The handbag addict.

The first step to dealing with addiction is admitting you have a problem.  I admit it.  I have a penchant and an undeniable weakness for handbags.  The thing is that I enjoy carrying my life around with me, and having the perfect bag with which to accomplish that is vitally necessary.  When in the right proportion to the person carrying them, a bag can absolutely be the perfect accessory, and never make a woman (or man for that matter) feel to big or too small.  A handbag truly is a small window into a person’s life, what they carry, how they carry it, the level or organization.  It’s fascinating.

If you ever get the chance, find a copy of the book “I feel bad about my neck” by Nora Ephron.  Aside from being one of the most fantastic books I have read, it also has a chapter about the elusive purse, and how some women are just not designed to manage or carry purses.  I will never tire of reading this passage.\.  I do recommend reading the book in its entirety, the chapter to which I refer “I hat my purse” is available on Google Books.  http://bit.ly/9gpmHC It is a masterpiece, and I won’t ever be able to articulate the psychology behind the purse much better than Ms. Ephron.

When I feel the urge to purchase a handbag, however, I do have criteria that the bag must have.  The thing is that it’s not just all handbags, I do have criteria and standards for what exactly they need to be.  In my collection (only part of which is with me at the moment), I have a variety of vague shapes and relative sizes, but of the current 26 bags that I can count…about 95% of them fall into the following pattern, much of which can be extrapolated in order to find your perfect handbag style.  The following are my top five criteria.  (Note:  all of the following handbags depicted are ones that are actually in my collection…not just random photos that I constantly drool over)

#1 – They are able to be comfortably worn on the shoulder.  Although my arm is usually tucked up in the handles while it sits on my shoulder, I do like the option of being able to throw it back on my shoulder and not have it be in the way of my hands.  Long cross-body detachable straps are a new trend…one which I’m certainly appreciating.  The thing with what I deem as true “hand”-bags are that you are required to physically carry them, or lodge them in the crook of your arm.  Do not get me wrong, I have a few bags that certainly are true handbags, and they are gorgeous…but I must always be conscious of their wear-ability or function for the day’s activities.

#2 – They are all relatively large.  Most I find can actually fit my 13” Macbook quite nicely, which is a bonus…but has never been a hard and fast criteria.  The test instead has traditionally been whether they can comfortably fit my planner, my wallet, and a small makeup bag.  Considering how often I switch my bag, I have to keep my life confined primarily to these three items which can be easily swapped from one handbag to another.  Therefore, in order to accommodate not being burdensome on my life, the bags must fit these.  Extra space is a bonus, and most often appreciated.

#3 – The three-pocket rule.  Most bags have the following compartments within them:  a small cell-phone space and a slightly larger open pocket beside it, sewn into the inside of one face of the bag; and a larger zippered component on the inside opposing face.  I have perhaps a half a dozen bags that do not have these pouches…and without them I feel slightly disorganized and lost.  That being said, I do know people who require even more than that number of pockets…ensure that your future handbags have your requisite number of pockets…otherwise you will feel as though you are floundering in the dark open space that is the innards of your small world.

#4 – No repeats.  I have only one bag that I own two copies of.  That is because I bought another one on discount, at the outlet, in a different colour, so as to preserve the original copy that was in fact hand-dyed in a gorgeous cranberry vegetable dye.  Other than that I am incredibly conscious of the shape, colour, and texture of every bag I own, so as to insure that my collection truly grows with every purchase.

#5 – Focus on the classics, avoid the trends.  I have a handful of bags that are more trendy (ie. a prefect little half moon bright coral patent hobo…always good for summer, but very deliberately so), but in general I look for bags that will last me until they literally fall apart at the seams (which the really good ones shouldn’t do).  I consider each bag an investment, and therefore would like to get the most out of that investment by being able to wear it through a number of seasons, outfits, and years.  I do not buy cheap trendy bags, they are often tacky, consistently disposable, and quite often wreck my entire mentality with an outfit.  I will digress on this for wristlets or clutches…but generally at no other time unless I feel that it will fit permanently into my style (eg. a pale yellow multi-strap hobo with a large front pocket and pale gold detailing from Coach) for many a season to come.

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Filed under Defining Chic, Handbags, Rant

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