Why is it that some women manage to live their lives out of a teeny-tiny clutch bag – and never have to ask strangers for a pen – while others carry around enormous suitcase-like structures into which they pile everything including the kitchen sink? Is there a psychological message to be gleaned from the appearance, size and structure of one’s handbag (not to mention what one puts in it), or is it just a matter of taste?
Ashley, love, that Birkin’s bigger than you are – via Purseblog
I got an interesting reader query sent to me a few weeks ago, from a woman who wanted a leather handbag that would withstand all of the trials and tribulations of her modern life. “It needs to fit my wallet, iPad, make-up bag, BlackBerry, book, notepad,” she began, and my heart withered and died. The poor leather handbag! What a tough, tiring life it was set to lead! (I think that, really, what she needed was a Birkin (like Ashley’s, above) – but without the €12,000-plus price tag!)
The oversized bag
I’m an oversized bag woman myself, I have to admit. I like to take my Filofax, notebook (why these two things couldn’t be combined is beyond me – but I can’t write notes in that tiny little thing and the ring binder part gets in my way), wallet (which is also massive, full of receipts and loyalty cards for burrito places I have frequented once but may just go back to), a lipstick or four (there is no rationalising this), lip balm, a packet of tissues (in case I find myself bawling at Les Mis or, equally likely, at a tiny adorable baby on the Luas), a packet of safety pins which I can never find, a hand mirror, an eyeliner, my keys and my headphones. My bag looks like this:
So what do I think this says about me? Well, I’m a bit of a control freak who hates the idea of finding myself without something. But how will I plan without my Filofax? What if I have a sniffle? What if I suddenly feel like a red rather than a pink lip? Organisation is a part of my job (halloooooo, what if I see an amazing skirt and then can’t remember where I saw it?) and I don’t have any major problems with my back or shoulders. Yet. I probably don’t work in a very corporate environment (and if I do, my boss doesn’t like me much).
Friends say: You’re a born organiser, but you somehow manage not to be very organised. You love writing lists, which you then lose, and you’re always late (if you’re not cancelling because you’ve double booked). You can never find your Filofax.
The structured-yet-roomy handbag
This handbag is probably – and I mean probably, nothing is guaranteed – big enough to fit an iPad, but you only use it for such in case of emergency. You stash almost all of your essentials in here: your small wallet, one lipstick, a hand mirror and a pair of gloves in case it gets cold. Unlike Ms oversized bag, above, who thinks she’s organised, you actually are organised. You’re rarely caught short, and if you need a tissue you’ll wait until you find a ladies’ room and get one then.
On the rare occasion that you need to bring anything larger – a laptop, pair of shoes or change of clothes – with you, to work, say, you’ll carry a tote bag alongside your handbag. Your bag is rarely overstuffed, and you have never broken a strap, or even a zipper.
Friends say: You’re the one they’d call if they had a crisis at work or an STI, because you’re cool in a crisis and infinitely reliable. They wouldn’t, however, call you after a one-night stand or sex with the ex, because you can be judgmental and a little too cool in a crisis. You’re always asking for tissues.
The teeny-tiny clutch bag
This is the type of bag that serves little or no function, save being a fairly elaborate phone cover. If you can fit your phone inside with your €50 note, it’s a good day, and if you can manage to cram in a lipstick, too, it’s some kind of miracle. You’re the kind of girl who always needs to go to the cloakroom, except on those nights you come out without a coat and wind up borrowing one from the guy next to you on the bench outside who just ends up asking for your number and falling madly in love with you within a week.
You’re a loyal and loving friend, but you’re really flaky and disorganised and entirely unable to hold down a job. It doesn’t matter, anyway, because you’re still finding yourself and not entirely sure that working in an accountancy firm / nail bar / theatre is for you.
Friends say: You’re fun and carefree, and always the one to plan going on holiday with or to a festival, but you absolutely can not be relied to bring anything, including toilet roll. You’re always late (if you show up at all) and you never brush your hair.
So what about it – do you recognise yourself in any of our three handbag categories? Or, better yet, recognise any of your mates? (And does anyone else think it’s interesting that all women can now be categorised by which Girls character they’d be?)