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Home » "Hobo Bag" Definition

"Hobo Bag" Definition

hobo bag”- Dictionary definition:

n. a style of handbag that is typically large and characterized by a slouchy crescent shape styled after a hobo’s bindle.

In my line of business, I hear the term“hobo bags”, oh, I don’t know—ten, twenty, times a day–at least! I’ve alwayscalled this type of bag by that name, but I got to wondering one day why a“hobo bag” was called a “hobo bag.” Finally, when I had a few minutes tosatisfy my curiosity, I searched around the Internet for an answer…and guesswhat I found?

First sold in 1936, and costing a mere 35cents, this style of bag was called a “Gilda hobo bag”. 

Apparently whoever named the hobo bag found the crescent shape and slouchy quality of the bag,(particularly the original cloth hobo bags), to be reminiscent of the “bindle”sacks “hobos” carried over their shoulder on a stick and often seen in cartoonsand illustrations. Other times their belongings were stowed in a piece of clothand tied in a slouchy style, across their bodies–shoulder to hip. Anotherlegend is that a savvy woman (maybe Gilda?) tied her belongings in a stylishhandkerchief and started the trend.


In both cases theyhad a tendency to form a half-moon shape whencarried. The lack of structure, in combination with the flexible materialsgenerally used in making hobo bags, causes the bag to slump when it’s set down–also reminiscent of a bindle. So there you have it!

Whatever the origins are, this style of baghas become a classic, and because of its roomy interior and pack-ability, hasremained a staple in every collection I design.

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