The Handbag Post

Posted by Brette in Home and Decorating

I have to say I wasn’t wild about the idea of Martha including fashion in each issue of Living, but I liked the handbag feature. The issue arrived just as I was searching for a new spring purse, so I read it with excitement. I am extremely picky about purses. I have a few hard and fast rules:
1. There must be a cell phone pocket.
2. There must be a pocket for keys
3. There must be a zippered area for chapstick and lipstick
4. The handles must fit comfortably over my shoulder with a coat on
5. There must be enough room to fit all my stuff
6. The purse must zip or snap closed so things don’t fall out.
7. The purse must be cute.

Now those requirements do not seem to be outrageous to me, but since it took me weeks and weeks to find the right purse, maybe they are!

purseI ended up with this fabulous Liz Claiborne madras (I am mad about madras) purse, which I got at TJ Maxx for $29.99 . I love how it has an outside pocket so I can stick receipts in it without opening up the whole purse. The straps are long enough to fit over my shoulder. I prefer a purse with one strap, not two, but I can make do with two (it seems as though if you have two,  one is always falling off your shoulder).

purse2This is the main section of the purse which has a cell phone pocket, a keys pocket and an extra pocket where I keep all my store reward cards. It also, as an added bonus, has a cute little zippered section that is for a pen (it’s the oblong brown section on the bottom part of the photo). That is mighty handy, since pens always get lots in the bottom of a bag.

purse3This section has the zippered pocket for lipstick, etc. Don’t you just love the fab pink polka dot interior?

purse4This section of the purse has some built-in features I don’t use. I don’t know why you would put your credit cards, money, license, etc directly in the purse. Not only is it hard to find things, but if you want to switch purses it is much more difficult to take it all out than it is to just remove a wallet. In this photo you’ll see two wallet type things in the bag. The brown one is my medical wallet – I have bandages, Advil, Tylenol, etc in that. The striped one is my coupon/punch card wallet.

Did you catch Martha’s show yesterday where she showed the purse her mom inscribed to her? I thought it was a bit odd in a way. Can you imagine having so many bags that your staff just opens them up and puts them away somewhere without even showing you?

What are your handbag requirements?

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8 Responses

  • Agree with all of your requirements, but would add that I want my purse to last forever. I bond very tightly with my purse — kind of like a kangaroo with her pouch — and hate to change bags. My current one is five years old and going strong.

  • Very good point, and one of my concerns with madras – is it going to get dirty? Can I get it clean? I had an amazing woven purse with pretty multi-colored beads in it. It unravelled and I was so upset.

    I need a new purse for fall too. I should probably start looking now.

  • Heck, Ruth, if they last forever, you can’t go get a new one. What do you do when you’re walking by the department store purse display and all those pretty things are calling out to you?

  • I’m struggling with purse (oh wait. Handbag.) issues lately. The one I had was just a touch too small to get my wallet comfortably in and out and didn’t have room for much else. So, I brought home a new one that my son calls my elephant bag because it’s so big. And, honestly, I’m leaning toward agreeing with him.

  • I don’t know why, but it seems that as I get older I need a bigger and bigger purse. Maybe b/c you have a diaper bag w/ little kids and don’t need a big purse? Also my teen refuses to carry a purse so I end up with her cell phone and wallet half the time.

    I’ve always called it a purse. I know some people call them handbags or pocket books. Some just call it a bag. I wonder if it is regional?

  • I think the name is regional. I can never remember which is the “old lady” term and which is “cool” so I just call it a bag. I LOVE bags. I mean, love them. I have several. I can’t wait to change them and switch them out. I love it when people comment on my bag and say, “that’s so cool.” That, and some wicked sunglasses.

    I agree on the strap rule too. I really do prefer one strap and rarely make exception. Right now I have a deep red DG bag that is huge. In fact, it probably wouldn’t qualify as a carry on. However, it holds many important things; wallet, lipstick, small trucks, stuffed dumbo, bottle of water, bottle of propel, and occasional lax ball. 😉

  • I might not be picky enough, as I have a ton of bags and often find that I don’t have one to meet my needs. Recently I bought a super-cute laptop bag and one of the straps gave out after a month. It’s silly, because any bag that comes with a laptop sleeve ought be durable enough to hold a laptop and other essentials! I paid $10 to have it repaired, but I fully anticipate that the bag will give out again in another month, and I’ll have to hunt for another cute, functional laptop bag.

  • I don’t like carrying a handbag. It reminds me too much of a diaper bag! I just stuff what I need in the pockets of my jacket OR I carry a cute cinch backpack–so much more comfortable and ergonomic. Does Martha say anything about those?!