Monday, June 29, 2015

1968 Fashion Advice: Purses Are Not To Be Used As A Weapon

Judith Keith's 1968 fashion advice book is filled with great black and white illustrations. The advice may be dated but those of us who remember those days can enjoy a nostalgic trip down memory lane. 

Those who don't remember them can learn a few things about what their predecessors had to deal with. RULES about everything! Including how to carry a purse.

Ladies needed a wardrobe of purses for every occasion:

  • Daytime: durable textured leather was preferred in basic colors found in one's wardrobe. Leather is preferred as more lasting than vinyls "and their quality enriches any outfit."
  • Evening: all silk or velvet or beading
  • Casual: winter wool or summer straw
Handbags with "handles" need to be carried close to the body so you don't "clobber others" with it. "Place arm through handle from the outside in, keeping palm close to the body. The handbag will be balanced and sit close to the hip."
Oh dear. How many innocent victims have you clobbered with your purse? 

Sometimes people purposefully use a purse to clobber. We once had a lady in fur coat clobber our 1973 VW Beetle while we were in it. My husband was trying to parallel park on a Philadelphia street. We were poor and needed the free parking. A Cadillac came up behind us and the driver didn't want to wait. So his wife got out and clobbered our car with a whale of a purse (leather I am sure) and shouted for us to MOVE. It was the only time I was attacked on a Philadelphia street.

Yes, handbags are the weapon of choice of little old ladies everywhere. Here is a story about a Tory Baronness who hit a cyclist with her handbag after he ran a stop light.

Younger women know that handbags can also fend off unwanted admirers.

The use of the handbag as weapon is so prevalent TV Tropes calls it the "Handbag of Hurt", often "occurring in the Cat Fight and Wimp Fight." They list this usage in television, film and literature,

Keith wisely suggests a daily triage of what is inside your purse. Purge what isn't needed. But, what if we need a brick in case a gunman breaks into the school board meeting and we have to hit them with our purse? Or to save my colleagues? (These stories have appeared in the news.)

Sorry ladies. The rule is to carry that purse close to the hip and don't clobber others.

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