Purse Preferences

I have very specific and sundry requirements for purses, so much so that you might be tempted to ask how anyone can expect so much from a sack of material meant to transport your things from one place to another. But such is the way of ME. And while I don't tend to blog about things like purses or make-up or other shopping pursuits, preferring to save my column inches (heh...) for the really important things, like my dead beta fish named Lola and long-winded rants about musicians named Steve Roach (that no one appreciated the way I'd hoped, might I add [probably because it wasn't very good...]), I have been thinking about this often enough lately that I decided not to deprive you of my wisdom and insight regarding purses. You're welcome. And if you lost your way somewhere in the midst of that clause and parenthetical laden sentence, I don't blame you one bit. I'm still mired in it myself.

Moving on! I've had the same purse for many years now. A small, bright pink, constructed-with-non-leather-materials, Target-bargain purse. The non-leather materials started to flake off about a year ago and the strap has been tearing lately and in general it just looks bad. But, alas, I am broke, meaning I neither have the money to spend on a purse nor the money to carry in a purse. So it seemed like a non-issue for a while. But at Christmas, my mother asked me what I needed/wanted and I immediately thought of my poor, sad, pink bag limping along on its last zipper-pull and I thought LO! I will ask the mother for a new one and she will buy something practical in brown or black that is more befitting a 26-year-old quasi-professional such as myself and I will finally retire my whimsical and slightly-impractical handbag. And then she requested to know what kind of bag I wanted and, yea, the list was long (I'm trying to make it feel more Christmassy. Is it working?). And indeed, on Christmas morning, it was discovered that she had brought forth a practical, brown, professional handbag and wrapped it in swaddling, er, wrapping paper and presented it to me.

Geez! That was like five THOUSAND words to tell you I had a purse, it was falling apart, I got a new one for Christmas. In my defense, I come by it honestly. Seriously, in my family, if you use 20 words to say what only needs 10, you're barely trying. ANYway, the purse my mom gave me had a big old slice in the strap, probably from a box cutter when the store unpacked it, and the strap was going to break in the first few weeks of use, so I had to return it and the store didn't have a replacement or any other that I liked. Because of all my requirements. Which I will enumerate here so we can all move on and find something to eat before we die of starvation on the Oregon Trail that is this story I'm telling.

Oddly Specific Purse Preferences:

1. It must be of medium size. Not like a baguette or a clutch. Not like a hobo bag. [I think I'm using all of those terms correctly, but feel free to call me out. This is why I will never be a fashion blogger. Well, this and my COMPLETE lack of style coupled with my aversion to self-photography.] Partly because medium bags are easier to carry and partly because, not matter what size it is, I will fill it right up. So medium works best for me.

2. It must be wider than it is tall. I have a long-ish pocketbook for my checkbook (which I hardly ever use anymore, because seriously, who writes checks these days?), my cash, and all the various plastic cards I carry--credit, ID, gift, and other. I want the pocketbook to go in and out easily.

3. It must have a short, wide strap. When I have it on my shoulder, I want it under my arm, not hitting my hip. I am far too klutzy for this to be anything other than a choking hazard. Also, though not a deal breaker, I'd prefer one strap over two.

4. However, the strap must be slightly longer than the span from my wrist to my elbow. I know, oddly specific. Basically, I need to be able to move the purse from my hand to my shoulder in one movement and only using one hand. If I need to two-hand my purse, it is 50% less useful to me.

5. It must stand on its own. I want to be able to set it down and not have it tip over.

6. It must have a zipper for the main compartment. In case of the rare tip-over, I want my belongings to STAY in the purse. Magnetic clasps are unreliable and real clasps are impractical.

7. It must have the correct balance of internal pockets to open space. I want a few places to store things. But not so many places that I lose things and/or have trouble fitting larger items, like my pocketbook. I would also like at least one zippered pocket to store lady products so they don't come flying out of my purse when I whip out said pocketbook.

