Thursday, February 27, 2014

On Handbags...

My mother worries because she says my handbag is always open.  I guess she's right.  It's just so much easier to have an open bag on the seat in the car so I can reach in for change or my phone if it rings.  The problem is that it topples over a lot and I lose things under the seat.  I also dump the contents out on my bed and then find myself at work without my comb.  That happened the other day and when I got home I was just about to hit the one-click button on Amazon to order another one, when I felt something hard under my leg.  I had made the bed with the comb in it.

I always had a little purse for Easter and it was almost always patent leather.  To match my shiny new Maryjane's.  My first real purse was the pink suede one I wrote about earlier.  Not long after, my mother bought me a brown accordion handbag with a metal chain strap for my first day at Jr. High.  It felt so grown up with my nylons, which I got to wear for the first time too.  I have a nice photograph of myself later in high school, sitting on the couch waiting for my date, my open handbag beside me.  If only I could zero in on that picture and see what was inside that bag.  I do know I had a small hairbrush with a psychedelic Peter Max design on it.  I also recall a red plastic billfold that had school pictures of friends stacked with a rubber band around them.  There were just so many and each with a personal message written on the back.  Perhaps a Yardley Slicker lipgloss, most likely in frosted pink to match my mini-dress and tights, although I'm not sure. 

A friend told me once that her handbag was filled with daily comforts.  I really liked that.  My grandmother use to carry a small yellow tin of Anacin.  It had a black dot on the front and after pressing down with tremendous force, or so it seemed to my eight year old thumb, it would reveal two small rows of pills.  I carry some headache meds in a small plastic bottle.  That's a comfort.  As well as a tiny prayer book, a gift from someone I love.  There are the usual things - a Kleenex package, the aforementioned comb, a small wallet with pictures of my daughter;  one as an infant and one as a grown up.  I love knowing those are there though I don't really look at them much.  Most photos are on my cell phone these days.

One thing I really like to carry is a small bottle of scent.  You've heard it here before:  I use perfume as comfort sometimes.  A new friend has told me I may want to carry a cotton ball of an essential oil I like.  She tells me that pressing it to nose may ground and settle me when I am having stress.  I do admit to having stress these days, especially at work.  If I do use her suggestion, I think I will choose a citrus scent as my grandmother's hands always smelled of lemons, something else I've talked about here before.  Those hands were cool and calming.

I was a handbag maven long before designer bags became so popular.  At the mall last year, I pointed out a bag to my mother that I would consider to be my very ultimate handbag.  She looked over at me askance and told me that the bag I admired so much cost more than her and my father's first house back in 1960.  I knew she would be appalled and frankly, so was I.  But it's difficult these days to find a nice pretty useful handbag that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.  There's just nothing in between it seems.

I think everyone has their own handbag style.  I was amused recently when I noticed my dear friend Jane's bag was studded.  What was really funny is that each stud had an embedded rhinestone in it.  That's Jane:  bling with substance.  I just love her.  I don't like too much embellishment though.  Just a supple leather, a medium size, and a nice inside with a lining that's sewn in.  Something classic and practical but with a certain je ne sais quoi.  And filled with a few comforts.


  1. Donna, I have found a handbag that I truly love and will hold all the things I need - it is the LL Bean leather mini tote bag. The quality is excellent, as all LL Bean's merchandise is, and the price is very reasonable. I have it in black and cordovan. Take a look on their website. On lemons and citrus sents - I cannot get enough of it! Nothing smells cleaner than lemons to me. Love your posts - brings back a world of memories and so calming. Thanks! Lisa

  2. Thank you Lisa! I will take a look...and thank you for your means so much.

  3. I am the kind of gal who wants to buy ONE bag and live out of it. My beloved Coach bag lived a hard life, but a happy one, traveling to London, Toyko, San Francisco, NYC, and Paris with me, When "Aunt Dorothy" died, I tried to replace her with a string of inferior knock-offs. I'm still hunting for her replacement and have promised myself to do more serious hunting as a reward, once I've paid off all my debt this summer! Loved this love letter to the womanly need: the handbag!

  4. Well, I would like to suggest that you buy a new handbag as I too have recently bought the handbag from a shop called consign of the times which was a great experience dealing with them.
    High End Consignment Shop

  5. Thank you Sheila! I found a gem at a great discount.