I ponder over often on who looks better – the bag or the owner? Beautiful bags, stylishly slung over sexy arms, all clad on a woman proudly sashaying into a party, swaying through the glassy malls or just sitting precious pretty. Often, I wonder whether it is the bag or the owner that makes the grand entrance – first, that is. Does the bag often seem to make an announcement of its owner? I am yet to figure that out.
I remember as a little kid my mother’s unshakeable infatuation with her bag. She had one bag, a rather large cavernous one of some sort of leather with many pouches, both hidden and obvious, with zippers, buttons and hanging flaps. It housed a water bottle, a pack of Parle Gluco biscuits, Band-Aids, bobby pins, safety pins, handkerchiefs and what seemed like just about everything one could possibly need in the world. Evolution true to its nature evidenced itself on her daughter, me. My possession as a teen included among other humble things, three bags. One that was so roomy that it should have warranted its own zip code and which also faithfully accompanied me daily to school, holding the many stout books, pencil box, calculator and other academic material. The bag also fitted in a modest lunch, an even meager makeup kit that had no makeup but for a white handkerchief with a delicately hand-embroidered little rose at its scalloped corner, a lip balm, and perhaps a Band-Aid. Its younger sibling, a rectangular leather clutch cozily rested mostly at home, to be served exclusively as a fashion statement when properly clutched under your arm, begetting its name. It seldom found its lucky way out of my closet depending on my woefully sparse social engagements.
The other sibling being my very own bling little friend – a sac with so many glittering stones that often confused a camera flash, and never failed to catch a few gawks in the even more rare occasional wedding party; pretty but nevertheless was of no use whatsoever. If I did have the luck to actually be able to open the poorly designed clasp, it could not even hold a cigarette pack, which was useless since I had no idea how to even hold a cigarette let alone smoke it. However, I have to admit, despite its shortcomings, my bling companion did offer me more than often than I could imagine, my own tiny glitzy moments of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. The proclamation that time does not wait for anyone proved true, as my containment companions also estranged me one by one, due to sheer age and use. As life sailed on, so did I, with a disposable income came upon an opportunity to afford my first bag – a designer one, a Coach, nonetheless. The tides of years troughed and tided and my collection of bags have continued to reproduce like a fine breed of litter.
Does size matter? A timeless question of quite a practical nature even when it relates to bags; the answer is in a resounding affirmative. Large bags that can hold a laptop, albeit in its supine position, along with a wallet, a makeup kit and anything else a feminine human desires is inevitably a girl’s best companion. It reflects the compassion of the owner towards the multiple necessities of life and the readiness to accept them all, regardless of space and time. Often, I have had a friend refer to me as a reliable travel companion because I own a large bag, which houses everything one needs on a trip. This is not to imply that smaller sizes are any inferior – in quality, that is. Smaller bags, or the “bag-ettes” (not to be mistaken for the delectable French breads) claim my next spot, being able to hold important items, just not the whole world. A properly designed bag-ette serves its purpose if it is able to hold a small wallet, a lipstick and a powder compact (in lieu of a makeup kit), made of fine material and most often than not a shoulder strap, which is waiting to embrace the owner.
Love may be color-blind, but most definitely bags are not. Color-blindness is nonexistent in the universe of bags and bag-ettes, with every color known to human kind and combinations thereof. Despite the legendary Coco Chanel’s vehement fashionistic opposition to hold colors hostage to seasons, twenty first century still continues to ignore her. Summer time beckons all the light colored and especially the white bags. The brighter colors pop out of the closets during fall and spring. The somber black and gray bags crawl out into the cold seasons to merrily join the flurries and the snow.
Do bags define the owners? One only has to peek into the retail universe of bags – defined by logos and patterns. Etiquette dictates that a bag be only glanced at, ever so discreetly at the logo that pronounces its lineage. The hierarchy of bags and their brands are as complex as the ancient Roman or Mogul empires – with entire countries in competition.
HERMÈS, starring in many a Hollywood scene, reigns royally with a crown of an unmistakable whole-heartedly French accent paired with a logo of a tail-coated, top-hatted human and his horse carriage. With a price tag that often may even compete with a luxury car or perhaps an apartment, may well be the spot that bags and their owners would wish for in the status heaven. In close proximity is the Bottega-Veneta with an unmistakable weave claiming audaciously of a sufficiency of your own initials. Chanel not being far behind steps in with its logo of copulating “C”s winking for your attention to their cross-stitched bags with chains eagerly waiting to entwine your shoulders. In succession is a whole slew of other brands to name but a few in the parade – Prada epitomizing the evil of the fashion world, Louis Vuitton with its distinguishable colors and designs, Fendi with its upside down letter F beseeching to be straightened up, Burberry with its English plaid proudly announcing themselves – British, Italians and French all in contest to win the hearts and wallets for the top spot? In addition, not ignoring the other assorted brands that not so quietly streak the malls of America patiently waiting for their rightful space in a closet of their own mistress.
And there is us – the “Bag-vatis” – the women that define, crave, stash and swagger with bags of our choice. Is there is a compromise when it comes to the subject of bags? A friend of mine recently downed her nose at an offer to a rejuvenating weekend at a spa and traded it in for yet another bag of her choice. I am in awe of some of my co-denizens that own enough bags to last an entire year without having to repeat its usage. If the universal proportionality property holds, I can only imagine what their shoes, clothes and their closets look like! Without us Bag-vatis, what would this unimaginable drab and joyless world offer perhaps sacs that are indiscriminate of color, size and logo with a sole function of holding its contents? The economies of the prime powers of the world would be unthinkable, the conversations at social gatherings – insipid, and retail trips to the malls over the weekends – untherapeutic, useless, incomplete and most certainly undesirable. How can I not re-quote the ubiquitous “You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy handbags. That’s pretty much the same thing!”
With a whole bagful of cheers to a new 2018!