Cult of Pursonality

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BetseyJohnsonPurses
Image Credit: N Engineer

Purses suck. I mean, the fact that they can sell a sack for over $200 to hold a bunch of crap that you scarcely need, and that you can’t carry in your pockets because your clothing doesn’t reliably come with pockets, is a total racket.

That was just one of the thoughts crossing my mind yesterday as I made my way to my friendly neighborhood giant chain department store to find a replacement for my broken fashion satchel. And it was with much dismay that I wandered through the purse section of said store, wondering whether I would manage to find anything even remotely tolerable.

Because, as I said before, purses suck. Along with forcing us to use them, society deems it necessary to impose certain fashion standards upon the choices. For a person of my ‘status’ (a grown woman, a mother, a–blech–mature adult), I must convey a certain level of class and maturity with this shield I don publicly.

Standard Purses
Image Credit: N Engineer

But frankly, walking past display after display of bags in black, brown, or beige made me want to run screaming from the store. But since the only other options were to sew pockets into all my clothes, or make my own purse, I was determined to find something that could be classy yet whimsical, something that could subtly show my personality.

And then I met Betsey Johnson. Or, well, some of her creations. Despite the fact that she has apparently been in the industry for decades, I, not being particularly well-versed in matters related to fashion, didn’t know that she was a long-time breast cancer survivor. Only in researching this post did I learn that she is well-known for doing a cartwheel on the runway at the end of her shows, that she too is a middle child with an elder sister and younger brother, or even that she was recently on Dancing with the Stars. Didn’t even know until a few minutes ago that she and her daughter host a reality TV show on Style Network. Nope, I knew none of that when I saw the purse that I proceeded to buy.

Phone Purse
Image Credit: N Engineer

Check it out. The receiver… works. To offer a completely impartial review, it doesn’t ring, which would be the only thing, in my opinion, that could improve this product. See, my husband complains if I don’t hear my phone ring when it’s in my purse, and what could be cooler than a phone purse that rings? But the fact that the handset does work was met with surprise and obvious approval by my kids.

Purses have personality. Or should I say, pursonality. They convey a message to the world about the owner. Which is why it’s such a huge industry. (I’m basing that on the size of purse departments, and the prices charged.) There’s more to consider in buying a purse than the idea that waving a particular brand name gives the illusion that you’re worthy of consideration.

That said, this story doesn’t have a happy ending. My sister, brother-in-law, and husband were quite vocal about their shared opinion that this purse was too over-the-top, and I returned it. Of course, still enamored as I was of the creation, of the idea of owning something that could make me smile just looking at it–of the constant reminder that no matter how serious life gets (and being a responsible parent, daughter, and home-owner offers plenty of opportunities for that) it’s important to keep one’s heart light–I was unable to find a suitable replacement (which, frankly, wouldn’t have been very nice to the new purse, which deserves the chance not to be a constant reminder of what could have been but rather appreciated on its own merits, to let its own pursonality shine through).

So, what do you think? Am I reading too much meaning into purses? Am I the only one who sees purses and imagines the people who would carry them?