Too-Big Bags

Hello my funny Valentines!

How was your Valentine’s Day, by the way? I am still trying to figure out who left me a milk chocolate rose in my church office that Sunday morning. I thought it was my beau but he said, “Sorry, I can’t take credit.” (That’s what I call honest to a fault, darlings!). So whoever it was, thank you! I’m saving it for a Serious Chocolate Craving.

Let’s turn our attention to PURSES and BAGS.
Due to the fact that she is starting to hunch a bit like Quasimodo of late, PeaceBang is becoming painfully, chiropractically aware that her favorite everyday purses and bags are just too big. She has no plans to stop carrying enormous bags, because she adores them, but she does need to acquire a smaller, dressier bag for those miscellaneous occasions when a Monster Satchel just won’t do. The church talent show this weekend, for instance. A nice dinner at someone’s home. Her own social life, like outings to restaurants or the theatre when she would like to avoid granting someone a concussion at the end of the show when she turns around and accidentally hits them in the head with her Monster Satchel.

My everyday bag is this Hobo style in navy blue. The leather is amazing and I adore all the pockets and compartments and use them all:

Lord knows I have other bags. I have two Bagallinis:

(little lightweight bag for travel)
(new for conferences: my secretary gets me Bagallinis wholesale!)

I have two or three dressy clutches and three or four ancient enormous satchels that I love but that are falling apart and should be given away. I hav two fun purses from trips I took to Paris in the 90’s (a beautiful white leather one-strap backpack and a funny little bowling bag type thing) and a big, white fold-over patent leather clutch that looks like a suitcase when it’s not folded over. It’s awkward and bulky, but a woman my size looks silly carrying anything too tiny. I have one buttery yellow smaller shoulder bag that I should switch to right now to give my spine a break.

You know how it is: bags accumulate over the years. I do give them to consignment, but then I inherit more. Things go out of style. They come back into style. You keep bags thinking you’ll get them repaired or cleaned and never do.

I looked at Macy’s today and was uninspired. The one line I liked was ridiculously expensive (Tignanello) and nothing seemed to have any design pizzazz. It’s all that moc-croc nonsense that came out 6 years ago or boring Working Lady satchels. Even Nine West, my favorite retail providers of cute and affordable purses, had nothing to offer. The new thing is the cross-body bag, and they’re cute but I don’t think appropriate for professional use:

If you’re in the market for a big tote, there are lots more options for you (here’s a cute Tignanello design):

As for me, I’m going to keep looking, or maybe I’ll throw a Handbag Swap Saturday and get a bunch of friends together to see what we’ve all got.

And of course there’s etsy.com!!! Love these!

11 Replies to “Too-Big Bags”

  1. I love TJ Maxx & Marshalls for bags – great selection, many stylish options and reasonable prices. [YES!! So true! Most of my bags are from TJ Maxx. Some days when I’m just up to my eyeballs in brainy stuff I go and look at bags just to get colors into my head and switch back on the visual side of things. – PB]

  2. There is only ONE problem with that knitting bag, and, as an avid hand-knitter, I would know….

    WHICH COLOUR? 🙂 I want it in olive, peacock, lime, and eggplant…(okay, that sounds like one bizarre meal….)

  3. When you say “bag”, are you talking purse, or are you talking work-bag? I have a large tote that I love which I use for a work bag. It always has my small portable organizer with mini current project files, and essentials. I’ve been searching for a clutch so I can better organize my wallet/phone/balm/batteries stuff, which also get tossed in.

    If it is a work bag, then I tend to prefer a more structured bag on a lady for work. It makes us look a bit more organized, and more structure tends to flop on the floor less when we are working out of starbucks or schlepping said bag all over cars and floors. (I.e., I’m basically thinking a female briefcase but not so stuffy.)

    For a strict purse, sky’s the limit. But that’s a different situation.

    For the workbag situation, I LOVE Rainebrooke. (Steve is a sweetheart and wonderful at customer service!) They are laptop oriented, but all the bags have a removable laptop section. I have the green Michelle and have loved it into bald spots.

    Of which kind of bag do you speak? [Well, in this post I’m definitely talking about both, which is probably confusing… PB]

  4. Is there an attractive way to wear a cross-body bag? I always think it looks cute until I see myself in a photograph. I’m not busty – although I can’t figure out if that would help or not.
    Love your blog.
    Sheri [Thanks, Sheri! I really think it’s just a matter of proportion. Cross-body bags cut across the figure and that’s often not flattering. If they’re too big, they just look like a big fashion tumor. If they’re too small they can look like they’re dissecting the wearer. I think you just have to try them on and look in the mirror, and make sure to try them on with the kind of jacket you’d be wearing them with. I rely on them for travel and all-day outings when I want my hands free (in lieu of backpacks), knowing that they definitely emphasize my bosom in a way that wouldn’t work for a professional setting. – PB]

  5. I was just asking a colleague at breakfast how she likes one of those moderate sized, hard sided clasp wallets and she says it’s great meets all here needs — but I don’t know how you’d put a lipstick in it. I have a bee-you-tiful coach briefcase my parents gave me when I graduated that works beautifully for work, but I still wind up schlepping some sort of tote around most days. Kohl’s is a great place for decent looking bags that won’t require you to dip into your retirement account to procure one, some are even leather. They carry a line that’s made by Stone Mountain, basic but quite serviceable and doesn’t require registration as a lethal weapon.

  6. I’ve had really great luck with Liz Claiborne’s bags. They’re very reasonably priced, I like the tailored lines, and there are often fun colors. (Also: most have a pen pocket. As a crazed lover of fountain pens, it’s a boon to have a handbag that keeps them upright.)

    Of course, I still lust after Kate Spade.

  7. Years ago, I bought a Ralph Lauren purse with a long, black leather handle. The handle has silver snap hooks on each end, so it can be removed and transferred to other bags.

    I use that strap to convert all my purses into crossbody ones. I just look for bags with short handles that can be removed (sometimes I cut them off) and replace with the long, black one.

    I prefer my purses rather small, so the thin black strap doesn’t cut into my shoulder. Right now, I’m carrying this one from Kohls:
    http://www.kohls.com/kohlsStore/handbagsaccessories/brandsforhandbags/relic/PRD~291373/Relic+TopZip+Hobo.jsp
    Mine is bright green and it is my favorite purse, ever, by far! I saw one in a dusty orange and am sorry I didn’t snap it up because the website only shows black and brown now…

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