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Radley Stories

Style Notes

Trendy Designer Purses: What Purses are in Style?

11 May 2022

What is a Purse?

Across the world, the definition of a purse can vary. In European countries, a purse is used by women to store money, including cards, coins and notes, and a wallet is used by men. But in countries such as the USA, the term purse is used to describe a handbag and a wallet is the name given to accessories used to store money.

Purse styles for men and women may differ in size, design and shape, but will all feature a combination of card slots, note compartments and sometimes zipped coin pockets too. Men’s wallets may also have extra features, such as money clips. Our collection of women’s trendy designer purses offers spacious matinee purses, bifold purses, trifold purses and trendy clutch purse shapes, plus a selection of smaller coin purses and card holders, all expertly crafted in leathers and quality fabrics.

Who Created the First Purse?

It is believed that a version of the purse was invented before the handbag, sometime around the 5th or 6th century BCE, when coins came into circulation as a method of payment. Those who had coins needed a way to carry them and it is thought the simple fabric pouch was the earliest solution. These were often carried at the hip and concealed beneath layers of clothing. 

When paper currency was invented, purses and wallets developed again into thinner shapes, although the habit of carrying extra items in them continued. During the 19th century, many used their wallets to also carry smoking items like tobacco.

Global Trends of Purses

What is a purse used for? This is the question that inspired each evolving purse trend. In the 19th century, there was a huge demand for purses from middle-class women, as this group of people were enjoying more leisure and travel opportunities that required them to carry tickets and money. A trendy clutch purse quickly became a daily essential and its popularity led to new designs with updated fabrics, new shapes and innovative details. Once just a simple fabric pouch, purses began to come in luxurious fabrics like leather and suede with front flaps, fastenings and new silhouettes. 

As technology advanced, purses became bigger in order to accommodate for multiple bank and store cards, extra currencies for travelling and more loose change. 

What purses are in style for 2021 and beyond? Trends are now seeing purses downsize in line with more advanced technology. The need to carry physical cash has decreased and many now use their phones to access bank accounts, make contactless payments and order items online. This means trendy designer purses like card holders, which only have space for a few cards, have grown in popularity. There is also more emphasis on security, with many purses now containing RFID-blocking technology within the lining to stop crimes known as ‘electronic pickpocketing’. 

What Size Purse Should I Carry?

Large Purses: Large purses are designed to hold all your daily necessities with plenty of pockets and slots for all your cards, change, notes and receipts. Some styles, like trendy clutch purses, can be carried in hand as part of an occasion outfit.

Medium Purses: A medium purse will store cards, notes and coins, while keeping them safe when you’re on the move. They often come in a range of shapes with various fastenings.

Small Purses: For your cards and coins, small purses are perfect when you only want to carry the essentials. Their compact sizes are also perfect for storing in evening bags. 

Different Types of Purses

Coin Purse: For those occasions when a large purse isn’t required, a coin purse is the perfect, compact solution. Easy to slip into your evening clutch, a coin purse will also fit in your pocket if you’re heading out hands-free! 

Flapover Purse: What is a purse with a flap? A typical flapover purse has an extra folding flap that covers the front and fastens securely with a press stud or magnetic popper. It often opens to interior card slots, internal sections for notes and even a zipped coin pocket.

Zip Purse: A zipped purse can come in any shape, size or colour with a zip fastening for securing your monetary essentials. Depending on its size, a zipped purse can feature card slots, an interior zipped coin pocket and note slots. 

Card Holders: When researching what purses are in style for 2021, you’ll find card holders are one of the most popular styles. This slim accessory is a firm favourite for those who commute in and out of busy cities as it allows quick and easy access to travel cards. 

How to Choose the Right Purse for You

When buying a new trendy designer purse, you will want to think about several things:

  1. How much do you like to carry?
    Do you like to have cash, or do you only carry cards? If you have lots of cards, you’ll need lots of space and card slots; if you prefer to use cash, you’ll need a zipped pocket for loose change. Deciding what your essentials are will help you to find your perfect purse or wallet.

  2. Do you worry about security?
    If you’re carrying cash, ID and bank cards, you’ll want to know they are safely stored away. A purse with secure fastenings, like a zip that closes all the way around, and with RFID technology will make a reliable choice for keeping your items safe.

  3. What size is your handbag?
    If you love your oversized, slouchy hobo bags, you may want a large purse to match, rather than a compact card holder that might be hard to find inside the spacious interior. Alternatively, if you prefer a sleek, slim shoulder bag, you may need a smaller purse to fit inside it. Or if you prefer not to carry a bag at all, a style like a trendy clutch purse is perfect as it can also be used as a bag. 

How To Gift A Purse

Trendy designer purses are often chosen as gifts as they are practical, long-lasting and come in lots of different designs to suit every recipient. 

Anyone who has gifted a purse, or anyone who is superstitious, will know that this gift comes with its own tradition. It’s believed that if you are giving someone a purse or money box, you should give it with money already inside, as a way to wish the recipient good luck and to create the idea that the purse will never be empty.