To recap for those just joining us (and for those not on my Facebook Page and therefore not privy to the scintillating handbag conversation), I’m looking for a handbag. And I need help.
When I’m looking at handbags, I feel the same way I do when I’m looking at neckties for my husband: absolutely lost.
There are 27 million to choose from, and they’re all kind of ugly (I’m talking about ties here. I think there are only about 14 million handbags to choose from). Like with handbags, if I find a tie I do like, chances are it’s on the bargain table and there’s something horribly gauche about it that I can’t detect. If I chose my husband’s neckties, he’d have to take sandwiches to work every day because, while his coworkers wouldn’t necessarily know why they thought he was inept, they just wouldn’t trust him with any complex projects, like using the microwave in the breakroom.
And it would be all my fault.
I need a handbag because it’s hard to open doors if I carry everything in my hands. But I don’t “like” handbags. I don’t like accessories at all. They’re foreign to me.
I could deal with it okay if accessories didn’t say something about me. I don’t want to express my personal style; I just want to carry my stuff. But like it or not, I know my handbag’s talking about me behind my back, so I feel a need to pick one that won’t talk smack about me.
This would be my “not-with-the-kids” bag, so I want something spacious but not huge. It needs to fit a day planner, a journal, and a novel/e-reader (all roughly 5″ x 8″), along with my billfold and a stainless steel water bottle. And maybe a snack. I’d prefer something with internal organization, but I’m willing to buy/make organizer bags for inside, if necessary.
On a friend’s advice, I ordered two bags from Zappos. They live in their original packaging in their original box. Every day or two, I wash my hands and I get out the bags. I put my stuff in them, model them in front of the mirror, then unload them and put them carefully back in their packages, hopefully preserving their returnability in the eyes of those at Zappos.
One bag definitely doesn’t work (the top opening is too small).
The other would suit my utilitarian needs, but three things give me pause:
1) It’s brown. I always buy brown handbags. I always buy brown everything. Except furniture. I buy red furniture.
2) Yesterday I saw two people carrying the same bag. I don’t want to have the same bag as a bunch of other people.
3) It doesn’t have a top zipper closure. When I get the strap stuck underneath it when I go to pick it up in a crowded store, would the top flap fit securely enough that the contents of my bag (which by that time will include a combination lock, a burned-out CFL, a bag of spent batteries, and five lip balms that I can never find when I need them) won’t go flying in all directions?
There’s another bag. It’s not accompanied by the same liberal return policy. If I didn’t like it, I would have to return it for a credit only within 14 days.
But I like it. Or rather, I think I like it.
Okay, I do like it, I just don’t know if I’d like it on me.
I’m considering the red one or the eggplant one.
It’s kind of retro. It’s spacious. It’s a shoulder bag. It’s definitely not my usual style.
Periodically, I fantasize about getting out my sewing machine, buying a bunch of vintage patterns, and replacing my current wardrobe with 1950’s style dresses, complete with full skirts and crinolines underneath. This bag would go so well with that fantasy.
But then I recall my real-life style, and I balk.
It’s faux leather, not canvas. It’s about the size of my diaper bag. It doesn’t come in brown. And I’m afraid it’s too formal/dressy for the way I usually dress. I don’t want to look mismatched. This is why I always wear brown everything and carry a brown bag. Brown matches brown. If I want a change of pace, I wear khaki.
What would a giant red handbag say about me, anyway? Would it say, “This is a fun-loving woman in the prime of her life”? Or would it say, “There’s a woman with oatmeal smeared on her pants who picked out a cool handbag by accident”?
My husband doesn’t understand why I’m putting so much energy into the handbag selection process.
“If I were you,” he said, “I’d just keep one of the ones I already have because then I’d be done.”
He has a point. But he also lives by a wardrobe philosophy involving “primary pants.”
Maybe I should just carry a grocery sack. I quite like the canvas one we got from Trader Joe’s about seven years ago. It’s not brown, but I think it could work.