1. The lucite box purse
Beautifully carved clear lucite purse, $198 on etsy
One of the ultimate vintage wishlist items is the lucite box - shimmering, ethereal and ice-clear, the stuff of fairytales. I could dedicate an entire post to these beautiful purses (and possibly will one day). They were very popular in myriad designs in the 1950s, the gleaming plastic emblematic of the brave new, space-age world of the mid century years. Sadly as these lucite lovelies are wildly collectable, prices often run into the hundreds, particularly for signed examples (Wilardy, Rialto, Charles S. Kahn, Patricia of Miami and Miami Handbags are among the most highly prized labels) in good condition.
The collectable nature and resultant high prices of these bags put them out of reach for most of us, but if you stalk ebay and etsy you can sometimes find (less collectable) bags for as little as £30/$50. I have in my collection a little pearlised lucite bag with a carved clear lid & handle, which is inexplicably yet to appear in an outfit post - I'll try to remedy the situation soon.
2. The perfect leopard bag
Almost as elusive as the endangered creatures from which they take their pattern, the perfect leopard handbag is the ultimate vintage accessory because it will go with everything and - striking yet understated, vivacious yet chic - it will add panache to even the very simplest of outfits. I'm on an eternal hunt for mine - I have a picture of it in my mind: slightly trapezoid and with a flat base, a metal frame, kiss clasp and a black or brown leatherette handle - indeed, not wholly dissimilar to the one above, which has previously sold on etsy. Alas, my dream leopard bag has not as yet presented itself - at least not in my price range.
3. The telephone cord purse
I can't remember when I first came across telephone cord purses, but I do know that the kitschy bright colours spoke to me right away. I don't know where they originated, but they appear in the Sears catalogues throughout the 1950s. These bags are pretty collectable and tend to be priced on the high side on ebay and etsy (my primary vintage shopping source), hence the aspirational classification. But thanks to my lovely Mr. I can finally cross this one off my wishlist, as the bag above is currently winging its way to me as my birthday gift.
4. The 1940s crochet handbag
Extravagant fan-shaped crochet handbags - often seen with lucite handles and zipper pulls - were especially popular in the late 1940s. Nearly all those I've seen are in black, with the sole exception of my own, which, in chocolate brown with amber lucite handles it seems was an even luckier buy than I realised.
5. The basket bag
A summer must-have, better yet if it's decorated with artificial flowers or fruit! A basket bag in natural or white straw, wicker or cane will go with all your summer dresses - perfect for a picnic day out. Mine - a white wicker box bag - gets a lot of use through the warmer months.
Do you agree with my choices? What's on your ultimate aspirational handbag wishlist?