Picture this plaid Bermuda bag (above) with a white Izod, khaki pencil
skirt, and some red espradrilles, and you get the idea.
we could change up the covers so easily, we needed at least a few to
coordinate our outfits properly. We snapped up bag covers with
embroidered images like whales, turtles, strawberries, flowers, and
ducks, and we appreciated a crisply contrasting piping around the edges.
Curly-script personal monograms were big, too.
You might have known them as Pappagallo bags. The company was making them
back in the 60’s, but they were a big ol’ fad for elementary school
girls in the mid 80’s. I remember those chunky, smooth wooden handles
best, but makers used differently shaped wood and plastic handles, as
well. I remember how nice it felt to close my Bermuda bag and feel the
shapes line up in the handle.
There were a couple of major downsides, which probably explained why my
mom wasn’t carrying one. You couldn’t put it over your shoulder, but you
couldn’t put your hand through the opening, either. It was a little
chunky to put under your arm like a clutch, so you pretty much just had
to hold it in your hand. Also, it didn’t snap shut and didn’t have
compartments inside. This didn’t matter to ten-year old Me, but does
make a Bermuda bag a little impractical for an every day Mom purse
However, it’s totally perfect for a special date or ladies’ lunch.
Check out this assortment of sweet
covers – you could match to your outfit EVERY DAY.
The Home Gnome Vintage Wares
My own bag was navy and green. Navy on one side with green piping, and
green with navy whales on the other, sort of like this cute pink and
gray one (pictured left). And I covet this pink and green one with
turtles (pictured right), also made by
All About You
Design. She makes covers based on a vintage pattern and lets you
design your own bag.
The simple design of the Bermuda bag shell meant that crafty ladies could
make their own and embellish them in creative ways. Manufacturers caught
on to this trend and offered nicely adorned bags, as well. Here are two
takes on strawberries, both delish:
A quick search shows that I’m not the only one thinking Bermuda. Julie Ree
her mother’s vintage purse and here’s an
Elle article by Kristen Wiig about the same topic.
Miss Janice has a fabulous blog post with pictures of her extensive
collection, including a lovely shot of her sporting her own bag in the
Bermuda bags were part of the whole preppy
look: innocent, tailored, and sweetened with nostalgia. Toss in some
Bonne Bell Dr. Pepper Lip Smackers and your change purse, clip on your
ribbon barrettes and slide into your
argyle socks and
penny loafers, and you’re ready to go.
May 19, 2014: I was totally psyched today when perusing
the new Mark and Graham catalog that
they have added Bermuda bags to their line-up. This is the first new
version I’ve seen of these in a while! At $79, you can go retro (as well
as personalize it) without going vintage.