Here we have a black leather purse. A serviceable purse. A good-quality, reasonably expensive purse.
Here's why I bought it:
See all those pockets and zippered pouches and niches and cubbyholes? I just love that stuff. I am not a Bag Woman, one of those female with a purse -- excuse me, bag -- for every occasion and outfit. I have this purse. Summer and winter. It was not inexpensive, but that's okay. I anticipate it will, like its similar predecessors, last me five to eight years.
But somehow, this summer my faithful black leather purse began to see a bit ... heavy. Cumbersome. Wrong, overheated. Like wearing a wool sweater in August, tights to the swimming pool, drinking hot chocolate on sunny 30-degree patio . So for a while I was carrying this:
Not exactly the peak of style or dignified by clean, crisp tailoring, but light, summery. A gift from friends who had visited Peru. Entirely authentic. Well authentically Peruvian tourist trade... Bright (brighter than shows in this picture) and does the job of carting wallet and keys, etc., just fine.
Thing is, it is mostly orange and I am partial to red, particularly one flame-red wraparound dress. Brilliant orange and flame red? Eep.
It was when I found myself bunging the black purse and a book into this, and walking about with it slung over my shoulder like a purse that I realized I probably should admit that I needed a new one.
The Natural Food Pantry is a nice place and all, and I like their bags, but a Style Statement this ain't. Or rather, yes it is, and I don't want it to be mine. So off I went bag-shopping. I mean, there's Bag Woman and there's bag lady. Keep this up, and next I know I'll be carting my stuff around in a couple of old plastic Loblaws bag.
First stop, the shop where my daughter's friend had just bought a cloth bag with faux leather handles that I quite liked. Well, I liked the style and shape. I did not like the pattern. Being assured that there were "lots more like it", I went to the mall.
Nope. There was only the one fabric bag left. The others were all very faux leather in a range of colours and one style: overstuffed. I discovered in myself a Leather Snob. If I'm going to buy a bag that looks like leather, I want it to BE leather. If I'm going to buy an inexpensive, just-for-fun bag, then let's not have it pretending (poorly) to be leather.
These bags didn't look fun and clever to me; they looked like an ill-dressed poor cousin trying to sneak into an upscale club. Though I usually lean to smaller bags, a big bag can be a fine thing, but these looked less like bags and more like your great-grandmother's ottoman, all overstuffed and ruched. Some even had upholstery buttons on them.
So, never mind.
Matthew, who had come along on this entirely frivolous outing, suggested a store I'd never heard of. Assured me he thought I'd like it.
I loved it.
So many fun bags! All of them up to seventy percent off, because, this being late July, stores are pretending summer is over. Good thing, because I wouldn't have given them a second glance at their full-ticket prices. Good lord. Fabric bags, fun as they are, will not last more than a couple of seasons before they start to look ratty. I am not paying the same for a two-season bag as I would for an eight-year purse.
Are they NUTS?
But! Seventy percent off!! In the end I was torn between two. One would go with more of my wardrobe, but the other was just so much fun! Totally frivolous -- no, not totally, because it's big enough that one side can hold my purse stuff (change purse, card holder, sunglasses), one side can hold work stuff (small notebook and pen, any current documents, cell phone), and the center compartment can hold private and/or messy stuff and/or imporant-not-to-lose stuff (tampons, make-up,keys). I could easily fit this week's book in there. But it looks totally frivolous. And the pattern is too riotous to go with a huge number of things.
But! So! Fun!
But I have a purse, and I have that orange South American messenger bag. Two bags? That's plenty. Three if you count the Natural Food Pantry bag. Which I don't. So a new bag would bring my total to three.
More than I've ever had at one time in my entire life.
So. One more bag is MORE than sufficient.
But which one?
And I dither and I hem and I haw. This is not the Laura of history. Not the Laura Matthew has come to know and love. Laura is a focussed, goal-oriented shopper. Laura goes in, sees what she wants, buys it and comes home.
Or she doesn't see what she wants, and she comes home. Extended shopping sprees are very rare. Once in a long while I get the bug and spend a day just shopping (and buying very little). But dither?
I never dither.
Matthew is finding this quite entertaining. He's never seen me go all girly before. In other arenas I can take a while to make a decision, but not this one. He's not impatient at all. He's too taken with the transformation. When, however, he can see that I'm getting exasperated, he asks the cogent question.
"How much would you normally spend on a purse?"
I tell him. He looks at the price tags with their bold red "REDUCED" stickers.
"You can but both these for less than that."
You can see why I love him, no?
So now I own this bag:
Which has long, black, nicely structure over-the-shoulder straps. The bag ends up clutched between elbow and waist.
WOW, huh? It's also ENORMOUS. I've never owned such a large bag. It's wild, it's gargantuan, but I love it.
I now own FOUR bags.
I think I've become a Bag Woman...