Monday, July 18, 2011

Bag it.

I didn't know designer handbags were a thing until college when my roommate's mom was loopy for Dooney & Bourke purses. Then I thought maybe it was a rich suburban mom thing.

I found out that everyone my age was into the designer bag when I started teaching in California. Their poison was Coach. When I first saw the Coach logo purses, I was like "Meh."

And then suddenly I was like, "Ooh, I want one."

And that is why I don't buy expensive purses. I'm slightly obsessed and wished I owned one, but I don't know if it's because I genuinely like them and think they're cute or if it's because all my friends have them. And I haven't been able to figure it out for at least seven or so years.

I guess there's also the thing where I won't buy one because I usually have other things to do with $300 at any given moment. Like buy three pairs of shoes.

I owned a Coach purse once. It was a gift from my sister-in-law. I loved it. And then Grant smote it with my MAC Viva Glam V lipstick and now it's beyond repair. It's the primary reason I won't be paying for his college tuition.

Anyway, I think my conscience would bother me if I spent a bunch of money for a purse because most of the time when I see a really cute purse in the $200-300 range, I can find a really similar one at Target for oh, say . . . $20. So every time I have an impulse to buy a Coach purse (and I have it often), I think, "You should go write that check to Japanese disaster relief."

And I don't, but I also don't buy the purse.

But now I own an expensive purse. Want to see?

Kenny and I stumbled across this cool little design gallery on a meander through Laguna Beach last month. I liked the bag, but I was like, "That's too expensive." It was somewhere around $100. But then this lady came in, the one who sells them to the gallery, and she was bringing more in to sell. And I got the inside scoop. The bags are made by women in South Africa as a path out of poverty. They're constructed out of repurposed tires and old license plates and there are a few different silhouettes. You can check them out here if you want. (They're a better deal on the website than what I paid retail, btw.)

And I have to thank the purveyors of fair trade goods and microfinanced trinkets and lovelies so that I can own completely cute useless things AND make the world a better place at the same time.

It's like I'm a better person every time I whip out my credit card.


15 comments:

Becca said...

Oh, yes. please. Big fan of the microfinance opportunities. And if it comes with cuteness, so much the better.

Kristina P. said...

I buy my designer bags on eBay or at a consignment store. Then I don't have to feel so guilty for supporting my snobbiness.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Wow. Cool purse and a great cause. Thanks for letting us know.

Stephanie Black said...

I'd rather have money inside the purse than an expensive purse :)

That's awesome about your bag from South Africa!

Chantele Sedgwick said...

Cute purse! :) I love supporting good causes. It makes me feel so much better about buying things. And double bonus that it was a CUTE thing!

Barbaloot said...

I dislike purses---they are a necessary evil and I don't care what mine look like. I have a pretend coach bag that I bought from China---cuz it's the perfect size for all I need.

Melinda said...

My sister in law and mother in law are both obsessed with designer purses, I think its sick. They have like close to 10 EACH. Do you know how much money that is?!?! Its all about status and thats just sort of gross to me. And guess what? My $15 purse is far cuter than theirs and it serves the same function. Bah. Sorry, I feel strongly about this. :)

Charlotte said...

I LOVE IT!!!

Karen Peterson said...

I have to admit, I love Dooney and Burke and adore the one I got for my birthday last year. Like you, I can't justify spending $300 on a purse just cuz...but if it goes with a good cause...

Wonder Woman said...

So, so, SO cool that you got a cute purse and the money goes to someone who really needs it. I love purses, though I can't stand to spend more than $20 on a bag. I spent about $40 on my last bag because I adore it and I needed some retail therapy.

Brittany said...

Okay, I could have written this post (except the part where you haven't bought a Coach purse because I succombed). My Texan roommate--who, btw, is the reason I still hate Texas--was gaga for Dooney & Burke. And fake BYU sororities. Because of her I will never own a Dooney & Burke purse. Or join a sorority. But I would love to buy a cute micorfinance purse. Also, Kiva.org is a good place to go if you'd like to sponsor a micro loan.

myimaginaryblog said...

I shop for bags at TJMaxx and I always fall in love with the most expensive one there, and I know it's not (just) snobbery, because I'm already sold before I see the price tag. So it has to be good taste, right? Then sometimes I buy that one and ask Dean to give it to me for Christmas or Mother's Day. The most recent time I felt a little lame about its price and was going to take it back even though it was my Mother's Day gift. But I waited too long and can't return it--shucks. :)

I never even carried a purse until I was in my late 20s (before that I used a book bag or a diaper bag) but now I'm hooked. I guess it's like shoes--you don't have to be a certain size to find a pretty one that "fits."

On the other hand, the really, really high-end designer bags--the ones that cost tens of thousands--make me wonder what you carry in one of those. A ten-thousand-dollar lipstick?

myimaginaryblog said...

I'm just catching up past posts and wanted to say I'm right there with you about Grease and Glee. I would never have seen Grease as a kid if I hadn't watched it at a sleepover that was a Young Women's--or maybe even a Primary--activity. If you can imagine. I was probably only 12, but I picked up on the immorality of the overall message of the show, and was also enough of a geek to comment on it. And my friends looked at me like I had three heads. Sigh. (And yes, I like the music, too--at least some of it. But would not put it on unattended for a roomful of tweens.)

Kazzy said...

I am a pursaholic. I fully admit it. I would have paid $100 for that one! The other day I was at a boutique in NC where they sell creations from local artists, and they were selling bags made from old albums. The front was the album cover and the back was the vinyl. Seriously cool.

Lara said...

Very cool! I just saw one similar that my friend was carrying...also made of an old license plate, but it was rolled into a circle. I coveted.

I'm glad you bought that one!