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it’s all in the bag, darling.

7 May 2009

Nate: Why do women have so many bags? You have one. You put all your junk in it, and that’s it. You’re done.

Doug: Fashion is not about utility. An accessory is merely a piece of iconography used to express individual identity.

Amen. And yet there are still some who think me to be simply searching for some sort of justification for my predisposition for handbags. An unhealthy predisposition. Also known as an  o b s e s s i o n  for the frank. But my love for bags do extend beyond the materialistic reasonings – yes, I do love “pretty” [upon seeing the new Marc Jacobs bag, Lily squeals: “And it’s so prettyyyyyyy!”] things, but this obsession is also interlaced with an appreciation for bags. I believe the handbag to be an iconic symbol of independence and individuality for the woman. 

Giovanna Battaglia's custom Roger Vivier handbag. (image source: jak & jil blog)

Giovanna Battaglia's custom Roger Vivier handbag. I would love one. (image source: jak & jil blog)

Of course you and I can go on about the actual history of it; how it was only men who carried variations of bags, then developed into a perfectly-coordinated-with-the-outfit accessory, then became un-matching in the early 1920s, etc. I shall leave dearest Wikipedia to explain that. My personal interpretation of the handbag’s historical story may perhaps err with the actual background of the handbag, but I see the development of the handbag as a lessoning of dependency on her husband; the 1920s were indeed a period of social and cultural change, where the woman grew bolder and embraced a bit of androgyny in her apparel. It was when the handbag no longer held the single purpose of being an accessory; it was a different way she could express herself.  The purse then held her necessities out of practicality – the lipstick, the mirror, cash, the credit cards. Eventually the larger, grander bags showed off the woman’s ability to provide for herself – she had more possessions of her own, and had her own work to tote around. 

And it is quite easy to tell who a woman is by the bag she carries. A fringed, suede hobo, possibly vintage, is the sign of a carefree woman. The one who carries a black, Porosus Birkin is one who means business (or simply has a lot of moo-lah to spare). A leather bag for the practical woman, canvas for the girl gone green. Et cetera

I stop myself here; my fingers have a mind of their own, typing whatever the brain thinks. Thank goodness I have some control over what I say. Onward and forthward: I received an email from a lovely reader. Whose question, I’ve decided, is my favorite of all fashion inquiries. Then again, I am biased, as I am a baglady.

Dear La Couturier,
First I wanted to say how much I LOVE your blog. I read it everyday :). I was wondering what you think are somethings that every girl should have with them, at all times, in their bag?

Prepare yourselves, darling! I am one who lives for oversized bags; the bigger, the better!


The Balenciaga City, in a gorgeous  e g g p l a n t  purple.

Yes, I dream of it. I do love my black one, but this shade is just dreamy.

The Essentials.

heart5 A wallet. Duh. As expected, large wallets are necessary for me, especially with my ever-growing collection of gift cards (and the likes). But since I love my vintage Gucci oh-so-much (bestowed upon me my dearest mother), I’ve invested in those clear booklet additions for my wallet (a good investment for $1!).

heart5 A coin purse. Tiny is all you need to hold loose change. Easy to find & locate that four cents you need for exact change. And it prevents any dirty-ing or over-stretching of an expensive wallet.

heart5 Pens. I prefer black, ballpoint pens. I always have two with me, just in case I should have a sudden revelation of inspiration, or have this need to jot any notes down. I also happen to carry with me a black (and silver) Sharpies: thin & fine. For what reason? Je ne sais pas. But they did come in handy in London when I went backstage to get the  g o r g e o u s  Fiyero to sign my Wicked playbook.

heart5 Post-it notes. Another addiction of mine. Adorably cubicle, lightweight, and easy to jot impromptu shopping lists or inspiration down.

heart5 The cellular device. My Parisian alter ego carries the gold Blackberry Curve. I carry a simple black one.

heart5 The iPod, or MP3 of choice. Also known as my life. It provides a haven and a source of entertainment for commutes on public transportation. The perfect way to avoid eavesdropping on gossip too juicy for your taste, or listening to any sort of crazy music that drives you insane.

heart5 Camera. To snap a photo of any passing fabulous persons, famous, or not. No moment should be left un-captured!


