Like the wheel, the shoulder bag is an invention so brilliant it’s hard to believe it had to be invented at all. However, at one dark point in history, clutches were a lady’s only option. All that changed in 1929, when Coco Chanel released her first chain handle bag.
Chanel, tired of lugging around and losing her clutches, realized that the modern woman needed her hands free for other tasks. According to legend, soldiers’ bags inspired the longer-handled design, which she feminized with a delicate chain strap. “I know women,” she said, when explaining her choice. “Give them chains, women adore chains.”
You can, of course, get the iconic original Chanel bag via WGACA vintage. If you’re ready to join the chain gang, but not quite ready to splurge, MATT & NAT, Tory Burch, and Marc Jacobs bags offer all the style at a more approachable price.