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Compact Purses - Facts and Tips

Compact purses, also called vanity bags, are desired by both the purse enthusiast and the compact collector.  Originating from the early 1900's to the 1930's, these purses were carried by the well dressed, discriminating woman. Many ingenious vanity purses were introduced by the Whiting & Davis Company.

The Delysia made it's debut in Cosmopolitan in 1924.  This  uniquely shaped vanity bag contained two mirrors, powder and rouge compartments.  It's compact was built into the center with mesh making up the top with a center carrying strap and the bottom where a tassel hung.

The Baby Peggy purse came in gold, silver or enameled mesh and was intended to be carried by "her" daughter.  The bottom of the bag is mesh but the top is silk, drawn to close with a pull cord instead of the adult version carry strap but still maintaining the appearance of the Delysia.

The Piccadilly was a popular 1920's purse.  A round compact was incorporated into the frame at the top of the bag.  The bodies of these purses were typically made of fine ring or baby soldered mesh.

The continually elusive El-Sah vanity compact purse has a rectangular compact as part of the frame.   The compacts lids were floral enameled, jeweled, or had black silhouettes of a dancing couple.


 



 

Other companies such as Napier-Bliss brought forth the Du Barry Bag and the Evans Case Company, produced mesh handbags which incorporated guilloche enameled lidded compacts.

By the late 1930's and early 1940's the compact carry-alls found their place in my lady's wardrobe accessories.  Appropriately named, these vanity purses did carry all her necessities for the evening, not only powder but also cigarettes, comb, mirror and many had a discreet secret hiding place.

Vanity compact purses continue to attract lots of attention in the marketplace. They are fun, fashionable, functional and most purse collections  boast at least one or two.

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