I am an addict - happily so. And I'm not alone. Not being sure where this addiction originates in so many women, I will say that tastes in handbags are varied. Budget not withstanding, it is fascinating to see what kind of handbags women carry.
Once I had to sit at a table in a high end store for a promotional event. So I decided to perform my own visual survey as I sat. I wanted to determine what handbag most women carried. It was certainly eye opening!
The majority brand that was carried was Coach. Of course, primarily young women carried that brand. I was surprised, however, to see that much older women carried Etienne Aigner the most. Of course, there were the high end brands like Louis Vuitton, Prada and Longchamps but those were mostly carried by Europeans or Asian tourists shopping in this high end store. There were non-branded bags and most British tourists wore (I hate to even write this) backpacks or fanny packs. No matter where you go, promise that you will never, ever wear either -- ever!
I happen to love anything by Michael Kors and by Kate Spade. I have four Michaels, two Kates, an Adrianne Vittadini straw bag, a SAK, a couple of old but beautiful Etienne Aigners and two Nine Wests. Not all handbags have to be brand names, however. I have a cute straw bag that I bought at Bealls Outlet, two green handbags that are no brands, a couple of vintage bags, several beaded bags and a lucite clutch.
I must also admit that I like a big roomy bag. Although I have a really cute smallish crossbody Merona bag from Target, it is not one I carry often. I was a Girl Scout and like to "be prepared" so I carry a lot of stuff: a wallet, sunglasses in a case, a coupon wallet, a gift cards pouch, artificial sweetener in a pouch, several tubes of lipstick, a compact of face powder, an emergency pouch (that holds band aids, hand cleaning gel, aspirin and a headband), a cell phone, keys, reading glasses, a collapsible shopping bag, a little notebook, two pens, a hairbrush/comb set, hand cream, a small travel can of hairspray, a purse size package of tissues, a little case of emery boards and the kitchen sink. Okay, maybe not the kitchen sink but you must admit I am prepared!
I have a dear friend who tries to carry the smallest purse she can find that will hold the few items she needs. She is frequently appalled at the weight of my purse and wonders how I can carry it. I wonder how she can carry everything necessary in such a small bag. Different bags for different women.
Once in New York, I bought a fake Vuitton from a guy on the street. I knew what to look for (logo not being stitched upon, zipper that zipped smoothly, leather-like interior smell) and got it really cheap. But once I got it home, I just couldn't carry it. Although it was in the Alma style, it still felt fake to me. And even though I didn't carry it, it eventually developed rot on the handles and I gave it to a thrift store.
In an earlier post, I wrote about a friend who only carried large black Merona computer cases as her purse, and I talked her into a bright red structured bag to step out of her comfort zone. Not all bags need to be in black or brown to be appropriate. Try red. Try blue. Try orange or yellow. Try plaid or floral print. It is an accessory and does NOT have to match your outfit - sometimes it is the accent piece. And it should make you very happy to carry it.
I have a big canvas crossbody bag that I bought on sale at Old Navy that is the perfect travel bag. It looks like a school bag, a thick adjustable shoulder strap, and has zippered pockets that are covered by a flap that velcro shuts so no one can pickpocket from it without you knowing they're trying. It has traveled to Paris twice, Australia, Italy, China and Germany (not always with ME!). It is machine washable, holds water bottles on the ends of the bag, and holds a ton of things for walking around (including a sweater or shawl for those cool interiors). I bought it for $12 and it is still nice looking.
The point I'm trying to make is that women "of a certain age" should have a great collection of amazing and varied handbags, shoulder bags, clutches and crossbodies. You can carry them seasonally. You can create admiration from other women. You can accent your ensemble. You can make an impact. You can and you should. And think of the legacy you leave for whoever will inherit your bags!
This is such a perfect quote for today's post:
Until next week I remain,