We are purse people!
When I first became interested in designer purses, I didn’t know anyone else who shared my passion for a jewel-tone Boy Bag or a pristine black Peekaboo. I felt alone in my new hobby, and frankly a little silly. Everyone around me gasped at the prices of my dream bags, and after the gasp always came the accusatory look that said, “you’re planning on spending WHAT on a purse?!” For the uninitiated, the prices of the bags precludes any appreciation for the aesthetic value of luxury bags. I try to explain it to people by comparing fashion to other art forms, but inevitably the attention shifts to price. I’ve been accused of carrying designer bags as a status symbol to impress the people around me.
These perceptions are common among people who don’t understand why I would throw down 2K for a bag, and I get it—that’s something I struggle with sometimes too. But loving and owning purses is comparable to collecting any other type of art, and I have found that when I tell people I’ve just purchased some new art, the reaction is very different than if I tell them I’ve bought a new purse. All this is to say that every purse lover needs a purse friend: someone who gets it, and someone who will send you a link to a purse you’ve wanted forever when it goes on sale. I used to pass women on the street carrying Gucci Dionysus bags and ask myself, “why can’t you be my friend?” Yes: I’m a little weird.
But finally all my dreams came true when I saw one of my work colleagues carrying what looked to be an Hermès Evelyne. I had worked with her for a while and we got along well. As we grew closer, I noticed that she had an extremely solid collection of bags. Michelle and I started hanging out regularly, and I’ll never forget the delight I felt when she met me carrying a brand new toffee suede Pandora. That was the moment that I knew she was like me, and it was also the moment I became extremely jealous of her Pandora, which was the perfect size and a beautiful color.
Our purses are always there right beside us, solidifying an unspoken bond. We are purse people.
Purses don’t form the basis for our friendship—we have a lot of other things in common, but having someone around who can appreciate my bag choices is just…nice. We talk about our jobs, our pets, and our ex-boyfriends, but our purses are always there right beside us, solidifying an unspoken bond. We are purse people.
I hope that the artistry of beautiful purses becomes more appreciated as we advance beyond sexist notions that fashion is somehow less of an art form because women tend to consume it more. It troubles me a bit that there is such a high financial barrier to entry for people who are interested in purses. The proliferation of fantastic indie brands at lower price points is encouraging. However there are two sides to this debate: buying art is an expensive investment too, but we can still appreciate it through study and research. The depth of knowledge necessary to understand the history and artistry of high quality bags is astonishing, but it’s rarely taught in classrooms. This means that becoming knowledgeable about purses requires a certain type of independent, enterprising personality. If you’re serious about bags, you probably know how to do your research and learn on your own, and that’s exactly the type of person I want to count as a friend.
The internet is extremely helpful for finding new purse friends: I love reading through all the PurseForum posts and feeling the sense of community that underlies the conversations about Mariah Carey’s purses and the merits of a Marmont vs a Soho. But I’ve found that it’s especially satisfying to meet a fellow purse lover in real life, almost by accident. I am grateful to count Michelle as a friend: she’s smart, kind, and introverted like me. She opens my mind to new purse possibilities, urging me to consider styles and colors that I had no interest in before. If you don’t already have a purse friend, I’d highly recommend finding one: it makes a passion that much more enjoyable when you can share it with someone who understands.
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