When the Roman city of Pompeii was discovered in the 18th century, all things ancient Greek and Roman became immensely popular. This movement, Classicism, also had a profound impact on women’s fashion: dresses became straight and the waistline moved upwards. Underneath these delicate dresses was no room for thigh bags. Their content moved into the reticule, the first true handbag, carried on a chord or chain. Such bags were in fashion until the first decades of the 19th century. Reticules were handmade from all kinds of fabrics, often by the women who used them.
During the 19th century, the age of the Industrial Revolution, many new manufacturing methods and techniques were invented. New materials such as papier-mâché, iron and polished steel emerged and were used for the production of bags which resulted in new models and designs. New bags were developed for the modern traveller, who could then journey more easily by boat and railway. Hand luggage for railway travel were the precursors of today’s handbags; carrier bags which were practical for travel, but could also be used when shopping or visiting.