Gentlemen, gentlewomen and purse-lovers of the world, I welcome you all to today’s award show: Bags of Power! Here, we bag-addicts unite and vote/ponder/fight over THE bag that makes us feel powerful beyond any measure. Of course, it may not just be bags that make us feel confident and bold, occasionally it’s a watch, a brooch or even a pair of heels. But deny it all you want, a designer bag has the potential to make you feel glamorous, powerful and assertive beyond any other accessory out there, and is the handheld (or shoulder-carried) equivalent of a black suit or red rouge. Especially in pop-movie culture, the concept of a “Power Bag” belonging to the “Boss Lady” seems particularly relevant, with the trusty carryalls of glamorous CEOs serving as perfect outfit inspirations to masses of devoted onlookers (including us).
As an aside, however, it should be noted that I absolutely agree with Ashley Sumner, founder of Quilt, who has been waging a war against the stereotype of a “female founder” and how it often has the effect of demeaning an entrepreneurs’ achievements based on her gender. In fact, as a founder, the journey women face on the way to success is often steeper and more challenging, and hence should be accredited all the more. And here at PurseBlog, we celebrate the magnetic persona of these successful individuals in our signature style – with bags! So let’s sit back and take a peek at the candidates running for the office...
Almost unanimously dubbed the “mother of all bags”, it would be a cardinal sin not to start any list of bags that ooze power/confidence/inspiration/financial soundness than the Birkin. In fact, author, anthropologist and former Upper East-Sider, Wednesday Martin, tells us in her memoir, "The Primates of Park Avenue", of how wealthy women love to graze against onlookers with their Birkins as an act of establishing territory! If that’s not the ultimate display of power, I don’t know what is! But did you know (you probably do) that the Birkin was actually created as a mommy bag for Jane Birkin, and what with its relaxed silhouette (especially in the softer Togo leather) and dedicated space for milk bottles, it may not be the ultimate definition of power for everyone, even if it is undeniably a Holy Grail bag. But if you’d like a more structured and corporate-looking Birkin, you could always opt for the Sellier (the 40 in noir is lovely!) Preferred by the likes of Taraji P. Henson in What Men Want and Regina Hall in Little, the Birkin is definitely what women want (see what I did there?) when they want to feel powerful.
If you know me, you’re probably surprised that the SDJ didn’t rank first in my list of powerful bags, but it’d be an act of utter disrespect to place the Birkin anywhere else, so the SDJ must be relegated to #2. But now onwards, it doesn’t really follow any sequence or hierarchy, so supporters for the following nominees needn’t feel unfairly positioned.
Following the steps of the Birkin to create a cleaner, more urban and certainly a more powerful silhouette, the SDJ exudes an aura of power and dominance, both in its structured Classic or in the softer and slouchier Souple version, and it’s evidently a favorite of the women in power, with the SDJ souple also being graced by Taraji P. Henson in What Men Want (in a gorgeous, rich brown tone) as well as by Viola Davis in Widows.
Should we consider a discontinued bag, or should we not? Answer: We should! Just because a style isn’t produced any longer, doesn’t mean we should stop loving it (and sometimes the adventures in resale is worth it too). So here we have it, a favorite of Vice President Kamala Harris, Traces Ellis Ross, Sofia Vergara and more, the Cerf, with its sleek understated design, still manages to command presence with the interlocking C’s. It should probably be the go-to offering from Chanel if flaps aren’t really your thing (at least, they aren’t mine).
Although the new Antigona Soft made waves among both lovers and the haters, there’s something about the original Antigona that makes it on-point and relevant to this day. And, it's a favorite among boss women across the world, probably owing to its super-structured doctor-bag silhouette and no-nonsense attitude. Inspired from Antigone in Greek Mythology, whose name literally translates to “worthy of one’s parents”, Taraji P. Henson carries an Antigona as well in What Men Want (clearly that film has got some serious bag-candy!)
Not as popular as it once was, but nonetheless a heartthrob, my all-time favorite Céline will always be the croc-embossed Phantom Luggage in Black. Its adjustable gussets, open top and understated but recognizable enough “robot face” serve as the perfect carrier for all your necessities, Phoebe-Philo-style. But if you’d like a (somewhat) more structured, zipped and/or available-in-retail alternative, you could always opt for the Mini/Micro Luggages.
Although Fendi offers a number of gorgeous work-appropriate bags, like the Peekaboo, the DotCom, the By The Way, and the 3Jours, the one I find the boldest by far is the 2Jours. With its double rolled top handles, structured and spacious shape and the added advantage of an organized, compartmentalized interior, it's most apt for those taking charge of their offices, jobs and lives.
Having seen it on the ultimate femme fatale, Léa Seydoux, in Mission Impossible, I’ll forever keep on associating this Prada with female spies. However, it also gained massive popularity (alongside another Prada, the Double Tote, surprise surprise!) as Olivia Pope’s powerful arm-candy in Scandal and hence, I need not elaborate any further how apt of a “Power Bag” this is.
This one is absolutely my opinion, and I know I just said a little while ago that a flap bag doesn’t entirely come under my vision of a “Power Bag” (I’m a big fat liar), but this particular flap, accompanied by the bamboo top handle and accentuated by the large, bold blocks of red and green, seems to be another formidable accessory the Boss Women should definitely consider. It’s not only quintessentially Gucci and hence, forever cool, but it’s also spacious enough for work and looks like you could probably strike down somebody with it (Samuel L. Jackson style) if your cool stare hasn’t slain them already.
This one’s a bit more on the showy side, and weighing in at more than 6 pounds, is probably actually good for striking (the spikes are a bonus too if you’re considering it). But with the organized interior, structured boxy design and Louboutin’s signature slew of colors, it’s the perfect bag to show off against your powerful black suit. And if you’re opting out of the classic black version, the red Paloma is absolutely to die for!
Another discontinued model, but you can take it from Amal Clooney that this bag signals power when you need it, whether you’re a lawyer set to destroy the opposition, or you’re dressing to say that you’re European and everything you wear is unattainable. Another gorgeous matte floral version of this tote belongs to Kate Upton, who signifies the laid-back-but-still-in-charge look to the T. Or e if you’re getting all technical.
Now this list, by no means, is comprehensive. There are tons of other bag options from scores of other fashion houses that not only fit the bill, but may also be preferable to the ones I have proceeded to nominate here. You see, the definition of a Boss Lady is often as diverse and varied as all the individual types of people out there, and it can be any bag that makes them invincible. In fact, you know what else signifies ultimate power? Carrying nothing. Yup, in a bitter (to us), turn of events, it seems that many powerful and confident women are so self-assured, they don’t carry any bags at all! Anomalies aside though, now that my monologue is over, we proceed to the most important stage of the award show – your choices! Let me know which one you vote for, or if there is something entirely different that you’d prefer. May the most powerful purse win!