The Quest for the Perfect Purse

Last week I had a revelation; It hit me that I was a full-time working mom.  This may seem like a weird thing to suddenly realize, however I work at home, so even though I’m bending over my art table or computer roughly 30 hours a week I do it in my the comfort of my own little studio. (This also might seem like a weird topic for a purse post, but I felt a little explanation was needed so…) Somehow I feel that because I don’t need to leave the house to go to work, I SHOULD be able to whip up dresses on my sewing machine, enjoy other creative projects, organize paperwork, wash-dry-fold-and-put-away laundry, decorate, put together chic outfits every day, cook dinner, clean house, run errands, exercise, take my kids on fun outings AND finish all my freelance projects easily.  Not so.  Something has to give, and it’s usually everything that comes before the “finish all my freelance projects” part. OK, I do enjoy a lot of fun time with my children and I cook diner most nights, but everything else has a way of slipping away into piles of mess. It’s upsetting and I’ve been kicking myself for months. I need to find some more time in the day!

What does all this have to do with finding The Perfect Purse?  It’s all about simplifying life.

Currently I pick out an outfit for the day and then pick a purse to go with the outfit.  This means that almost every morning you’ll find me moving my wallet, lipsticks, phone etc from one purse to another.  Surely there are better ways to spend my precious time. So I thought, quite logically, that one FABULOUS, classic and versatile purse could take the place of my many brightly colored, textured and printed ones, at least on weekdays. This purse must have some important qualities which I think most women would agree upon.

It must be lightweight. I really don’t want to have a weekly appointment at the chiropractor because my purse weights a ton. (And I have some that do seem to weigh a ton once I get everything in them.)

It must be large enough to fit all necessities and then some. For me that means a small makeup bag, wallet, checkbook, glasses, sunglasses, phone, business cards, emergency snack bar and keys.  It would be nice if a small notepad would fit as well. Too many of my purses do not fit everything.  It’s fine for weekends and special occasions, but for everyday I find it very frustrating.

– It must have a few inner compartments for holding phones, sunglasses and whatnot. Don’t you hate it when you’re phone’s ringing but you can’t find it at the bottom of the bag?

It must be of good quality. I do love purses but I tend to buy a lot of cheap ones.  If I’m going to wear this one every day it should be a good quality bag that can withstand a bit of a beating. As a result, I’m prepared to spend a bit of money.

It must be a color that can go with most outfits. This is going to be hard for me! I love how a colorful purse can really “make” an outfit and I tend to gravitate towards the more unusual colors.  I’ll be focusing on black or a classic brown for this purchase.

It must fit comfortably over my shoulder even when I’m wearing a coat. I have purses I love that will not fit on my shoulder even though they look like they should.  It’s just annoying.

– No Logos. This is very personal, but I don’t like the idea of being free advertisement for mega fashion brands.  It can have a small logo somewhere, but that’s it.

It must be stylish. No explanation needed!

To prepare myself for the hunt I started by browsing on-line to narrow down the kind of purse I’ll be looking for when I do start shopping. The first purse I found on Zappos is chic and minimalistic. It might be a little too small for what I need,  but I would certainly feel sharp toting the Audry Tilly Convertible bag by Lodis around town.

The  “Jonnie” hobo by Kooba is as different as can be from the Audrey above.  It’s slouchy and informal, but the taupe color would look good with almost anything I’d be wearing this fall, and it looks roomy as can be.

I only have a fake Kate Spade bag, but I would so love to have a real one.  I like the texture, elbow handle and convertible cross-body strap on “Little Nadine”. I think it might be a bit too boxy though.


The “Stuart Weitzman Sunny Flamenco” bag (that’s a mouthful!) speaks to the part of me that loves a slightly unusual bag.  The round shape is really pleasing to the eye.

Every time I go into the local Michael Kors store I find at least 3 bags I love.  I don’t love the logo dangle that seems to be on everything he does, but the styles, colors, and shapes always speak to some inner part of me.  This boxy “Hamilton” satchel is everything I love in a handbag!  I even like the classic brown leather color.

The purse quest will continue when I have some time to hit the mall, but in the meantime I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Would you buy any of these purses if they were in your price range?  Which one is your favorite? Do you wear the same purse every day?  If so, what qualities does it have that make it work for you?

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16 Responses to The Quest for the Perfect Purse

  1. brookemeagan October 27, 2011 at 11:06 am #

    I can totally relate to this post. I hate having to transfer everything from purse to purse, and I’m not very good at it either! I often find myself digging through my purse for something only to realize that I’ve left it behind in the purse I used the day before. It can be so frustrating! I have one neutral purse that I adore, but it is massive! It looks good with everything but by the end of the day, I swear my right shoulder sits a few inches lower than the left! I think I’m my own worst enemy though because like you, I love purses! I love the variety and changing them up regularly, I just don’t necessarily love the process. And so, I think a neutral work week purse is a great idea and a fabulous investment. The Michael Kors “Hamilton” satchel is gorgeous. Good luck on your quest Heather!! Let us know when you find a keeper!! xo
    brookemeagan recently posted..Photo Diary: SaskatoonMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca October 27, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

      I’m constantly forgetting stuff in another purse – the worst is when I forget my drivers license! (It’s like forgetting one’s clothing as where I live one drives pretty much everywhere.) I’m glad I’m not the only one with a “thing” for that hamilton purse.

