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The Purse Junkie

Update: Congratulations are in order!  Rosa has gone since October 2000 until August 2001 without buying a new bag.  What'd I fall for in August?  A wheeled backpack and a really great flap bag the size of the Preview Collections "mistake" bag below -- the new one maintains its shape, can be rained on without damage, and is nearly impossible for a pickpocket to get into.

Rosa ... is ... well ... a junkie.  

A purse junkie.

I have at the moment 43 handbags and that's only the ones I can find right now and not counting the two drawers full of wallets and zipper bags. Or the 12 or so I gave away when I moved. Or the two I bought yesterday.

Oh, god.

I've tried stopping, but then I pick up a bag somewhere and it just feels right or its got pockets in the right place or its so fogging beautiful I've got to have it. I'm a sucker for Walker bags, especially the smooth-finished net zipper bags. They're such fun to handle I just melt. 

I buy purses, zipper bags, backpacks, tote bags, briefcases, waist packs, lunch boxes, pencil cases.  (Don't worry, they're not all pictured!)

Good design isn't expensive. I've got stunners that cost six bucks. 

A difficulty in picking out bags nowadays is that, at my age (54), you need a bag that says "take me seriously" without being so stiff and formidable that you look like you last had an original thought in 1962 and left it there.  I have broken myself of buying "cute" bags -- some of the trendy ones are beautiful but look absolutely silly on me.  

I didn't realize that other people noticed this until one of the managers announced a propos of nothing in particular that I was the only bag lady he would willingly employ.

I know I use "shopping for a purse" as therapy: When something is disturbing me, whether I know what it is or not, I'll go from store to store to store and back again to find the perfect bag or wallet or carrier bag. In this mode, I often don't even buy it. It's finding it that works. At the end of the process, when my sacroiliac is giving out, the answer or nature of what's bothering me suddenly becomes clear. 

This may be related to the fact that, to relax, nothing works like going through an office supply store.  One control I have learned is to stay the hell out of luggage stores because I can get lost, utterly lost, in all the organization systems.

I use every bag I own, I really do. 

Some people don't own handbags because they "can't find one I like."  That's easily overcome: get rid of the idea that you have to have just ONE bag.  Next, make a list of what you absolutely HAVE to carry and go from that list.  For me, it's reading glasses, three asthma inhalers, kleenex and migraine medicine.  Oh, and maybe something to eat or read.

The two-bag commute system:  One big, capacious bag to hold everything from books and lunch to a rolled-up jacket.  One small, slim bag to carry when you don't want the whole shebang.  This should have a long shoulder strap so it can be carried comfortably close to your body while the larger bag is slung over one shoulder.  Or you can tuck the little bag inside the big one for bus riding.  They actually did an article on this in Vogue a few years back -- as if most of us hadn't figured it out already, thank you very much.

Bag organization:  Use zipper bags to keep related or small things together.  Keep the colors the same (black or brown) so when you open your bag it doesn't look like a quilting bee just landed.  Use bags of different colors and shapes so you can find what you're looking for by feel.

Changing purses:  To avoid forgetting to transfer something, take everything OUT of the bag your changing from FIRST.  Then put stuff into the new bag.  If you're using the zipper bag system, it's even more foolproof.

Bags I Won't Own:  "Designer bags" covered with initials.  Designer bags that are so ugly that, without the boutique, price tag or cachet, would be left sitting on the shelf at K Mart.  Coach bags.  To me, the only thing a Coach bag does for you is scream "Sucker!"  

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