The Bag Lady: The Good, The Bag & The Ugly?
Yes, I am the “The Bag Lady”. Before you create the mental image of an elderly woman who is decrepit, surrounded by a ridiculous amount of cats and has a multitude of commercial linen totes in hand, hear me out. The actual nickname itself came about when I worked at Nordstrom in a suburb of Los Angeles. In addition to styling, I was responsible for strategically merchandising, and thoroughly researching, the designer bags and accessories (duffels, briefcases, laptop cases, etc.) in one of our menswear departments. The Gucci pieces were typically flashy best-sellers and the Ferragamo’s were underappreciated and to die for. Needless to say, I had my fair share of fun with return-policy-abusing crooks and savvy style savants. When I left the company, I thought my days of being referred to as “The Bag Lady” were over, but it was only recently that my nickname seems to have resurfaced- but in a different way.
My grandfather, a “gentleman” in every sense of the word, insists on carrying my grandmother’s handbag, as well as mine, when we’re out doing what retired and self-employed individuals do. Over the past month, he has made a multitude of comments regarding the “absurd” weight of my handbags and their contents - he refers to them as my “bowling bags”. Feeling a tad perplexed, not only because I’m neither a bowler, nor do I see any issue with the weight of my handbags, here I am writing about the life and deliberations of a twenty-three year old “Bag Lady”.
So is this what being a woman in your early twenties is all about? I should hope not, otherwise I want a refund.
While my grandfather’s comments are always made in a joking manner, and I know that he means no harm by them, I can’t help but wonder if my bag is actually considered “overweight” ... if there even is such a measure. It’s enough of a burden that I have to worry about downsizing my waist to fit back into all of my skinny jeans I purchased last fall, now I have to potentially worry about downsizing my handbag as well? I call bluff.
In all seriousness, I have to give props to heterosexual men for limiting themselves to a wallet and a few pockets because I’ve yet to come up with an undisputable theory on how the VAST majority of them manage to survive without handbags. What do they do when they need a tissue? Chapstick? Hand sanitizer? A cell phone charger while out all day and night? A tampon? Kidding, but realistically, I can only assume that they somehow manage to “make due” with certain situations… or, of course, there’s the possibility that they’re aliens from Mars. I’ll stick to the latter theory. Regardless of how men seem to get by without an accessory like the Giant City via Balenciaga, the fact remains the same- larger handbags are a tool that should be utilized and embraced by women of all ages.
As a female who is constantly “on-the-go”, I find my larger handbags quite useful in terms of carrying the things that encourage, and aid, my creativity and productivity. My daily essentials in my handbag include everything from Victoria’s Secret toiletry bags for my chargers, headphones, emergency toiletries and makeup, to a relatively medium sized 3.1 Phillip Lim travel bag that doubles as the perfect organizer for all of my “journalistic necessities”. Of course I have my wallet, business card holder, coin purse, etc. In addition to all of the essential items that frequent my “handbag of the day”, I also always have an ample amount of space for unexpected miscellaneous items.
When the occasion calls for it, I’m completely capable of downsizing to a comparatively miniscule clutch. Bank cards, legal forms of identification, travel size perfume, mints, lipstick, mascara and a pen. With age, a woman learns how to prepare herself for the worst by all minimalistic needs necessary, but she also learns to prepare for the worst by covering all potential bases. We live in a day and age where trends don’t necessarily need to dictate the size of our handbags. Who cares whether or not oversized versions are dominating the latest runway collections? In the same sense that I preach embracing your individual sense of style as a reflection of yourself, I advocate the use of large handbags if they suit your personal needs.
A vow to the arts, till death do us part.
xx Dressed to Death xx