Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I love handbags. I have loved them since I was a little girl, I remember, when they were called pocketbooks. A pocketbook had a short handle and a metal frame and made a snapping noise when you closed it. A pocketbook is what my grandmother used to carry to church, with little more inside than a handkerchief, her rosary beads, and a piece of rye bread in a plastic bag that she'd tear apart and share with us on the way home from mass to make sure we didn't have any Eucharist stuck to the roofs of our mouths. Now I call them handbags and purses, totes and bags. And I still love them, as much I do shoes, and not just because they always fit.

Of course that is true to some extent, as there are no fitting room incidents that are a prelude to a purchase, although I am one who will stand in front of a mirror at the store and take a look at how the bag looks hanging on my shoulder if that is how it is meant to be carried, or how it looks while draped at my elbow. And I can outgrow a bag. Well, my mood can. I have former favorite bags, in perfectly good condition, sitting in the bottom of my closet in Sterilite boxes.

My handbags come in many varieties--to match those many moods --but most are black and fit more than a woman should carry. I never leave home without a cosmetic bag full of pharmaceutical panaceas, and lipstick in two shades with matching lip liners. I carry a wallet as big as some people’s purses, and a Filofax I cannot yet upgrade for technology. I usually carry at least one small journal, a variety of writing implements, and sometimes a novel. I have my sunglasses, and my regular glasses, and random papers and coupons.

Eventually I downsize from a black tote that can fit all the aforementioned (as well as a small freshman or two), to give my shoulder and back a break, and begin to use a purse more as an accessory. I’ll use smaller bags in different colors, and will change my bags to match my outfits. My resolve to stop shopping for bags dissolves around then, and I again look for that bag that will give the perfect pop of color or be just the right size and ergonomically correct, and my bag collection grows again. As it did the other day when this tote spoke to me from where it sat on a high shelf. But really, how could I not want this bag? This structured half tote-half handbag that matches my toenail color , gives pop to my black and white summer outfits AND has patent leather handles and trim? Exactly!

Eventually I will get sick of changing bags or will no longer have enough time to do so and I will switch back to a big black tote and wish I could manage with just my grandmother’s pocketbook.

1 comment:

Tam said...

Seriously love bags, but the whole changing out of stuff from one to the other is far too much energy for me. Does pea green go with everything? Is it the new black? Because it's the only bag I use!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin