Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Have you ever heard of Caro-Nan purses? In the 60s, two ladies from Jackson, Mississippi started making painted basket purses and they became wildly popular.  I think they're really adorable and remind me of my mother and the era in which she was a young girl. She made one herself, but instead of painting her basket, she cut out her favorite bands and pictures from Tiger Beat (or Teen Beat, whichever was published then, I can't remember) and she glued them to the lid. It is so amazing, and she still has it.

You can search for Caro-Nan purses on Ebay. 

Here's a cute one from the Antiquer's Rant:

They painted a lot of shopping scenes, like this video shows. Yes, video. Someone videoed their basket purses and put it on You Tube, complete with a soundtrack.

This one has a cute red/black bird motif. And notice that they are all lined with quilted material. And this purse/lunchbox is made, unusually, on lucite instead of a basket:


Apocalyptic Fashion said...

I collect Caro nan purses. Here are a few facts. Nancy Steele and Carolyn McDaniel, from Jackson Mississippi, began making these cute kitchy purses in the late 50s or early 60s (I have several). They sold them out of their garage then a boutique then as their popularity soared they began selling them to other boutiques across the south. They customized these to include the name of the shop and of local attractions in the area. If you look at the little buildings around the bottom you will often see the names of these. Nancy Steele's daughter glued a penny onto the top of many of them that carried the date the purse was made. As they grew they hired women in their area who were artistic and needed money to help them paint the purses. Eventually they were being sold by the best boutiques all over the country. I have one from La Mendessolle in San Francisco. They were popular through the 80s. Country Living recently did a feature on them. They are becoming collectors items. I have found information on them in several vintage forums. You can still get them for a good price on Ebay, but that won't last long as they become more popular.

Lauren T said...

I collect them, as well...they are still nerdy and unpopular enough that I can find them for $25 or less at antique shops or the Nashville flea. People always comment on them when I carry one...everyone has an aunt or grandma who had one!

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