views updated May 14 2018


By the last decade of the eighteenth century, women's dresses had changed from heavy, multilayered gowns made of thick fabric to flimsy, lightweight dresses too delicate to hold pockets. At this time reticules, or handbags, became essential for carrying necessities. The first bags were made of lightweight fabric or net and closed with a drawstring. By the nineteenth century reticules had become a source of ridicule, for woman had begun to carry rather full bags, stuffed with all sorts of seemingly frivolous items, including makeup, brushes, and hair ornaments.


Contini, Mila. Fashion: From Ancient Egypt to the Present Day. Edited by James Laver. New York: Odyssey Press, 1965.

Cunnington, C. Willett, and Phillis Cunnington. Handbook of English Costume in the Eighteenth Century. London, England: Faber and Faber, 1964.

[See also Volume 3, Nineteenth Century: Pocketbook ]


views updated May 29 2018

ret·i·cule / ˈretiˌkyoōl/ • n. 1. chiefly hist. a woman's small handbag, originally netted and typically having a drawstring and decorated with embroidery or beading.2. variant spelling of reticle.


views updated May 21 2018

reticule reticulate structure used in a microscope XVIII; small bag used as a pocket or workbag XIX. — F. réticule — L. rēticulum network bag, omentum, dim. of rēte net; see -CULE.