* A Note From Nancy *
I am constantly losing my keys in my purse, along with my glasses, my Chapstick, my pens...
|Nanny whistle, pacifier,|
and rattle in one
Maids mights have keys, scissors . . . hmm. I can't see the details on this picture. What else might she have on her chains?
Fine ladies might have a small purse attached, perfume, mirror, and pencil. Or a watch. They were made of sterling or gold, with semi-precious stones.
As a collector of antique purses, I can vouch for the fact that purses of the day held next to nothing, and actually, the wealthy ladies had no need to carry money or keys. They rarely went out without their men, so relied on them to carry such things. Chatelaines were a nice (and pretty) way to carry around some bulkier items--and to show off some gold and stones as an accessory.
Plus, when I think about the logistics of carrying a purse, I see the advantage of the
hands-off chatelaine. With bustles and gloves and parasols . . . a lady needed her hands free to deal with her clothes, getting in and out of carriages, holding up her skirt so as not to trip on stairs, and finding a way to sit and move through a room without getting caught on a stray table or Victorian gew-gaw.
Ah, the freedom we have in our fashion today! But a chatelaine . . . it has real possibilities.
If you'd like to take a look at hundreds of fashion examples from the Gilded Age go to my Pinterest fashion boards: Fashion of the 1870's Fashion of the 1880's Fashion of the 1890's Accessories Shoes of the Past Antique Purses Historical Undergarments Enjoy!