Your purses / handbags were or are used by all branches of the U. S. military. They regularly sell on ebay for $10 to $15. I would also disagree with your assumption about women "ditching" their handbags. If women wear their service or dress uniform this is the handbag they carry. No Vera Bradley or Coach bags allowed.
Not sure if this is still the reg, but in 2011 the USN did loosen the regs to allow Coach, among other bags to be worn with uniforms. I remember seeing a Coach bag as some point that was advertised as Navy authorized, so I just looked it up.http://www.navy.mil/...?story_id=62483
Female Sailors may carry handbags purchased from civilian sources as long as the handbags meet the following specifications:
- They must be plain black, brown or white grain leather or synthetic leather. Exotic materials such as eel, alligator or ostrich skin are not authorized.
- Bags must be rectangular, 7.5-14 inches long, 5.5-11 inches high and 2-4 inches deep.
- Flaps must be magnetic or zippered, with brass-plated, silver, or gold colored closures.
- A strap must be of the same material as its purse, with brass-plated, silver, or gold colored buckles.
- Decorative stitching, embossed designs, visible ornamentation and manufacturers' logos are not allowed.