Trauma du jour: new purse

 Key caribiner, phone pocket (modified), double strap pretending to be single.


Key caribiner, phone pocket (modified), double strap pretending to be single.

Are you fussy about your purse? Does it have to be exactly so big? Have at least five pockets? No pockets? One strap or two? Plain black or color? Bling or no bling? Leather or microfiber? And the phone pocket?

It’s that time again. My resale shop Liz Claiborne pocketbook-sized purse has died. I can now:

  • go to all the stores and look for a new purse meeting my exacting requirements
  • try the resale shops again
  • look in my closet at previous purchases and see if any of them pass

I can’t show you the Liz purse that broke—it was buried swiftly and ceremonially so I couldn’t cry over it. All flesh is grass, and that goes double for purses. But the wonderful thing that bag did for me was teach me that I can fit everything I need into a smaller purse.

Some women can get by with a clutch that holds a credit card, a lipstick, and their keys. Is this you? I envy you.

 Two zipper pockets inside, one outside.


Two zipper pockets inside, one outside.

Earlier bags I have carried: a camera bag that could carry a cocker spaniel; a leather backpack that could hold a tennis racket; a lawyer style briefcase stuffed to bursting; a long series of conventional top-loader grandma purses with eight compartments.

Then I fell in love with the Liz. It was too small. But I really, really liked that purse. I was motivated to eliminate about eighteen ounces of stuff. Voila! A purse I could carry without a forklift! I could have danced all night!

But now it is broken.

Let’s look in the closet.

 The top flap has a zip pocket! It's floppy if I put too much into it. Liz has taught me to leave all that stuff at home.


The top flap has a zip pocket! It’s floppy if I put too much in it. Liz has taught me to leave it all at home.

I rejected this baby before because it was too small. However, post-Liz, I can totally deal. It has three zipper compartments, three outer flat pockets, two inner “where is it?” pockets (so called because I dig around in them muttering where is it?), two pen loops, a calculator holster, and a phone pocket which was of course too big for my phone. Solution visible in this picture—I folded up some red felt until it made the pocket small enough that the phone won’t slide out when I bend over. Note that the key caribiner is hooked to a nice stout metal ring. It’s microfiber, which is great because my purses come in contact with many substances that stain or eat leather.

Flaws: It’s a little floppy. Also, the strap is not a single loop; it’s doubled. That has actually proved an advantage when I want to sling it across my chest instead of over my shoulder.

All in all, though, it’s a fine bag.

Of course it is years out of fashion, which means I’ll never find another just like it. This is what we women put up with. Along with blue jeans that fit, decent walking shoes, and a lipstick that doesn’t make us break out or look like Bozo the Clown, a good purse is always a unique find. Treasure it. When it’s gone, it’s gone.


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About Jennifer Stevenson

Jennifer is rereleasing The Brass Bed series in 2013 as Hinky Chicago. Try the first one, The Hinky Brass Bed. Jennifer is easy to find on Facebook.
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4 Responses to Trauma du jour: new purse

  1. Oh look! Another obsessive-compulsive about handbags! If you know exactly what you want in Liz, you might go over to Ebay and shop for its twin — somebody is sure to be selling one.
    My fanaticism in handbags is how they feel. They must be leather, preferably soft and supple but not too floppy. I waver between vivid and interesting colors (teal?) and practical brown or black. It has to be JUST big enough, but not too big.
    This forces me to be very very expensive indeed. For many years I was happy with Coach, but then they began to be trendy and use disgusting materials like plush, and I had to bail.

    • Jennifer Stevenson says:

      Yeah, my skate coach owns thirty (30, yes!) Coach bags, but she’s a self-avowed princess. Me, I won’t spend that much, period.

      Did you find a brand you could trust to replace? Or is it the same old “dear god it’s time to get another purse” struggle?

  2. Pockets. Must have pockets. I have a nice faux tapestry bag that is just the right size but has no pockets so I can’t find anything. Ever. It’s near twin has pockets but is nearly twice the size and if I have a big purse I will fill it, to the detriment of my back.

    Settled on a nice little denim thing (brand new at the thriftstore $5) that has pockets inside the pockets inside the pockets. A tiny bit small for both my insulin pack and sunglasses. But if I need both of those the sunglasses can live on top of my head or around my hat like steampunk goggles.

    I’m as fussy about price as I am about the pockets.

    • Jennifer Stevenson says:

      Yessss! Pockets inside of pockets inside of pockets! My tribemate! I hate those “bucket” purses. Just one big black “whereisit?” hole.