In the past, I owned very few handbags. I tended to use one or two cheap ones until they wore out and then bought new. As I love colour, my bags were often red or bright blue, with the occasional one in a more sensible shade of navy or in black. One main bag would be for work and then I had smaller ones for evening, black patent or beaded, or for summer days, cream or white. Even years ago, however, I hated plastic handbags and preferred leather but also enjoyed quite a lot of bling on my bags.
In recent times, as I started to read more fashion and style blogs and became addicted to designer scarves, I looked at photos of Hermès’ offerings with…..well, lust? Adoration? Not sure what to say, really. The colours and the quality are certainly amazing, but there is no way that I could ever afford any H handbag, and even if I won the lottery I could not justify spending that amount of money on a bag.
Instead, looking around the internet, I found the kinds of bags that I remember women carrying when I was a small child in the 50s and 60s. Beautifully made, high quality handbags that still looked gorgeous despite their age. These are bags that would have been too expensive for my Mum to own, but have now reached prices that are really affordable. One was as little as £18.00!
The small collection I have is shown below. I am not sure if I will add more as I do not have a lot of storage in this house. There seem to be lots of places which offer vintage handbags online, but I bought all of these from eBay sellers. I am using the measurements given to me by the vendors.
My first vintage purchase was this dark green leather Waldybag. I had read about the maker and was pleased when I found this. The handbag has the iconic name panel inside with a lovely beige suede lining and well-placed pockets. I like the shape of the handles too. Unfortunately, it does have quite a few marks and I have found bags in better condition for the price since I bought this one, but I still like it. It is pretty small at 10.25″ at the top tapering to 11″ wide across at the bottom x 7″ high x 2.75″ deep.
I bought this handbag at the same time as the one above. It is mainly navy leather, with a stripe of black at each side on the front. The bag is in very good condition with only a couple of scratches, which hardly show. This again is a small bag, measuring 10.5″ wide x 7″ high x 2.5″ deep.
I was thrilled when I opened the original Lodix box and saw this wonderful navy leather bag with its matching coin purse. The leather is of very fine quality and the handbag as a whole looks almost as good as new. The beige suede lining is pristine and the pockets inside are edged with navy leather. The size is larger than the previous two bags, measuring 12″ wide x 8.25″ high x 4″ deep (not including handles).
I cannot justify buying modern items in lizard, but have very few qualms about purchasing a vintage bag in lizard skin. This tan Fassbender is in such good condition and there are hardly any signs of age. The design is gorgeous with the lizard skin covered top bar, neat handles and the two folds front and back. The suede lining is very clean with useful pockets. Again, this is a dainty handbag measuring 12″ wide x 6.75″ high x 2.75″ deep.
Handle drop is 5.75″. Yes, this is the handbag which cost me £18.00 plus postage!
Some of you may remember that I posted about this handbag when I purchased it back in February, showing the eBay seller’s photos. It is the largest of my vintage bags, measuring 13″ wide x 8.25″ high x 4.3″ deep. The handle drop is approximately 7″ from top to the bag when held. The colour is a very versatile deep cream and I really like the shaped pieces where the handles join the body of the bag. The interior is beige suede and there is a matching coin purse.
I must admit that I am not entirely sure about ostrich skin. I can already hear Lovely Husband making a remark about “spots” or something similar when he sees it. What do readers think?
If you are interested in these vintage handbag makers it is, unfortunately, quite difficult to find much information online. I have, however, found a few bits and pieces. Please let me know if you have any other sources and I will add them here.
A Pinterest page with images of Fassbender handbags and other items from the period.
Thoroughly Modern Vintage: An education is a blog post about a vintage Lodix handbag. Look in the “Comments” to see one written by a granddaughter of the original company owners.
The Waldybag Archive is a Facebook page run by a granddaughter of Harry Wald, who started the company. She has been very helpful to me in dating one of my bags.
Vintage to Vogue: Welcoming wonderful Waldybags is a short piece about the company.
I have been unable to find anything online about this handbag company to date.
Other quality vintage handbag companies include Ackery, Mappin and Webb and Riviera. Bags by all of these makers are widely available from a range of sites, if you are interested.