Personal opinions, again. I love the Gucci pouch; mine's a lovely reddish-pink color (I couldn't find the exact color/shape anywhere online), gifted from an aunt (I have many). It is the perfect size & shape!

heart5 A lovely cosmetic pouch. I absolutely love mine; it holds everything I need whilst allowing for organization to preside in my large bag. The basics: mirror / chapstick or lipbalm / concealer / lipgloss(es) / lipstick(s) / band-aids / hair clips / hair elastics. For the avid make-up wearers, perhaps include for touch-ups: eye shadow / foundation / mascara / eyeliner. If you should really want to go above and beyond, you could attempt to fit in a mini-version of your favorite perfume, a brush, tweezers, hairspray (I did carry this at one point) etc. 

And if your bag truly is oversized…

heart5 A book. The Tipping Point, by Malcom Gladwell, currently resides in the shadowy depths of my bag. I told you I love this philosophical stuff.

heart5 A little baggie of snacks. To rejuvenate energy for those day-long shopping trips. I usually have a custom-blended trail mix concoction of almonds and mini M&Ms. (Read: I pick out the raisins & peanuts.)

heart5 A water bottle. Dehydration means headaches and cracked lips. Not at all attractive. 


La C.

P.S.: Calling all MOXSIE lovers! =] For those of you (well, the majority of you) who were considering purchasing from Moxsie, I bring you good news, darlings! Julia has given a rather generous discount code of 20% off your entire purchase, valid up until May 11, 2009. Shop, shop, shop! The code: LACOUTURIER20

42 Comments leave one →
  1. 7 May 2009 8:04 am

    Ha! J’adore the first one. Roger Vivier! YUMMY!


  2. 7 May 2009 8:15 am

    I bring so many things in my bag that sometimes I find nice surprises… such as 3-month-old cinema tickets, earrings (I always put jewelry in my bag and wear it on my way to class/appointments, in order to save time), notes…. =)

  3. 7 May 2009 8:41 am

    Wonderful post. Every girl needs this info.

  4. 7 May 2009 8:44 am

    love the Giovanna bag!!xoxo

  5. 7 May 2009 8:46 am

    I used to believe the smaller the bag the better, but I’ve started getting used to purses that I can at least put a book into. Before they just had to be able to hold my wallet, a lippy and a cell phone. Now they hold much more 🙂

  6. 7 May 2009 9:14 am

    I totally agree with your post, huge bags are the best. I am in love with my YSL Tribute Tote, big enough for everything I need, yet sleek and chic at the same time!

  7. 7 May 2009 9:14 am

    I really love your blog ; very inspiring ; so just to say that i all visit your world 😉
    a bientot !

  8. 7 May 2009 9:21 am

    I love this guide, it is the perfect list of what a girl would and should have in her bag! I never carry small bags, since a book is a must and I love that book you recommended! (Also that book happens to be quite the carry-around size ;))

  9. 7 May 2009 9:30 am

    Ooh! No way! Just got home from a friend’s b’day (big band jazz night, was great!), and used my Balenciaga City in Indigo, so funny to see the eggplant above 🙂 I’m a huge fan of oversized bags too, and carry most of the above, including a 1.5L bottle of water…

  10. thebaglady permalink
    7 May 2009 9:36 am

    These posts are too cute! =]

    I’m at work now, and supposed to be working on my assignments. Which proves how addicting your blog is.

    I always love your “ramblings” on your philosophy, beliefs, and interpretations of things. You’re definitely one of the only bloggers I know who love fashion for more than pretty things (love the updated about me). Your love for history & philosophy shines through! Stylish, wise, & intelligent.

    Wowza you’re a triple threat!

  11. 7 May 2009 9:53 am

    I shove so much stuff in my bag that I always need to empty and sort through it! pens are essential though, who knows when you’ll need one?

  12. 7 May 2009 9:56 am

    amen indeed!
    yes i love the over sized bag. i carry all of those! plus some mints.
    lovelovelove your blog here.

  13. 7 May 2009 10:05 am

    i’m so a baglady too – i’ll quote until death tear us part!

  14. 7 May 2009 10:48 am

    It is a very nice post. Every girl should read this. I love big bags. The Balenciaga bag is a dream.

  15. 7 May 2009 10:55 am

    Amen C!
    I´m a baglady as well 🙂

    Great post!!

  16. 7 May 2009 11:08 am

    Looooove the Balenciaga! And I agree with you on all the necessary contents EXCEPT the pen – too much risk of ruining the bag… I once heard someone say, if it’s really that important, someone else will have a pen 🙂

    Fab post, darling!


