vincent’s. For a dollar it was irresistible. Its perfect condition made me wonder if it was ever used. I went home to do some research.

Evening bags are still a popular formal item that has not changed dramatically. They have a glamorous charm of their own. They can be practical as well as beautiful. When the vintage ones were in style, women were pleased to have room in them for lipstick, a small comb, a bit of scent, and in some cases cab fare in case their date turned out to be a dud.

Now I am the proud owner of ten captivating evening bags. Some are made from black silk or silver satin, others are beaded, embroidered with silver or gold etchings. One has abalone shell chips sewn in for a design. An Art Deco bag boasts a flapper fringe on the bottom. Ostrich feathers and sequins grace another.

My bags will not be going anywhere, but I have decided they would make a fine addition to a wall in my living room. My teenage granddaughter stood beside me to admire my arrangement. When I turned to her with a smile, I noticed she was holding a sweet little gold Coach bag.

“I have just the place for that.” I told her. She laughed.

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One Comment

  1. Janice J. Richardson Janice J. Richardson

    It’s a beautiful wall display! How clever. 🙂

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