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Posts Tagged ‘handbags’

Purses I Have Loved

My mom's old beaded bag that I used for weddings and other fancy events.

My mom's old beaded bag that I used for weddings and other fancy events.

Oh purses. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with them for about the past 25 years. It began in high school when I transitioned from carrying everything I owned in a backpack or tote to separating out the important items to its own special container.

I can even tell you when it started. In my junior year there was a transfer student named Kim Dent in my Personal Finance class. She would come swooping into class, set her books down, then take her purse to leave for the bathroom. How cool! How grown up! So urban! I immediately went out and got myself a little Liz Claiborne grey and navy shoulder purse. Then soon after, I purchased another Liz Claiborne purse, this time a bigger one that was RED with handles, like a cute old lady would carry around. I was hooked. I splurged for the next one which was real leather. I loved the smell. I was heavily into Anne Klein II at the time because the logo spelled out AKII which is my name (ignore the extra I. My goal at the time was to marry someone with a last name starting with I)!!

Then came the 90s and grunge and college so I don’t really remember what I was carrying, it’s all a haze. I have pictures of myself carrying around various cute bags and totes I no longer own so I must have still been enjoying being cute. I wish I had taken photos of all my purses because it’s really like those hairstyle retrospectives that magazines like InStyle sometimes show of celebrities. I can tell you stories of what I was doing then.

The only purse I still own from my late 80s: the Anne Klein II logo purse. I love the flap. The straps were too long and the shoe place I took it to to get extra holes did a terrible job. I'm afraid to get any more holes.

The only purse I still own from my late 80s: the Anne Klein II logo purse. I love the flap. The straps were too long and the shoe place I took it to to get extra holes did a terrible job. I'm afraid to get any more holes.

Then I started working and started carrying sleek, serious and perhaps more boring bags. One time, my dad’s AmEx card sent him a free gift card to Saks Fifth Avenue for spending a lot of money (for travel for work and stuff, ok?) and my mom and I went there all excited and then got all sad and depressed because nothing they carried in the store fit into our lifestyle or else the items we did like were excluded from the special gift card. But I convinced my mom to buy me a black leather DKNY bag which was $300 or something. Nothing fancy, just very basic, no logos, totally utilitarian. And it was free! Used that forever and still do, occasionally.

Then I left my depressing job and started working at the U and living like a bum with no direction. I was single, free, no car/debts, just cute. I took advantage and it shows. I wish I kept or had taken photos of all my UW Aki purses. I loved you all.

My first and only kate spade and I love love love love the colors. It's perfect! Except I never use it anymore. I can't let go though.

My first and only kate spade and I love love love love the colors. It's perfect! Except I never use it anymore. I can't let go though.

A splurge item, from Bally. I just loved it when I saw it in the window and I obsessed about it until I finally went back to get it. I love this guy. Never use it anymore. But I love it so, it still sits in my closet.

A splurge item, from Bally. I just loved it when I saw it in the window and I obsessed about it until I finally went back to get it. I love this guy. Never use it anymore. But I love it so, it still sits in my closet.

Leather heart pocket purse from Anthropologie. There's a little heart coin purse like attachment inside (shown above the two heart pockets). Again, don't use it but love love love.

Leather heart pocket purse from Anthropologie. There's a little heart coin purse like attachment inside (shown above the two heart pockets). Again, don't use it but love love love.

Another favorite from Anthropologie. I still break this out from time to time. The zipper broke but I sewed in a newer one. Not totally useful but I love so I keep.

Another favorite from Anthropologie. I still break this out from time to time. The zipper broke but I sewed in a newer one. Not totally useful but I love so I keep.

Actually, this was kind of a "miss" from that era. BCBG. I don't really use it or like it enough to keep it around but since it was so expensive I just have it. Does anyone want?

Actually, this was kind of a "miss" from that era. BCBG. I don't really use it or like it enough to keep it around but since it was so expensive I just have it. Does anyone want?

THEN. Then one day I was walking back from campus (ok, it was 11pm so yeah. But still!) to my apartment on 11th and I ALMOST GOT MUGGGED! I heard some footsteps coming up behind me and I tightened my grip on on the AKII bag and felt a tug at the purse and I grabbed on for dear life and screamed. They initially backed off but then came back again to try to grab my purse! Then some nice guys from across the street heard and went running after them. They were never caught but I did get to ride around in a police car with nice policemen looking for the hoodlums. Maybe that’s why I still have my AKII purse. It went through a lot with me.

Anyway. I decided I’m just going to start carrying bags that I can wear across my body so it’s harder for thugs to get to. Also, I will have both hands free for combat. My pursey evolution took a different direction then.

No more Mr. Nice Guy. Your basic over the shoulder zip up no-nonsense combat fighting purse. I've had this style in about 4 different designs all from Le Sportsac.

No more Mr. Nice Guy. Your basic over the shoulder zip up no-nonsense combat fighting purse. I've had this style in about 4 different designs all from Le Sportsac.

