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Posts Tagged ‘Kate Spade’

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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Pink snakeskin-embossed Bandolino slingbacks

Pink snakeskin-embossed Bandolino slingbacks

Shoes are one of our first and most primary possessions.  Even little kids get way into their shoes* —  they’re the first objects which are exclusively “mine” but yet not fully “me.”  In the folktale of Cinderella, shoes are emblematic of transformation (from isolation to community, loneliness to love, loss to rediscovery)**.  Cinderella’s coach turned back into a pumpkin at midnight, so how did the glass slipper remain? Because shoes are magic. They connect our transformed fantasy with our everyday reality. They are ours, but just beyond us.

Shoes are intimate but public.  Shoes are functional, they are decorative. And I do believe they have the power to transform us.  I think there might be two kinds of women — those who believe in Shoe Magic and those who deny it.  I was a skeptic for like 20 years.  Shoes are personal, so I can’t presume to tell you exactly what shoes to wear.  But I will tell you that shoes are an opportunity and if you haven’t yet taken it, your life can change if you do.

Of course we have to wear the right shoes at the right place and time.  Wear the shoes that are required for your vocational or recreational activities.  But think beyond the demands and limitations on shoes — allow them to be happy and fabulous.   If you have hang ups about your body, spare your feet. Your feet are not fat (the late Diana, Princess of Wales wore a size 9 and did she not look fabulous?) Almost everyone’s feet are a bit quirky, but it’s possible to find beautiful shoes that fit.

Today I’m posting pictures of my heels.  Don’t think of heels as a single kind of shoe. Heels are place on the shoe – on many, many kinds of shoes — where a shoe may be elegantly elevated in a flattering way. I wasn’t convinced until I read it in O Magazine (as a general rule, I trust O to shit me not) that if you’re looking to improve your professional wardrobe, “wear heels.” If you think all heels are uncomfortable, “keep shopping.” A good heel makes your legs look great, makes your walk more confident, and improves the look of your outfit. If you wobble, keep shopping – it’s not just the heel height but lateral support and heel structure that give a shoe stabilitiy.

Cole haan red loafer; Pink Patent leather slingback wedge; Circa Joan & David toe-tone leater; Purple Kate Spade Stiletto

Cole haan red loafer; Pink Patent leather slingback wedge; Circa Joan & David toe-tone leater; Purple Kate Spade Stiletto

shoes

Cole Haan Carma Open-toe pump; Fred Meyer brown heel with bow.

Lower heels:
 
Three low-heeled shoes. The one on the right I only wear with pants.

Three low-heeled shoes. The one on the right I only wear with pants.

I have a variety of heel heights because I have a variety of pant lengths — theoretically you should hem your pants to the shoe, but I haven’t perfected that art, so I do a lot of switching around.  Cute shoes can be slipped on with an otherwise boring outfit (Me: blue trousers. brown sweater) and make a cool outfit.   Great shoes can be worn with a nice outfit and make a superstar outfit.  Heels are pretty and once I got used to them, they seriously improved my stature and presence whenever I wear them.  This used to be way out of my reach, and now it’s not, I’m really into it. It’s a joy I wish on everyone.

Coming up: pictures of my old, boring shoes, as well as my comfortable flats and loafers, summer sandals, my “weekend shoes” (that I’m not totally happy with right now). And boots, which should not be worn in summer!

*Toddlers and shoes are discussed in Your Two Year Old: Tender or Terrible, by Louise Bates Ames & and Frances Ilg. These books are the gold standard in explaining phases of early childhood development (their “advice” can be dated and weird but the underlying research is reliable). It’s so reassuring to see that my kids freakish behavior is developmentally normal. Once I remember that, it’s easier for me to empathize and develop age-appropriate expectations and discipline tools.

**The Cinderella story has been repeated through cultures and over the centuries, but it is almost always about a shoe: in Strato’s Rhodopis, 1st c. B.C. it is a sandal; Ye Xian, China 860 AD it is a slipper.

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