Accessorizing with Deco – Purses, Hand Bags & Clutches.

Note: The “Freakin’, Tiquen Guys” (Chris & Anthony) are very pleased to have our friend Nancy be the first guest contributor to Driving For Deco.


I’ve been a frequent antiquing companion of the “Freakin’ ‘Tiquin Guys” for about ten years now, and fortunately they’re not in competition with me when it comes to one area of collecting – vintage handbags. I collect many kinds: delicate beaded bags, arts and crafts tooled leather handbags, Cordé fabric handbags, even grandma-type floral chenille bags. And of course art deco bags if I’m lucky enough to find them for a good price. As Anthony and Chris would agree, half the fun of antiquing is finding what you like at a good price!


So here are some examples of the art deco bags in my collection. First, a few clutches. I love this blue velvet one with rhinestone clasp. It’s so simple in its classic deco design.


Blue Velvet Clutch


But nothing says deco more than a circular geometric design. This striking little black and white beaded clutch was a real find:

This cream leather clutch with tooled Egyptian design is likely one of the oldest deco bags I have. Although undated and unmarked, it is likely from the early- to mid-1920s, an example of the Egyptian revival in popular culture inspired by the discovery of King Tut’s tomb in late 1922.


Egyptian Revival Clutch


The most well-known name in vintage mesh handbags is Whiting & Davis. They are usually very well marked, either with the name stamped on the inside of the frame or with a small metal tag located on the inside of the frame. The deco of the bag can be in its frame, in the design of the enamel mesh, or both. These three Whiting & Davis bags are great examples of the types you might find:


Here’s one more enamel mesh bag, but it is unmarked and the maker is not known:


Unmarked Art Deco mesh bag

And last, when I found this bag, I dubbed it “the most beautiful purse of my dreams.” I just had to have it, and luckily I got it for a good sale price. It is a steel-cut beaded bag, made in France. The design of the beads is very subtle and difficult to capture in a photo, but in person, trust me, it’s dazzling!


Stunning  French Steel Bead Art Deco Handbag

And finally, here’s a sneak preview for perhaps another possible guest post here in the future: other art deco accessories such as this sweet little compact featuring wire-haired fox terriers (you know, “Asta”!). So stay tuned for another day of compacts, dress clips, and shoe clips!

                  "Asta" compact

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