You know what? Then I had a baby. And this was my purse for the next year.

Pottery Barn diaper bag. Yes, it's shlumped and looks like the sorting hat.

Pottery Barn diaper bag. Yes, it's shlumped and looks like the sorting hat.

I’m back to Le Sportsac again though. But that’s as fancy as I get. I didn’t really realize until now but the almost mugging really changed the way I think of my purses. Sad. So now I’m on the opposite spectrum. I have all these nice cute fancy purses sitting in my closet that I’ll hardly ever use again (all are snap or flap and now I require zippers for security). So… here I am. I’m no longer a purse girl but there is one inside me. Part of me feels like it’s a waste because I get bored of things so easily. The other part longs for the fun light flimflam Aki days.
That’s my story.

Hey, at least I’m not carrying this around, ok?

My 10 year anniversary gift from the UW: an attache bag. But guess what? I used this as my overnight bag when I had my baby so there!

My 10 year anniversary gift from the UW: an attache bag. But guess what? I used this as my overnight bag when I had my baby so there!

P.S. Does anyone want this? I got it at the Title 9 warehouse sale last fall but only used it a couple of months. It’s in good condition. It lights up inside.

Totally cute Keen over the shoulder. It is usually $75 but I got it on sale for $24. Again, the curse of the sale. I didn't really NEED it.

Totally cute Keen over the shoulder. It is usually $75 but I got it on sale for $24. Again, the curse of the sale. I didn't really NEED it.

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J. Crew Vintage Cord Pencil Skirt, Scattered Petals Top, and Cardigan; Model with shaved legs

J. Crew Vintage Cord Pencil Skirt, Scattered Petals Top, and Cardigan; Model with shaved legs

I hate getting out of bed in the morning.  It’s not that I don’t like mornings. I just really like bed.  As a result, I often end up without enough time to get ready for work.  Back in my Season of Schlumpiness, “no time in the mornings” was my main excuse for not dressing better.  I was too busy to wear skirts (unshaven legs) and I went to work with wet hair. And have I mentioned the time I was in a federal trial, removed my shoes for security at the courthouse, and everyone saw that I was wearing white athletic socks with a black suit and boots? I could’ve been wearing nice black trouser socks. But I didn’t have time to buy and match socks.  Reader, this was before I had children.  I really had no excuse.

I hear “I don’t have time to worry about clothes” almost as much as I hear “I don’t want to spend the money.”  So here’s my challenge: think about what you could do if you got up 15 minutes earlier every day.  On my alarm, this is less than two snoozes.  It’s time I’d have if I skipped a prelimariny e-mail check with accompanying Facebook distraction.  15 minutes is enough time to get a fresh start on getting ready in the morning.  It is not so much earlier that you will die with exhaustion if you don’t sleep for 15 more minutes. Trust me. 

On Monday, you could shave your legs.  I haven’t shaved my legs daily since I was an actual cheerleader (dudes, I just realized this was twenty years ago. TWENTY).   Daily is a lot and I don’t necessarily recommend it (No comment on whether I recommend cheerleading).  If you start to slack and shave less than once a week, it can impede what you wear. So shave.  Moisturize.  Celebrate by wearing a cute  knee-length skirt  .

Practical, vinyl, adorable bag from Queen Bee Creations

Practical, vinyl, adorable bag from Queen Bee Creations

On Tuesday you could take time to pack.  “No time to get my stuff together” really holds me back. Pack your gym bag. Pack a lunch.  If you stay at home, re-pack your diaper bag.  It’s empowering to carry only what you need and leave the rest.  If you don’t have the right bag for your toting needs, yay!  Go find a new bag.  Some of my favorites are from Queen Bee Creations  in Portland.

On Wednesday you could iron.  Who doesn’t have one or two “I liked that when I bought it, but now it needs to be ironed” pieces lying around? Iron it. Wear it.  If you seriously can’t stand it to iron, get rid of it. If you are surprised that it was worth it, keep ironing — or commit to getting it professionally pressed.

On Thursday, you could leave the house early.  Drop off or pick up dry cleaning.  Take pants in to be hemmed or shoes to be polished.  Drop off your donation box (some good places to donate women’s clothing are Goodwill , Dress for Success,  and in Olympia, The Wardrobe  ).  Take time for those little errands that keep your closet in good order.

 On Friday, you could take a walk.  Go outside, breathe some fresh air., and think about how you feel.  What did you wear this week, and are you happy with how you look? If you don’t feel Fabulous, what would help? Make time for it over the weekend.

Getting up earlier is on my list of “If Michelle Obama can do it, so can I” lifestyle challenges.  I will confess that I am not great at it.  I even tried a real rewards chart with gold stickers, and I lost somewhere (with one single sticker on it).  It’s a constant battle. But the nice thing about it is, whenever I decide to get back into it, I have those extra 15 minutes waiting for me. No excuses.

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