Monday, July 17, 2006

the post about purses

Becca seems to be done with her fashion posts, but I am just getting started. Or maybe not. Maybe it will just be this one. In any event I need to begin with a bit of personal history.

This happened many years ago. Probably more than thirty, but less than forty. My parents were out, and my (older) brother and I were exploring. We found ourselves in our parents' room, looking (I guess) for something to do. We must have been bored. I opened a drawer in my mother's bureau and collapsed on the floor laughing. There in the drawer were, it seemed, a dozen or more purses, different colors and sizes. Could they have been wrapped in tissue paper? So memory says, though my memory is faulty when it comes to things like this. In any event it struck my brother and me both as the funniest thing ever: "she's got 100 purses and no money to put in them!"

Fast forward 30-40 years. I don't have a drawer dedicated to purses, and mine don't match my outfits. For years I carried black purses on the theory that they didn't call attention to their non-matching-ness. But the matching thing was always at the back of my mind. And the need for a purse. I've never really resented the "need" to carry a purse; just as skirts seem like a nice additional option, rather than an oppressive requirement, so purses seem like a sensible way to carry your stuff. But if you don't want to, well, that's what pockets or backpacks are for. No sweat.

Anyway. I carry a purse. And I am shocked to discover that I have, well, let's say a lot of them, squirrelled away in various places in my house.

There is the lovely brocade one made for me by a skilled craftswoman and artist who was trying out a new style and used me for a guinea pig. I carried it for several years. It doesn't match anything I own, which (I figured) meant I could carry it with anything. But it's a little big, and if I put too much in it the strap hurts my shoulder.

There are the two felted bags and the two non-felted knitted bags and the one crocheted bag, all roughly the same size and style. One of the non-felted bags was my belated Knitting Olympics project; one of the felted bags was just finished in May. Here it is:

The problem, I have finally decided, with all the bags I made, is that they are too small. I was trying to force myself to carry fewer things in the purse (this is a perennial problem for me, especially since my back hurts when I carry too much) but the small-purse-method was defeating me. I just overstuffed them and they looked it.

So now I have a new bag. (Oh, and have I mentioned that since I can't knit things that have to fit, but I like to knit, I end up knitting a lot of bags--well, you guessed that--and then I feel that I can't really buy a bag, because I could just, you know, knit another one...) So I made this bag, using more of the recycled sari yarn, finishing it last week. I even lined it (sewing is not my forte) so that things won't just fall out of it. And, you know, it works for me. It's big, and it's pretty shapeless (unlike in the picture) but I made the strap short, it holds all my stuff without getting over full, and it's not too heavy. So now I, like my mother before me, have many many bags, and little money to put in them. But at least I have one I can carry my stuff in.

We'll see, though. I thought the pink felted bag was the bag to end all bags. The moral, I suppose, is that there is, as Nick would say, no such.


Susan said...

Great post. I wonder if we inherit our purse tendencies from our mothers. I have, literally, one purse at a time, that I use for a year or two, usually two, until it gets really raggedy looking and then I trash it and get another one. That's exactly what my mother did and does. We are serial purse users. I just can't deal with the hassle of changing the purse's contents for another one, back and forth. I'm too lazy!

I'm the same way with shoes. I have about three or four pairs: one pair sneakers, one sandals, one boots and one fancy pair. That's it!

Libby said...

See, Susan, I don't change bags to suit my outfit either, though that might be easier than what I do, which is try to have one bag that will answer all my needs. Sigh.

Mom said...

I do eliminate some of the purses I own now and again, although I still have the one I bought long ago to go with my honeymoon suit (!) into which one of you drew in lipstick all over the mirror.... And periodically wonder why in the world I kept that one, and discarded the navy blue shoulder bags that I loved....but they're gone ;-(


Caroline said...

I just, in the last couple years, started allowing myself more than one bag at a time. Strangely, I think it was carrying diaper bags that made the difference; I started having a going out with the kids bag and a separate (rarely used) going out alone bag. Now I tend to carry a different bag almost every day, depending on who I've got with me and how long we're going out. I aspire to going out without a bag, but even when it's just me, I find myself bringing along a lot of unnecessary "just in case" stuff...

Anonymous said...

Tante Rose's summer purse is a natural straw greenish Kenya bag with no stripes from which her favorite billfold was lifted. Kind Univ. police officer pointed out how easily as he helped search nearby dumpsters. Winter's is an ergonmically correct black teardrop, very secure, or sometimes a sacque of brown suede patchwork. "ooh, great 60's retro," said young bus seatmate. TR stifled her "hmmph." It cleaned up beautifully when the two
teeny cups of 1/2 and 1/2 were discovered burst a month after the coffee date.

Becca said...

On Saturday, I couldn't find my tiny black purse that I take to weddings and such events, the kind where you just need your lipstick and credit card, so I rushed out to TJ Maxx, and for $13 got the most adorable navy satin tiny purse with purple and blue beads that went perfectly with the navy and purple and gray paisley dress I wore to the wedding and I was so happy! (Only it was a little difficult to fit into it my lipstick, the mascara I bought at the drugstore on the way to the wedding, phone, credit card and driver's license, sunglasses, and keys--this was a solo wedding.)