I debated about this. Do I ruin the mystery and confess what I really carry around? Do I explain how this has evolved? Many questions, not so many answers.
There are a lot of kinds of bags, little ones that can carry a credit card, a $20 and a lipstick, and huge ones that can take the place of a suitcase. What’s right for you isn’t right for me isn’t right for your aunt Judy.
My First Bag
A classy little bag from Coach. I got it on Ebay for $25 and it looked brand new. Not a recent manufacture, it was from a time when Coach was still making things out of just leather and they would wear like iron. These days they charge you $500 for a handbag made of split leather and a lining made of cloth. It’s good quality but not the same.
To give you an idea, I bought my then fiance a Coach pocketbook for around $200 back in the 80’s. Very similar construction to the little $25 bag except it was a good bit bigger. That bag lasted a good 20 years with a repair done by Coach for the clasp. The leather was still in very good shape at the end of that time. It had a patina that only comes with long use. You can’t buy a bag for the equivalent money today that will last 20 years.
I used that little black bag for awhile. It would hold a cellphone, wallet and keys and that was enough. Bags really are first a way to make up for the fact that women don’t get pockets, or, women don’t want pockets with stuff in them because it looks awful but bags can be a fashion accessories.
Those three things, wallet, phone and keys are still the core of what most women are carrying around. What else is really personal.
The Carry Bag
I saw this bag made in brown leather in a shop in Provincetown in the Summer of 2013 and fell in love with it. I wasn’t wild about it being a carry bag rather than a shoulder or cross body bag, but the leather was really soft and it was pretty and had lots of separate compartments. The price wasn’t bad so I did finally get it the following October when we went there for Fantasia fair.
It can carry a ton and I did use it for awhile. I started carrying a small cosmetic kit with a foundation compact, lippy, mascara and a clear nail polish for runs.
Now it sits on my closet shelf, sigh.
The daily bag
My workhorse bag is now a Coach shoulder bag I got on Ebay a couple of years ago for $50. I highly recommend buying nice bags on Ebay, a lot of people use them for a season and sell them off and you can get great deals. Not just Coach but Dooney Bourke and other higher priced brands for very decent prices. Why spend $300-$500?
I went through a few phases with this bag. I started out with a lot of stuff, but recently I’ve simplified. Without getting into every detail:
- Wallet, phone, keys
- A couple of lippies
- Cards for my blog
- Spare wig tape
- A pen
- Clear nail polish to stop runs on panty hose
- and an assortment of unbelievably random stuff that collects
All sorts of random stuff had been carried at one time or another. Spare phone charger batteries, button headphones, more cosmetics, etc. At the end of the day you need what you need and anything more is dead weight.
The pretty cloth bag
I was headed down to Philly last fall and I wanted something a little bigger for that. I wanted something that could come on the plane and take my ipad and maybe a little food but still be usable as a purse. I ended up getting a Vera Wang bag on Amazon for $50 (see the pattern?) and it served really well. It’s a handbag and I was very slow to switch back to the big Coach bag. In fact I’ve gone back and forth at times.
This was probably one of the things I pined after the most as a man. I really wanted a bag. There was no way I was getting a bag. Men get seriously mocked for carrying even bags that are definitely not purses and god help the man who carries something purse like.
I don’t know that I wanted a bag because it was feminine. I think I felt it would be convenient and my pockets were always full.
Carrying a bag is really a bit inconvenient at times, but having one is awesome because so many things can just be put in your bag. Small purchases, breakfast at times, a notebook and a place to put all those random things you get handed like receipts and business cards. Mind you, those just go in the disposal vortex at the bottom of the bag.
If you don’t have a bag and need to get one, take a page from my book and get something used. Go on ebay or your local consignment shop. You can afford to try out different kinds of bags without breaking the bank.