How Do Women Select a Good Handbag?

Once again we turn to our friend Ellee for some guidance on how women identify and select a good handbag for themselves and/or as gifts for other women, knowing that purses are an important part of her accessory wardrobe and she has admittedly spent years of consumptive research in her quest for the perfect purse.

Ellee’s handbag history runs something like the following, which we presume represents good market research on the subject or purses:

o First purse she remembers was a little multi-colored drawstring that matched her mom’s when she was in first grade.

o She traded the little drawstring to her best friend in second grade for a hot pink clutch with white beaded flowers.

o However, it wasn’t long before another charming purse caught her eye. Only problem was she never could convince her other best friend that the hot pink beaded clutch was worth the friend’s shoulder strap with the alligator head on it. Nor could she convince my parents to buy her one of those. “My mom said it was too expensive. My dad said it wasn’t nice to kill little animals and paste their heads on purses,” Elle says.

o The little pink beaded clutch had to suffice until a new aunt tried to win her approval by passing along a little black satiny bag Ellee had admired with a detachable shoulder strap. Its blended smells of her aunt’s cosmetics made her realize for the first time that a purse could smell like something besides chewing gum. Her mother’s purse always smelled like spearmint gum. Her grandma’s pocketbook (Grandma’s term for her only handbag-a black patent leather beauty) smelled like juicy fruit gum. She didn’t carry the perfumed one to school for very long. Someone told her it looked too grown up for a little girl.

o One day in high school a girl two grades up from her appeared with a huge black bag. Did she ever start a fad! Peer pressure mandated that Ellee put one like that on her Christmas strap

o She downsized for her senior prom, however, and carried the traditional little bag with pearl beads.

o When she got married, she picked out a pink patent leather purse with matching shoes for her honeymoon to the Bahamas.

o As an adult, her first and only radio talk show appearance was the excuse she needed to spend $180 on a purse that proved to be way too heavy but made her appreciate the smell of leather. It made quite an impression on the host, who complimented it.

o The dye rubbed off her next best find, but she converted it to a travel kit because of its three compartments and handles.

o Her in-laws brought a fur purse with a doll in a papoose pouch on it from Alaska, but it sort of defied that killing-little-animals-thing-to-make-a-purse that her dad taught her.

o They also brought her a beaded beauty from Africa that is much more suited to displaying than carrying.

o She has a macrame’ artifact from the ’70s, inherited a hand-crocheted bag from her husband’s grandmother (functions as a fine decoration on my bathroom wall), and has one a friend’s mother knitted for her-complete with matching hat.

o The crown jewel of her collection may just be a replica of the Pony Express mail bag. She cut its picture from a catalog and kept it in her wish file for a couple of years before she gave in and spent the most she’s ever spent on a purse (more than $300 including shipping and handling). Only problem is the mail bag is heavy so she doesn’t use it.

o She has used canvas toolbags she guys at hardware stores for purses.

With this market research in the (hand)bag, we’ll be shopping the world in our quest to find another appealing product line of purses.



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