Bag lady

Posted March 03, 2011

Bag lady

Result! After months of searching I’ve finally found the perfect tote bag.

I wanted something large enough to hold folders, an iPad and all my usual handbag paraphernalia which is a lot! Not too large though; you could stuff an entire capsule wardrobe (or Victoria Beckham when she is at her thinnest) into some handbags these days.

And not too heavy either – I don’t want to feel as if I’m working out with dumbbells before I even put anything into the bag. So that ruled out a Mulberry bag which I'm convinced comes with two bricks sewn into its lining. Actually my bank balance ruled that choice out anyway but it’s nice to fantasise from time to time.

After trying the patience of the sales staff in several stores – by transferring the contents of my current bag into its potential replacement to check if they would fit – I eventually made my carefully considered choice. It’s important to get this right because a woman’s handbag defines her.

Take Margaret Thatcher. The images that spring to mind whenever you think of her are those of militant miners, cosy tête-à-têtes with Gorbachev, poll tax riots and that iconic ‘granny’ handbag permanently hooked over her arm. The bag was a solid block of structured leather. There was no softness or suppleness to it, like the lady herself.

Or Nicole Ritchie, the renowned Hollywood party girl. Nicole was recently papped leaving her gym carrying a Hermes Birkin handbag. The Hermes has a waiting list of over a year, costs around £9,000 and is associated with timeless elegance. To flaunt it as a gym bag smacks of spoilt little rich girl indulgence and lack of class.

Contrast Nicole with the ultimate ‘bag lady’, the one who has no home and sleeps rough. Her bag, of necessity, is a plastic supermarket carrier (well, more like twenty or thirty plastic bags all strapped to a shopping trolly). Her style may be somewhat offbeat but capacity is no problem.

How does my own purchase define me? I’m not really sure but I’m starting to feel a bit uncomfortable about my handbag obsession.

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Previously on Vanity Fizz

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