If you could turn back time – you can! Vintage handbag styles for today

It’s not just the clocks that have gone back for daylight saving (albeit mainly in the northern hemisphere).  Or Cher who is currently on tour in the UK belting out  ‘if I could turn back time…’.  The autumn and winter fashion trends are jam packed with retro styling.  There is a strong sense of déjà vu this season when it comes to handbag fashion.  So to help you avoid making a fashion faux pas, here’s your guide to the vintage styles to rock, in case you’re thinking about raiding your grandmother’s wardrobe!

Let’s start with the key styles you need to start with – and there are only two to consider:

  • shoulder bag – I know it’s gonna be difficult to give up your crossbody habits
  • top handle bags – giving a wide berth to the styles on the arm of Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s

Easy and simple, no?  Well, yes and no.  I recommend keeping a focus on the decades from 1930 up to 1970’s. So, if you’re sitting comfortably, here’s the bags that rock a modern vintage style.

Ciao Armani

Top handle, check!  Patent finish for stand out.  This bag just oozes vintage Italian design from 1950’s.  If the original Fiat Cinquecento car from 1957 could transform to a handbag, this would be it!  Introducing the mini Bauletto bag from Armani.  Price £270.

Saturday night fever

Snake skin effect, check!  This is the mini shoulder bag, Wallet Wild bag which comes from the this season’s collaboration between Kate Moss and Zadig & Voltaire.  A great weekend look, as if you were going back in time, heading straight to the 1970’s set of Saturday Night Fever and the streets of New York.  Price £400.

Homage to 1930s

When it comes to lines it’s hard to beat art deco styling.  And I look at the Octo mini shoulder bag from Ennigaldi, and I can’t help think of a trip to Fenwick on Bond Street London is to purchase it, price £275 and then pop around the corner to Sketch restaurant for afternoon tea in the pink room!

Swing it sister!

Mini size bag, check.  Top handle, check.  Add a bold print, to catch the eye? Well, let’s head straight to Emilio PucciThe Burle Print Elsie bag could be equally at home in the 1960’s being swung from the wrist of a fashionista walking up London’s iconic Carnaby Street.  Price £550.

Flaps and handles

1940’s fashion could easily be overlooked with war time recovery.  However, this decade brought cinched in waists from Christian Dior, movie and fashion icons from Rita Hayworth to Ingrid Bergman.  And as the hems were moving gently up the leg, the handbags with a top handle and front flap were the essential accessory.  You’re spoilt for choice this season but the popular Phoebe Bis from Danse Lente will give you the retro look with a twist.

So there you have it – a guide to modern vintage hanbags.  This is the season you’ve got licence to go retro and rock it.  And you don’t have to seek out a second hand retailer to capture the look.

There are plenty of decades to choose from which have been given a modern twist – truly there’s a retro handbag to match every style.  If you buy right, your bag will never go out of fashion, as there’s always respect for nodding to time gone before – as Cher has proven time and time again, you can turn back time!


Photo credit: Thanks to Trusted Clothes for header image and Blue 17 for 1940’s ladies

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