  2. mary jo
    October 27, 2011 at 11:46 am #

    I admire your satorial diligence to your daily bag Heather! I am quite lazy, mostly because I’m afraid of switching bags and forgetting something in the move–my life is in my bag! That said, I just got a black leather cross body bag because I need to keep my arms free to shoot. So far so good, but it’s such a different feeling to be strapped into a bag, versus constantly putting a bag down and picking it up, which is how I deal with my bowling bag (non-logo-ed!) You have to let us know which one you end up with!
    mary jo recently looks for karen millenMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca October 27, 2011 at 4:23 pm #

      I’ll be updating everyone just as soon as I have a few minutes to look for a purse in real life. I just don’t feel comfortable buying something like this on line. Shopping in real life is too much fun! I’m currently toting around a rather heavy bag with no shoulder strap. It’s difficult all that putting down and picking up, I agree!

  3. Sharon October 27, 2011 at 2:34 pm #

    I am not a handbag girl. What I mean by that is I do not feel the need to change my purse every day. My style: I like big purses. Lots of room. Which is really bad because I carry so much stuff that by the end of the day my back and shoulder are like “thank you” when I put my purse down. haha. I seriously have to warn people to be careful because my purse is heavy if they are going to hold it so I can do something. I like to carry all the normal girl items: makeup bag, keys, wallet plus, business cards, notebook, pen, camera, cell phone (yes both even if the phone has a camera), and what I call my emergency kit — band aids, maxis, tampons, safety pins, hand wipes etc. . .I put it up on the blog once before. People know if they need something while out to ask me first, I probably have it. Blame it on being a mother and an event planner.

    Well, like I said big purse, good quality, and good looking. . .right now I rotate between two everyday purses one from B. Makowsky and the other Brahmin.

    Goodness at this long comment.
    Sharon recently posted..Felicity Jones “Like Crazy” Premiere in GucciMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca October 27, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

      I love long comments! Sounds like you are super prepared. I usually drag extra stuff around in my car because I can’t stand carrying around a heavy purse. I wish I could get away with a clutch, but it’s just not possible!

  4. Alexis of NorthOnHarper October 27, 2011 at 5:04 pm #

    You hit all my important notes with an everyday bag.

    I have 2 that work well for me:
    1 is a pearl/taupe type color (and my brain is refusing to work at the moment, so I can’t remember who made it…)
    The 2nd is a black Michael Kors bag…. yes, it has the hanging MK, but I still love it- and unlike some bags it isn’t inundating me with the logo…

    As for your realization. I recently had a similar one. I have a full time job working in social media, plus I work on my blog and have some freelance writing and social media jobs… so I work a ton, but from home. I get so frustrated when I don’t get all the home stuff finished as well, regardless of how unrealistic it is.

    BUT, I do have big plans this weekend to sit down and create a real schedule for myself. I think it is my only chance of getting ahold of things and not losing complete control…
    Alexis of NorthOnHarper recently posted..Scary JewelsMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca October 27, 2011 at 8:52 pm #

      Let me know if your schedule works for you! I used to have a schedule, but the due dates on my freelance work are so arbitrary that every week it seems like nothing is done on the “right” day. I just run around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to keep everything from exploding, at least that’s the way I feel.
      I’m so glad you like Mickael Kors too! There’s something about his bags…I just love them.

  5. Desiree October 27, 2011 at 6:23 pm #

    Oh I love this post so much Heather and agree with every point you make. I have one more to add, I like to have my hands free so another “must” on my list is the cross-over option, so it needs a comfy, adjustable strap. I just bought myself a new bag in Melbourne which I’m test driving at the mo, I’m fussy so we’ll see how it goes:). Thanks so much for your kind wishes on our wedding hon:)) xoxo
    Desiree recently posted..Wigglin’ On Mah Weddin’ DayMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca October 27, 2011 at 8:54 pm #

      I love the cross-over option – where it’s a hand bag but has an extra strap that can be used around the neck when needed. I especially like them when the second strap is just hanging there. It seems like all the “cool” girls hold on to it this way. I like the option of being a cool chic, and the option of being a mom running after my kids.
      And I loved your wedding photos! Thank you so much for sharing them with us.

  6. Dress Code: High Fashion
    October 28, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

    Yeah…”the perfect work bag”…-> “mission impossible”.

    During Fashion Week I DESPERATLY needed such a bag…but my vain self prefered to carry a trendy clutch, of course, (+ camera, invitations & water bottle in the other hand – and probably looked like an unorganized idiot…)

    To university I carry my laptop, books,water bottle & stuff in a fake YSL Muse (black leather). I guess nobody there ever noticed that it`s a fake…or that it`s supposed to be YSL…*LOL*

    If I EVER raise some money I`ll buy a Givenchy Nightingale or a big Chanel 2.55 as my “perfect work bag”.
    Dress Code: High Fashion recently posted..Top 10 Picks: Kenzo Homme F/W 11/12My Profile

    • Heather Fonseca October 28, 2011 at 7:10 pm #

      Well, I don’t know if I’ll ever have enough for a real Chanel but I’m gonna look around and see if I can find something good that’s a little more affordable. Still I think it’s nice that you know exactly what you want. You’ll get it I’m sure! Love your trendy clutch story. I really love them too, but as far as I can tell they’re only good for evenings, and then only when someone else is driving and all you need is a lipstick.

  7. FelipeG October 28, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

    My wifes definitely gonna love this! I’ll show this post once she gets back!
    FelipeG recently journeyMy Profile

    October 30, 2011 at 4:15 am #

    I love the last one, MK is the best. 🙂 I agree on all points!
    THE-LOUDMOUTH recently posted..Look :: Happy Halloween!My Profile

    • Heather Fonseca October 30, 2011 at 9:26 am #

      Thanks so much! Now I just have to figure out how to afford an MK purse after buying a new dryer. Sigh. Practicality always seems to come before fashion.


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