Saturday, July 10, 2010


Okay, so I have spent most of my life in fear of the Mom Syndrome, wherein my mother has a purse for every season and many within each season for different types of outfits, purposes, and moods. She shifts things from bag to bag with such frequency and vigor that it's inevitable, spending time with my mom, to end up hearing "where IS that credit card" - or coupon, or antacid, or cell phone, or glasses, or what have you.

The constancy of the misplacement of necessities instilled in me a half-a-lifelong puzzlement at the peculiarity of changing purses in the first place. Why bother? Get a good bag in black, of enough style it can be used with a suit, and little enough detail, that it can go with jeans too, and you're in business. Periodically take out one credit card, a compact, and a comb to put in a teeny bag for Saturday nights out - and buy a cheap little one for that. You're set. Two purses for a lifetime.

Over a year ago, the current Target naugahide number began to suffer strap deterioration. The body of the bag was fine, in perfectly dandy condition - but the strap was beginning to crack, and at its moorings, a thread was betraying its non-genunine-leather composition. HORRORS, cried my mother, and mentioned it whenever I saw her.

Around December, I began looking at purses on eBay. I had taken to heart the state of the PVC, and felt, okay, maybe quality might be worth a buck for its relative duration of service.

I looked at literally thousands of bags. I looked for a long time. I knew my style preferences, but honed and refined them. I learned what I cared about in terms of shape and particulars. I'm currently on the unfashionable side of my affinities in appearance (I loathe "slouch", "hobo", "tote", and otherwise giant, short-strapped, or heavily be-chained and decorated purses). The (not actually all that current, but unfortunately still retail-dominant) trend for bags you can't put over your shoulder - and therefore must lose an arm to carrying, rendering you a crook-elbowed fashion monstrosity with a bumper constantly waggling and encumbering you and everyone near you leaves me speechless. The interest in advertising brands, and the gaudiness of brass accoutrements, likewise.

After about a month of shoping, I found a beatifully sleek Italian leather bag by - of all makers (their recent lines are about as ugly as all the descriptors above GET) - I Santi. It's trim, its strap is just long enough to make it a shoulder bag without the thing banging around on my behind all the time, it's got one single small silver detail, and it's black croc-embossed (genuine) leather. I got it for like $35 - quite the deal, considering the prices on purses, specifically on I Santis. It's large enough to carry my wallet, no small feat, and yet still slim and extremely chic. It has proven a practical tool, and I've been extremely happy with it. My sister-in-law, no slave to fads, even commented on how nice looking a purse it is. I figure, something that doesn't call attention to itself by way of gobs of goldtone chains, but still gets good notice like that - and which, as noted, is a useful and easy daily carryall - wins every cent of its purchase price.

So I scored.

Since spending that much time immersed in the consideration of purses, and augmented with the memory of an adorable little red vintage bag an author friend of mine had at the last Writers' Conference, I have been considering my one-bag-except-for-Saturdays lifestyle position.

And I have bought three little vintage purses now.

One is another classic purse I will put into rotation with the black purse, for frequent use. It's a brown box purse, came today in the mail, and turns out to be in unbelievable condition. Apart from the smoke smell inside (currently remediating upstairs in the guestroom), it looks brand new. It will coordinate well with my brown and autumn-colored wardrobers, and I couldn't be more pleased (well, okay, except for the smell).

The other two are a suede-lined dark blue patent with one goldtone clasp ... and the princess of my new collection. The aqua grandma purse.

Turquoise patent, this box purse is very long, with short straps (yes, I considered and got one of those elbow-crooking purses!), and - again, as with both others - looks as if it has never ever been used. This one was flawless, odors included, and I got it because (a) I LOVE turquoise - or aqua, as seems almost like a vintage word to me, and is exactly the right name for this color - and (b) I wanted a COLOR purse, something to perk up spring and summer dresses, to go with my brighter shoes, to be a bit of a "statement" accessory.

I first carried this bag the other day, going to New Employer to pick up my drugscreen paperwork and get fingerprinted. Two people admired it.

I carried it today, going for a haircut. The senior stylist, a guy (who I think finds me intriguing, heh), complimented it immediately. The new stylist I was going to complimented it, and chatted about bags a little. The owner, they directed her to look at it when she came out from the back room.

My little new purse was every bit the Statement Handbag, even more than I'd ever suspected purse-dom might have in store. I really didn't know how people "get" about bags. Even having gotten this way about them myself, apparently!

So I have myself a spankin' new I-got-a-new-job celebratory wardrobe of purses, and mom couldn't be happier. I am hilariously amused, and a new kitchen's in the making too.

THIS is a fun pre-new-job vacation.

And now, thanks to a miserable night's (lack of) sleep - I must go briefly nap off all of this whirling excitement. Whew!

1 comment:

DLM said...

I'm kind of cracking up that I got my first spam-ment here, and the bag this commenter linked positively EXEMPLIFIES all the fashion points of complaints I had detailed in the post above. Inexplicably, the comment itself noted how great patent leather is, but the link was to some patterned textile thing with (ew) white leather accents and way WAY too much going on ...

Apparently the algorithms for spam are about as high quality as those for CareerBuilder, Blockbuster video recommendations, and Pandora (*eyagh*) radio. Shew!