8. It must have an quick-access outer pocket. For keys. Or y iPhone, when I don't have pockets. his should probably have a magnetic closure, not a zipper this time.

9. It must be made of leather-like material. No canvas. No print (especially floral) No fringe. No giant, useless chains or studs that are flashy and obnoxious. Just a solid color. Preferably not textured (like faux-snake skin, ew) in any way.

Looking over that list, I think I can finally give up on my dream of not being high-maintenance. I was never really close anyway, I guess.

With all of that said (and I'm beginning to wonder if anyone but me cares about this topic, but I'm too far along now to quit), there is also the added obstacle of me being INCREDIBLY cheap. We can say this is due to my recent jaunts into temporary unpaid leisure time (that sounds more upbeat than "hopeless unemployment," now doesn't it?), but I think I'm strong enough to admit that my job situation has only served to exacerbate my deep-seated frugality.

Seriously, long story NOT ANY LESS LONG, I finally went to the local thrift store on their half-off day and I found two, count them TWO, purses that met these qualifications and were only $7.50 (and one of them doesn't even look like it was used). And while I know I said I was looking for something more practical and professional, like brown or black, these two called to me and let's face it, I've never been all that practical and I haven't been a professional for quite some time. And I think that, though these colors aren't typical, colored bags are so commonplace now that I really don't think it's an issue. Oh God, self, just shut up and show them the pictures already.

Here are my new (used), cheap, specifications-meeting purses:

The one I'm using right now. I LOVE it! I know the orange is a little out there, but I can't find it in me to care.

This one is a little more worn and doesn't completely stand up by itself, because the bottom is warped. But hopefully when it's full, it will work just fine.

They both have two, thin-ish straps, which is the only downside to either of them. Otherwise, they meet all my ridiculous requirements and then some. And for under ten bucks, I really can't complain at all.

So. I needed a purse, I got two purses, I like them a lot--a much shorter post, but I hope you'll agree, a much more boring one. And thus ends my purse jabber. Feel free to chime in with your own purse requirements or advice as to where to find something that meets mine (although it will probably be years before I go looking again, if I'm being honest).


  1. I think both of the purses are lovely, and the long story was well worth the read.

    I am not a purse person. I own one very simple practical black purse for when I have to look like an adult, and I used to own a small crocheted black clutch for fancy occasions (though that one just vanished one day). I also own a very small purse with a really long strap that is big enough for my small wallet, my phone, my keys, and some candy. I shove this inside my bigger purse so when I am on vacation or someplace I don't want to be burdened with a large heavy bag, I can just quickly downsize.

    Otherwise I prefer something in the messenger bag/beach sack variety of bags. I have to be able to keep a book to read and a notebook to write in. It is also a bonus if my netbook and camera can fit in it. A side pocket for my keys, chapstick, and altoids is always a good thing as well. Ohh and I am a long strap kind of girl. It is totally a choking hazard for me, but I am more comfortable being able to do a cross body sling look. I also like things made of fabric not leather or faux-leather material. If you could describe it as bohemian, I will probably fall all over it. Oh and it has to be on clearance. Not on sale, not just cheap, on clearance. We are talking it has to be 'last season buy this or we will throw it out' cheap. Otherwise I just can't justify buying anything as stupid as a purse.

    So see you aren't the only one with oddly specific purse needs. I think it is a girl thing.

  2. OMG I have the same purse requirement list! But I have decided now that I often have a Hellbaby either clinging to me or needing to be clung to, I need both my hands and arms unencumbered by purseness. So, I am opting for a fanny pack. Or as it is more fashionably known these days, a hip bag (get it? It goes on my HIP, which makes it more "hip" than a fanny pack). I have yet to find one that meets all my requirements (yes, I have a list of requirements for a hip bag, too, OF COURSE), so I am making my own. I will let you know how this works out. I'm hoping to start a new trend in women's accessories.