Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hell in a Handbag

I loved that what's in your handbag meme I saw going around a few weeks ago... While I do want to believe the majority of tagees simply carry gum, cell phones, compact arts and crafts projects, PDAs, keys and lipbalm, I'd like to know where they're stashing the tampons, unpaid bills (still in half-opened envelope), umbrellas, full-on mountains of makeup, tubes of handcream, and mushed up muffin leftovers in a greasy napkin. Honestly, is that just me?

I like to call myself a minimalist and, if you saw my colour-coded closet, you might agree. But the handbag is the last frontier of the tchotchke, the thing containing the thing you might need at any moment, the portable analog of that crap-drawer you have in your office that you're constantly throwing stuff into and pulling stuff out of 'cuz you need it. Really.

Having apprised you of my bag-as-container philosophy, I should give you a head's up about how I feel about the bag as status object. In short, I think every woman should follow her heart's desire in accordance with her budget, but I'm not into spending 3 grand on a patch of leather with a logo. For me, the fun is in the find and in the relative uniqueness of my purchase.

Bags are a super way to approach vintage, for example, if you're not quite sure about how you feel about reusing old stuff. When well-preserved, leather is very durable and it ages beautifully. And, in truth, if you're set on that Chanel quiltie, you're going to find it for half a fortune on consignment. Also, the likelihood that anyone's going to have your specific snake clutch or patchwork hobo circa 1972 is slim. Which makes it that much more undefinably chic.
Soon, I'll do a post of my own purse collection. Till then, I thought I'd show a few bags (or affordable brands) I enjoy.

For the Stylish Vegan In You

I really like Matt & Nat, a brand out of Montreal that's readily available in TO. The shapes are lovely, the pleather frequently indistinguishable from leather. My mother raves about the M&N bag we bought for her on a recent visit, which gets loads of compliments in Charlotte, where she lives.

The blueberry Japanese Paper bag (bottom) is the one my mother owns...

Roots used to have better design, but the leather is quality

Banana Republic does very nice lady bags - with room for all the crap

M0851 is not inexpensive - but it's phenomenally gorgeous


  1. I've been a little cranky about bags on my blog, but I do love a good, strong shape. And oh my--don't forget about extra diapers--my bag has to have room for those now that I refuse to carry anything resembling a baby bag!

  2. Hehehe! Yes, when I did that tag I conveniently left out the cigarrette lighter, tobacco crumbs, crumpled check out slips, sundry coins, candy wrappers etc

  3. Man, I remember the diaper bag days! Gotta say I am happy to be on the flipside of potty training :-) How old are your kids, Miss C?

  4. Bronwyn: Thank you for your honesty! Of course, if I'd been tagged I would have done exactly the same thing :-)

  5. If there's a vegan in me, won't that make me not vegan?

  6. My lad is two, the girls are five and eight. I plan to get to his potty training in the summer, when I have uninterrupted days!

  7. WendyB - LOL!

    Miss C - Wow, you have your hands full. I'm really impressed that you manage to teach, run a household, parent and write a blog. I have just one daughter and I often feel at the edge...

  8. Wow, Matt & Nat, I could get into that!

    I like the idea of japanese paper.

  9. I wasn't too crazy about the Matt&Nat designs, though I love the fact that they use non-animal products to make their bags.

    But I have to admit that the turquoise bag IS pretty darn cute.

  10. I love the pink bag, I think it is a really interesting colour for a bag

  11. Dahlia: I do appreciate that Matt & Nat makes it possible to fashionably avoid leather, for the modern vegetarian gal. Do you see the brand everywhere in Mtl?

    Coco: I know, the pink really caught my eye. I think it would look gorgeous against brown!

  12. I've seen them in Style Exchange stores, and in tons of magazines, but as far as boutiques goes, not as many.

  13. in my defense, i would like to say that i did not post gum (which i do not chew), a cell phone (which was nearly a given in this day and age - and therefore undescriptive about me), craft projects, a PDA or keys (another blah given). i DID post my lip balm, which is a major obsession of mine, but i also shared my tube of handcream...not to mention my big honker of a calculator!

    so there.

    and thanks for the bag selection :) i will keep roots and M0851 on my radar.

  14. OK - Lipbalm is a totally reasonable bag item. I'm so addicted to mine, I freak out if I go out without my bag and forget to put it in my pocket!

    M0851 is truly a find. (I did an earlier post on it here They have them in Asia, Europe and the US - although it is a Canadian company originally. And they do the bags online. Thing is, I like to hit their sales a couple of times a year when the prices are slashed. That's how I afford it. K

  15. "I'm not into spending 3 grand on a patch of leather with a logo" Right On!! Re: your first paragraph I am so glad the days of the pochette are over.