Tuesday, September 25, 2012

How to Choose A Handbag

It's fall and you know what that means: all the new handbags are out.

If you're like me, the choices can be overwhelming. Tote or shoulder? Clutch or mini with cross-body strap?  And what size -- small? Medium? Back-breaking? And what fabric -- Leather? Sequins? Embroidered?

(Just for the moment, let's overlook the fact that I have way too many handbags as it is, and that these musings are mostly conjecture because... well gosh darn it, a girl likes to dream.)

All of the aforementioned factors are important but as William Morris said (and I paraphrase), "Something needs to be useful as well as beautiful." 

Below, a few ways to solve this time-honored conundrum.

* * * * *

You need something sturdy with a low-key vibe that won't make people think you're carrying a lot of valuables.
(John Collet, "Bachelor's Fare", 1778.)

(Jérome Dreyfuss Carlos woven leather tote, $1815. Here.)

You need something feminine and soft that you can tuck behind you for those occasions when you need a little extra lumbar support.
(Isaac Cruikshank, "A Luncheon at Gibside", 1792.)


(Miu Miu matelasse leather clutch, $570. Here.)

You need something that can double as a form of self-defense should the party get too crazy.
(George Cruikshank, "Inconveniences of a Crowded Drawing Room", 1818.)

(Alexander McQueen Knuckle Swarovski box clutch, $2195. Here.)

You need something that conveys a secret message to the family steward while your husband is busy being Mr. Mom.
(Artist unknown, "Husbands Holyday", 1778.)


 (Charlotte Olympia Baboushka embroidered clutch, $595. Here.)

You need something you can hold in your hand so it won't mess up the incredibly flattering line of your dress.
(George Cruikshank, "Monstrosities", 1818.) 

(Yve Saint Laurent Belle du Jour clutch, $595. Here.)

You need something you can hug to keep you warm so your husband will stop offering you that godawful flannel cloak of his.
(Isaac Cruikshank, "A Hint to the Ladies, 1807.)


(Stella McCartney alpaca and silk-blend Falabella bag, $1725. Here.)

You need something that can double as an overnight bag should dinner turn into (ahem) something more. 
(Isaac Cruikshank, "Oh! Che Boccone!", 1795) 


(Paul Smith Globe 2 Burgundy Swirl handbag, $639.20. Here.)

What handbag are you drooling over?


pve design said...

Clever you....Oh, yes, a new season, does deserve a new bag and I am in love with the Gucci tote with the tassel.

Sue said...

Oh, these bags are so lovely.The Paul Smith one looks especially desirable.Have you seen Susannah Hunter's bags, at all? (And all of her other beautiful objects, especially the church hall chairs)They are all so gorgeous I could stare at them forever without being able to decide.Sue

Nadia said...

Love this post! I'm a huge handbag whore - always buying a new one and switching out my old ones. I'm addicted! I loved the Miu Miu clutch and the Paul Smith - they are amazing!

helen tilston said...

Hello Lisa

I love your post and the images to go with the handbags, you have such incredible imagination. Purse buying is a very serious matter.


lisa walsh | allied ASID said...

Great post! I'm a bag lady, too! I just ordered a large Valextra Isis handbag when I was on holiday in Milan! The exchange rate is great right now, so it's like being on sale! It should arrive right before Christmas :-)

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

You nailed it.
My weakness beyond all others.
Autumn handbags.
Bottega Veneta woven leather.....

kstyle said...

Such a creative and well done post. LOL I am still hanging on to the summer bubblegum pink Dooney and Bourke purse that pretty much dictated every outfit I wore this summer. Definitely time to move on. Thanks for the nudge.

columnist said...

I'm not a bag carrier, and never see the manbag thing, but this is a clever clever post! I love your comparisons of C18th cartoons with C21st handbags. You should write a book.

Oh, yes that's right. You are!

Mrs. Blandings said...

Most excellent - incredibly clever (and helpful.)

MrsLittleJeans said...

I had to laugh reading this...all these assorted reasons...I will be looking at my handbags differently now : )

Veronica Roth said...

Oooo, wonderful collection! I favour the large if-the-evening-turns-into-something-more-ahem bag, but my whole heart goes out to the YSL symbol and I can't help it. Probably something from a time when the whole YSL Rive Gauche collection was so romantic and dreams of Paris etc...

Notes From ABroad said...

I am a bag lady from way back and while I have bags similar to these, I want these too !
I have a nice collection of clutches, it will be weird after carrying these honkin' big bags for the past year or so.
I guess maybe I should take myself bag shopping this weekend :)
I really want something like the Miu Miu .
besitos, C

ArchitectDesign™ said...

love ANYTHING Paul Smith does -adore that purse!

24 Corners said...

I'm actually drooling (and smiling)over the fantastic little bits of Georgian artwork you've displayed here, they're wonderful! The one of the crazy drawing room party made me realize (for the first time) that many a ladies lovely dresses were probably shredded to bits by 'gentlemen' behaving in an un-gentleman like manner and not paying attention to where their fancy slipper clad feet were trodding!
As for the bags, I love the first one (JDC)...it would be like carrying around a bit of Scotland!
Fun post...as usual!
xo J~

Jamie Herzlinger said...

Great post! Some of my favorite designers...and what an interesting way to present! thanks for sharing


Jamie Herzlinger

Share my Garden said...

This post has made me laugh - at myself! I'm always looking for a handbag to fulfill these briefs and, needless to say, it is too big an ask. (I've just bought a new bag for autumn, tan, shoulder, practical. Should keep me happy for a little while.)

Terra said...

Hmm, maybe I will buy me a new purse this fall. I like the photos and captions you share here.

Tina said...

If only someone could manufacture Hermione Granger's magical handbag - it's as small as a clutch, but can hold a full size tent, along with spare clothes and books! I need one of those....

Tina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

The Swarm ones - most easily available from Anthro - tote or clutch, made out of repurposed oil paintings.

Surely I need more than one?

Coulda shoulda woulda said...

Hermes double sens, bc the bargain hunter in me likes the fact it is reversible.

Unknown said...

I like the red style.


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