    • 7 May 2009 11:41 am

      Couture Carrie: Ah, so true! I’m quite paranoid about that as well, so I put them in a cheap little pouch or plastic baggie, just in case ;]

  17. 7 May 2009 11:31 am

    If i were a bag, I’d like to be a Balenciaga lol… I have the same thing in my bag except for the sharpies. I should probably start carrying one just in case like you, I need to get someone’s autograph =). Love this post!!!!

  18. 7 May 2009 11:55 am

    Hi there-fabulous post my dear, I too love a bag, be it leather or canvas and I have a good selection to choose from too, LOL!

  19. thebaglady permalink
    7 May 2009 12:00 pm

    Oh & thank you for the code!! I will definitely be browsing Moxsie later this weekend!

  20. 7 May 2009 12:02 pm

    I just adore the Balenciaga bag! It will probably become one of the “classics” in a few years! 🙂

  21. 7 May 2009 12:17 pm

    thats not me. thats krystal simpson- the lovely girl from the rolling stones tvshow & quiksilver…she’s such a doll

  22. kristine permalink
    7 May 2009 12:20 pm

    thanks for the code!! time to borrow the parents’ credit card…. =]

    this post is soo cute! i think i’m printing this out. it’ll be my checklist! hahah

  23. 7 May 2009 12:22 pm

    for some reason I haven’t commented on your blog for ages, bad me.
    drooling over all the bags!

  24. 7 May 2009 12:33 pm

    very creative post, loved reading every word of it!
    btw, where did the first quote came from?

  25. 7 May 2009 12:46 pm

    absolutely! the bigger the better! i carry everything with me 🙂

  26. 7 May 2009 1:07 pm

    I totally agree with all the things on your necessity list! I also like to sometimes stuff in a light scarf for those in-between days, or even a light cardigan. People may make fun of me for toting around such a huge bag, but I don’t know how they manage to go around without anything!

  27. 7 May 2009 1:10 pm

    i love that balenciaga bag! i want it so badly. i really need to find a well made, fairly large bag to invest in. i just want to make sure that i find the right one and that i don’t break the bank.

    i would add a flatiron to what a girl should carry in her bag if her hair happens to be nicely styled that day and the day is windy or she might sweat out a style on the dancefloor. hairspray is good too (as you mentioned above).

    i’m glad i’ve found a fellow ashley lover!

    and yes, marion’s dress was divine.

  28. 7 May 2009 1:28 pm

    the bigger, the better indeed!! I’m a oversized bag girl too, I mean how else would I fit all those essentials (mentioned above!) in one bag?

    Bottle of water is a must too, not a health thing, for me it’s more like a school thing that never left me! 🙂


  29. 7 May 2009 1:54 pm

    Love Balenciaga’s Motorcycle bags! And I love carrying huge bags too! Though I have to admit they do strain my right shoulders at times! (Esp when I use it as a shopping bag at times!)

  30. 7 May 2009 1:58 pm

    this is such a great post…I love your descriptions of the girls that carry different bags:)

  31. 7 May 2009 1:58 pm

    a bag is such an individual piece of self expression! mine is always filled with everything but the kitchen sink 🙂

  32. 7 May 2009 3:20 pm

    The balenciaga city… the most beautiful bag ever!

  33. 7 May 2009 3:50 pm

    Great list! Depending on the weather I also tote around sunglasses (in the case), a mini umbrella, or both. Yeah, Vancouver weather can turn on a dime.

  34. Michelle permalink
    7 May 2009 3:59 pm

    helpful and accurate post, my dear!
    i will try to incorporate all these needs into the making of my bags.

    p.s. i need to win the lottery so i can spend on moxsie.

  35. 7 May 2009 4:40 pm

    Please don’t show me the Balenciaga City Bag, it simply makes me salivate. That is the absolute bag of my dreams. And I agree, no handbag is complete without a great book lurking deep inside. I’m currently toting Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder about – philosophy, as well. 🙂

  36. 7 May 2009 7:29 pm

    very cute post! love my balenciaga too 🙂
    xo k

  37. rossovelvet permalink
    9 May 2009 1:41 pm

    Genius post !!
    I’m gonna buy the Stam, I think… but for now I’m fine with tons of vintage and non-vintage bags, I’ve got a bunch of them !
    And of course my Chanel, which is simply perfection !
    I love the most oversized bags… or xxs pochettes.

    Thanks for the post anyway ! ;D

  38. 9 May 2009 8:07 pm

    always love the Balenciaga 🙂

  39. abdcforever permalink
    10 May 2009 5:03 am

    i wud sell my soul to the devil for that bag in bright pink or blue… (;


  1. it's all in the bag, darling. « la couturier : Women’s Handbags

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