Bag Lady

I’ve never been one of those women who were crazy about shoes.  Probably because I have the fattest feet ever, so that even when my body is at its slimmest, I still have to shop for my feet in the plus size department.  When I was a little girl, my mother took me to a special shoe store that carried shoes in widths up to triple-E, and on occasion they would special order a quadruple -E just for my fat little feet.  I feel like I’ve been wearing old-lady shoes since I was five.  They don’t make really cute shoes in quadruple -E.

All this to say that I sublimated shoe love into purse love.  There was a time when I owned not one, not two, but seven Coach purses.  I had a leather one in every color (brown, cordovan, navy , white, off-white, cream, and black).  Then a few years ago, Coach stopped making leather purses – now all their bags are some canvas like material and they have these strange geometric patterns on them.  I was extremely disappointed by this.  These bags are very unappealing to me, and certainly do not live up to the standard of classic fashion that I had come to expect from my years of loyalty to the Coach brand.

So, I moved on.  I got into Brighton bags for a while, but was never totally in love with them.  I did like their accessories – the watches, bracelets, and earrings are very nice.   I still wander through the Brighton store at Southwest Florida airport and look longingly at the luggage, especially the bright red pieces.  Very fun.

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine got a Tiganello bag in butter yellow.  The leather was extremely soft and supple, and she looked just darling carrying it on her shoulder.  I coveted it for a while, and when it went on sale at Macy’s, I bought it. After a few days of carrying it on my shoulder, I was bent sideways – the thing weighed a ton.  I took out everything that wasn’t absolutely necessary (meaning an emergency sewing kit and a teabag) and it still felt like hauling a sack of potatoes around.

For a while I was totally into little purses in every color.  I had purses to match every outfit, and some that matched no outfits just for fun.  I had a red purse one winter, and an olive green purse when they were cool.  I had the yellow purse for spring, and a burnt orange purse for fall.  My friends started calling me the rainbow purse girl.

Last year I gave up on purses.   I still carry one – but the operative word is one.  I’ve limited myself to one bag per season, instead of having a bag for every outfit.  Plus, I’ve become extremely picky about the type of bag it is.  It has to have a short shoulder strap, and contain only one inner compartment.  It must have a zipper pocket on the outside, and a cell phone pocket on the inside.   I have become an absolute fussbudget about my purse.

I am amazed at how much time I save in the morning, now that I no longer have to shift the contents of my purse from one to another.  Many mornings I was rushing to dump the wallet, the pocket calendar, the pill container, the ipod, the lip gloss, the reading glasses, the notepad, the breath mints,  the phone (dear God, don’t forget the phone), and the office keys (just in case I need to lock up), from one bag into another just minutes before dashing out the door.  Now it’s all in one purse, and it stays there through the entirety of one major season.

I feel bad about my purses, though.  I still have a closet full of them.  The cute little brown one with the bow on it.  The purple leather clutch.  A turquoise bag that exactly matched a sweater, jacket, and watch.  The nice thing about purses was that they didn’t need to be a size.  It made no difference whether my feet were fat, or my belly was bloated, or my hips a little too wide.  A purse always looked good, and it didn’t even matter what day of the month it was.

But one thing I’ve noticed about getting older – I don’t care about all that so much any more.  I’d rather have the extra time spent changing purses each morning to sleep, or drink another cup of coffee, or scratch my dog behind his ears.

After all, I’ve been wearing frumpy shoes all my life, and my mother taught me that your purse and shoes should always match.


14 thoughts on “Bag Lady

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Bag Lady | Becca’s Byline --

  2. Okay, so here’s my address so you can send some of those cute bags down to me… (just kidding) Before Blake was born, I invested in a Kate Spade diaper bag that doubles as my purse. I’m okay with only having one purse, but the diaper bag is not a good look for going out on the town.

    Also, tomorrow, you’ll see how SKINNY my feet are. Yes, I took a picture of my feet (in socks) and posted it on my blog. 🙂

  3. My shopping experience with purses is very much like shopping for bras. It’s so hard to find one that looks good and is comfortable too. My current favorite (purse, not bra) is a gorgeous green with far too many pockets and a long enough strap that I can sling it across my body and carry everything I need without wrecking my back.
    As much as I love the idea of changing purses – it’s so elegantly old world – I just can’t bring myself to put that much effort into choosing one more thing in the mornings.

    I’d love it if you’d post some pictures of your cute purses. Just so I can drool.

    • I haven’t yet tried on of those across the body purses. They all have so many little pockets and pouches – I don’t do well with too many compartments.

      Yes, I’m over the whole purse changing rigamarole too.

  4. I loved reading your post. You can send me a few of your purses/bags to me!


    I like those purses which have long straps so that I can put those across and have free hands. I don’t like those too big. But big enough to hold my reading glasses, my phone, some tissues. No make up nothing.

    I used to have shoe thing but not any more. I am mostly wearing my Rebook/Adidas shoes. However, I bought a great pair of boots, not very high!! We girls ought to indulge ourselves!

    • Seems everyone wants to rescue my purses! I guess I should put them up for adoption 🙂

      I like boots – I actually have a black pair that fit and look pretty good.

  5. I have carried one purse for years. Well, I shifted from one kind to another almost the same kind. I hate carrying a purse and many times when I go out with my husband I don’t bring a purse. I put my glasses on and off I go.
    But the one purse I carry has to be a small shoulder bag, have slots for credit cards a place for my glasses on the outside several zipppered compartments, etc.
    I hate these huge handbags everyone is carrying. My little compartmented purse works fine and I never switch it. I’m purse backward when compared with most folks, but I like it that way.

    • Those great big oversized bags look ridiculous on a little person like me. My friend Millie carries the same kind of purse you do – she takes it all over the world with her, and says it does just fine (except when she forgets and leaves it behind, like she did in the McDonald’s two hours outside of the Paris airport!)

  6. I’ve always been a shoe person but that is waning quickly. As long as the shoes are comfy and I don’t end up with aching feet at the end of the day, I care little whether they are the latest in style. My problem with purses is that I can never find the right size to hold my “stuff.” They are either too big or too small, so they don’t evidently make them to suit every bag lady’s needs!!

  7. I’m so particular about my purse and it takes forever to find one that I’ll actually throw down my money for. I have to have a pocket on the outside. I can’t stand rummaging through my purse for my keys and glasses. I found a pretty good one this year, but it’s a little too big. Men have no idea.

    • I hate rummaging around in the bottom of my purse, or having too many compartments to search through.
      Sometimes I’d really like to just stuff everything into my pockets, like the guys do!

  8. I love purses too but exactly because I can’t be bothered to switch contents all the time, I tend to carry one per season: a dark one in winter and a pale one in the summer

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