Bags in the 1950s were literally handbags and usually held by the hand or over the arm in the fashion followed by Grace Kelly who used her Hermes bag to hide her pregnancy. Many handbags had side pockets, or even grip clasps or rings for a woman to keep track of her gloves. Right – 1955 Handbag and Flat shoes.
Larger bags to hold possessions were also popular when women travelled using public transport some distance into towns. They could keep all their essentials with them as very few women realistically had regular car access in those days in UK.
Bucket bags and raffia bags were also useful accessories as winkle picker stiletto shoes were not so comfortable. Often a pair of flat shoes lurked in the bags out of necessity just in case entrance was forbidden. Carpet was not universally used then in buildings and many floors of the period were linoleum or wood tiled and the stilettos indented the tiles easily.