British Retro Vintage Fashion - All the lovely handbagsI tipped out my handbag, that train ticket was definitely in there, I was sure. I look at the inspector imploringly, but he isn’t going to soften. Lipsticks, at least half a dozen, hairbrush, half a bottle of Je Reviens, a tatty paperback copy of Tales From the City, a Toblerone and half a packet of Jelly Tots that have leaked granulated sugar into the bottom of my bag. Then I catch the eye of Glamourpuss, sitting across the aisle, a swish of Nylon stocking as she crosses her legs and raises a perfect eyebrow at the dysfunctional mess spilling from my handbag. She holds a neat little clutch possessively, as if protecting her beautiful bag from my shambolic mess. I am so ashamed. So I’ll do what needs to be done and stage a handbag intervention. New bag, fresh start. Take your pick…

This is the bag Grace Kelly could have worn to compliment that beyond gorgeous white strapless column dress in To Catch a Thief. Classic Edith Head couture! Such an elegant gown, on that most ice cool of blondes, needs a delicate and graceful clutch with sophisticated gold and crystal embellishment. What would she keep in this vintage clutch? Stolen diamonds, probably. Definitely no Jelly Tots.

A darker brand of sophistication is what you get with the great Bette Davis. Tough, smart and an astoundingly good actress, she played complex and wicked characters but it just made us love her all the more. I think she would have adored our black four ring skull clutch bag, sleek, subtle but packing a crystal-encrusted punch in the form of four rings that laugh in the face of terror. Bette would make sure her bag contained a pack of cigarettes, lipstick and a shotgun (probably).

For that rock’n’roll cutie, Ann Margaret, there could only be the Lovers Rock black velvet clutch bag. An unusual heart-shaped clutch in black leopard print velvet, it’s sophisticated, it’s so rock’n’roll you can almost hear the buzz from the amps and feel a frisson of excitement as some leather-clad demi-god strides on stage. Oh my, it’s just perfect… Where was I? Oh yes, back to Ann-Margaret. Well, along with a hairbrush (to keep that red hair artlessly falling over one eye), she’d keep a PBJ sandwich in the bag just for Elvis.

Liz Taylor, my favourite! Well, she’d have all the bags, every single one in every possible colour, all arranged on shelves in a very swish walk-in closet! She’d need all the bags for her diamonds (a special one just for her engagement rings and wedding rings), her fragrances, her cigarettes and a spare bottle of Scotch to sling at Richard during one of their legendary rows. Of course, Liz never travelled light, she was old school Hollywood of the variety that knew an airport arrival was more photo-worthy if you rock up with a vast set of matching luggage. Times have changed, but there’s still no excuse for a bag full of loose Jelly Tots. 2020 is the year I keep a clean, well-organised handbag. Join me, let’s make it ‘a thing’!