It’s 2004—you’re simultaneously applying sparkly pink lip gloss from a juicy tube while updating your top 8 on MySpace. Britney Spears’ new song Toxic plays in the background and you’re thinking about what you’ll wear to go see Lindsay Lohan’s new movie Mean Girls later tonight. You start with your bag, which is obviously the most important part of your outfit, and go from there. Why of course you’ll carry your new favorite bag: Juicy Couture’s Terry Cloth Barrel Bag.

I’ve made a lot of questionable fashion choices in my lifetime—from lowrise (and way too short) denim skirts to velour pants with writing on my bum—I often chuckle when I think about teen and pre-teen Kaitlin. And while many of the things I wore I pray never come back into style—lowrise jeans I’m talking to you—most of my outfits I don’t truly regret. At the time I wore them, they made me happy and as a child I was very shy and introverted. I used fashion and my outfits as a way to express myself but also as a way to relate to my peers, and long before Dior, Louis Vuitton and even Coach were on my wishlist there was one bag that never left my side.

I received said bag as a joint gift from my brother and sister for Christmas when I was in middle school. I wanted it so badly and I begged my older siblings for it. If memory serves me, I pestered them so much that the bag wasn’t even a surprise when I opened it on Christmas morning. Yet still I was in awe when I opened the package and could finally lay a hand on my new baby in all her terrycloth glory, gaudy chain strap and an obnoxiously large ‘J’ to boot.

Somehow when I talk about my first bags I forget about her—my first real love, but I look back on that bag with fond memories of worry-free days and the naivety of my youth. Sadly I got rid of it long ago, after tossing it aside in favor of my first Coach bag followed by my little Dior Saddle bag a year or so later. Wherever she is though, I hope she’s happy.

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