Ranting about Handbags, Again

First of all, a great big welcome to all of you who are here because this blog was a Yahoo! Pick!

In the Yahoo! interview it was mentioned that occasionally I rant about the Handbag Industrial Complex (you know, the folks who bring us horrible things like this):

versace bag

That is ridiculous, isn't it? Just horrible. I can't imagine paying $10 for that, much less the TWO GRAND it actually costs.

And even if you aren't looking at the two-grand end of the scale, lower-end handbags aren't any better. Tiny little handles, so that you can't carry them; covered with nonfunctional locks and useless metal bits and dangling braids and whatnot; branded with logos so large that you look like a mobile billboard. I hate them all.

Which is why I bought an old-skool Coach bag on eBay:

oldskool coach bag

(Don't worry: I removed that stupid hangtag first thing.)

I needed a bag that *wouldn't* hold my laptop — to prevent me from carrying it everywhere. Something that would hold a hardcover book and a wallet and my treo, but not much else. I wanted good leather, but no huge logos. And I wanted a cross-body strap to keep my hands free, which is IMPOSSIBLE to find in a handbag these days, unless you head to the Magellan catalog and get the ones that scream "TOURIST IN EUROPE — COMING THROUGH!"

I really wanted green bag, but a weird green — so this olive is perfect! A green bag works with black or brown, so no switching back and forth — who has time to do that?

I pretty much hate the modern Coach bags, with their splashy ad campaigns, tacky logos everywhere and (I've heard) quality problems, but the old Coach bags are something else. They have clean lines, neat colors, and even the most beat-up ones have a certain careless chic. In fact, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that old Coach bags are going to be the next big thing. What with the continuing 80s revival, can't you see a bunch of skinny Brooklyn hipsters deciding that these bags have huge ironic potential? You heard it here first.

0 thoughts on “Ranting about Handbags, Again

  1. i’m actually craving a simple large 1975-or-before etienne aigner bag, for some reason…just plain burgundy hopefully but with a big weird brass ‘A’ somewhere on it. Before she standardized the “a” as a horseshoe shape, she did some weird ones (like aztec, art nouveau, etc) and i’m looking for one of those. the earliest ones are nice too, before they went to the signature burgundy, they did all bags in a dark honey brown stiff leather with brass feet. Whats’ weird is i have no idea why i’m drawn to these right now. -robin

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  2. robin…those bags are great. I live in a town where they test-marketed Aigner back in the day so I find all sorts of unusual purses and shoes. My mom was a big Aigner fan in the 70’s and my name starts with an A so I love those bags.

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  3. Purses with all those straps and buckles make me think of bondage gear. Who wants to sport a purse that has sexual proclivities of its own?

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  4. It just slays me that Coach has gone all logo and trendy. I acquired a nice little collection of classic leather Coach bags from eBay & TJ Maxx in the mid-90s and use them All The Time. I expect them to be in my closet until I die. I kind of thought I was done buying them but that nice olive green has me wanting maybe…just…one…more.

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  5. I totally hear you on the new bags. They’re way too expensive, I hate all the logos, and why don’t they have decently long straps? I work in Manhattan, I like to wear my bag slung across my body so it can’t be snatched. Besides, it leaves both hands free, so I always wear them like that. Coach still makes a few bags each season with a long strap, but you have to search them out. I, however, read somewhere in a fashion magazine that long straps are coming back. I hope so! Whenever I see the trendy girls with their giant bags hung off their forearms I think, Doesn’t that hurt?BTW, doesn’t Coach still make some of the old-school bags? They did up until a few years ago–I remember seeing them in one of their little catalogs. I’ve carried Coach since I saved up enough to buy my first (small) one in the 80s. I loved them because they looked good and they lasted. I carried one of their leather briefcases all through college, grad school, and my first years of work, until it began to look shabby–yes, even old-fashioned Coach starts to wear out after ten years of daily use. By then I had realized just how incredibly heavy the bloody thing was all by itself. So I got a Coach black nylon messenger-style bag, with a leather strap and trim, and I’ve been carrying that for six or seven years. It still looks great. I have a small matching handbag that I usually use as an evening bag that gets loads of complements.However, you can usually still get decent-looking Coach bags, at a semi-reasonable price, in their outlets. If you search. About two years ago I bought a plain black bag, probably about the size of that green one, with a zip top. It does have a long tassel, but it’s really a keychain and it’s removable. I like it though. The strap is just long enough to wear it slung around my body, and the zip top closes securely (another of my pet peeves with bags.) I’m hoping that the logo thing is a fad and bags that emphasize good lines and gorgeous materials come back.

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  6. Bobbie-Ann Black:I once tried having a shoemaker dye a light colored Coach bag I found in a thrift shop and it didn’t work. Something about the finish, I think. Maybe you could have a test done on the key chain tag?

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  7. Delicious bag. I adore the old, unlined lether Coach bags; I only becamse really aware of them this summer and have bought 4 on eBay.I kind of hope you’re wrong about their incipient popularity, but I fear you may be right.

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  8. I too was in handbag hell (damn you, broken Longchamp strap!) before my most stylish acquaintance wowed me with her brown Tano handbag.To Google I went, and found Must Have Bag (their authorized online retailer), and lemme tell you, Sex Bomb just called to me.I told myself that if it wasn’t the most perfectly awesome bag I’d send it back…but it turned out to be everything I wanted. My favorite parts are the smell (THE SMELL!) and the purple satin inner lining. My least favorite part: the pricetag! But it’s an investment, right? 🙂

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  9. OMG, Erin, I bought this bag (in luggage) back in the 70’s, brand new. I think it was $25 then, which, as a girl fresh out of high school, at her first job, was a bit of money, as I remember. Who knew I had something that would be in demand someday (read, I gave that bag away ages ago.) So, where do you draw the line between keeping everything you ever bought in case it’s “worth something” some day and culling and editing and purging, which is something I’m way too good at. Feng Shui should be my middle name.

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  10. I have a british tan color small messenger coach bag that was purchased in the late 80s, similar to the olive green bag, and was wondering if I should keep it. But as I was looking at it and admiring the beauty of the bag with scratches and all…I starting feeling like I did not want part with it. I am glad I hung onto it, because I am going to start wearing it.

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  11. Erin, up until recently, I bought black bags almost exclusively. A few years ago, I branched out in red, pink and blue, but after I read this blog post, I started seriously considering green bags. Well, last week, I bought my first green bag (very similar in color to the one pictured above), and it was after much careful consideration. I came back here to search your blog to see when I first read this, and I’m shocked to see that it was 5 years ago! I’m shocked that it took me 5 years to get a green bag, and also shocked that I’ve been reading your blog for over 5 years. I can’t remember when or how I discovered your blog, but I love it! Thanks for the inspiration!

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  12. Doris, you just made my day. Also, it turns out that old Coach bags are now a big thing! So I was prescient, too!🙂

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