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What Is a Saddle Bag Purse?

B. Miller
B. Miller

A saddle bag purse is a type of handbag designed to emulate the actual saddle bags worn on either side of the saddle when riding a horse. These vintage-inspired bags were also popular in the 1970s, but have made a more recent resurgence. Though it may be possible to find a legitimate antique or vintage saddle bag purse, most of the purses today are manufactured recently, and are simply designed to look older. They are generally made of leather, the traditional material for a saddle bag, and have a basic shape with a long strap and one or two buckles right in the front.

The shape of a saddle bag purse is fairly similar across different designers. It typically has a fairly narrow profile, front to back, with a wider, rounded base that narrows slightly at the top. It is usually smaller than many other bag styles, and may only have one or two inner pockets. Because of the long strap, many people choose to wear a saddle bag purse cross-body like a messenger bag, with the strap placed on one shoulder and then stretched across the front of the body. The front of the bag usually clasps shut with one or two large metal buckles that are similar in design to a belt buckle.

Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

Leather is by far the most common material used to make a saddle bag purse, because this is what saddle bags are traditionally made of. It is very rare to find this type of bag in any other material. Dark brown or black leathers are the most popular, but they may be available in a number of other colors. Additional features are sometimes added for extra style; for example, lace might give a saddle bag purse a more feminine look, while rivets or other metal details can add more interest.

There are some pros and cons to using a saddle bag purse. They are typically very sturdy and long lasting because they are made of leather, and are stylish enough to go with many different outfits. The leather can be heavy, however, and they may be more expensive initially. In addition, because they are small, they may not hold as many daily items as other bags. The type of purse an individual chooses to carry is entirely based on personal preference, however, and many people find that this is a stylish and functional option for everyday use.

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