Friday, October 3, 2008

Gender Baggage


For a very long time (1985-1999) I refused to carry a “purse-like object.”

Those items were too feminine, too dinky, for what I considered to be my fiercely independent feminista self, so I lived with a large clutch wallet instead.

If that’s all men need, than that’s all I need, thought I. And I got along just fine: my lipstick and key fit into the change pouch; I felt nicely self-contained.

I also prefer men’s leather carry-alls and funky messenger bags to those manufactured for women. When I do carry a woman’s bag, it must be sleek—no tassles, ruffles, or other frilly accessories; I like a very clean line.

(Unless I’m going for wild embellishments, as on my Ghost by Tanya Sarne bag, which is the most exuberant bag I’ve seen in awhile. It’s orange velvet with embroidery, sequins, tassels—it breaks all my rules!) Here's a photo of a considerably more modest Ghost bag:


And I like a bag to be large. If I must carry a bag, I’m going to carry a substantial one! But not a bag the size of a small trunk à la Katie Holmes.


Lately I’ve been getting the urge to borrow from the boys again, because two posts reminded me of some more gender-based baggage, so to speak.

For what I like in a man bag pour moi, check out the photo below, from the Sartorialist. This Mulberry bag comes in a *smaller* size for women. But I think that the oversized proportion works just fine on a woman’s arm. (And I do dislike “downsized” items for women. I always wore a man’s watch until finding my properly sized tank.)



Further, Disney Roller Girl just bought this men’s Prada clutch (just scroll for a couple of images) in New York. I love the color, the shape, the wrist band. It looks a little more substantial than a woman’s too.

To my mind, “little lady,” whether articulated verbally or through the language of accessories, should be banished.

13 comments:

Kelly said...

It wasn't until a couple years ago when I finally gave up and carried a purse for a while. Now I'm starting to swing back to just putting my credit cards in my pockets and clipping my keys to my beltloop. It basically ruins every outfit, but it's better than lugging a bag around with me everywhere I go.

Of course, inevitably, when I don't bring my purse I suddenly have need for powder or tylenol or tampons, none of which I have with me.

But all the bags I do carry are the simplest I can get. And my laptop bag, which I carry every day, is definitely a man's. I love it.

La Belette Rouge said...

I have always carried the kind of bag that inspires snide comments like"Are you going away for the weekend?" My latest bag is called "Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman" as my friends joke that I could be carrying enough medical supplies that I could run a hospital out of it. That said, I LOVE that Mulberry bag. Gorgeous. I do not like the bag that Kate is carrying. Une petite too much!

enc said...

Sometimes the men's versions are just plain better.

WendyB said...

"Men's clutch" -- two words guaranteed to make me laugh. I know, I'm a sexist pig.

savvymode said...

katie's oversize birkin is meant to be a carryon luggage. as much i adore that idea, it is really too heavy.

Songy said...

I'm all for getting men's bag. What I bought for my guy was really what I wanted for myself. When I saw that guy with the tan Mulberry I coveted the bag.

http://www.bozagi.co.kr/shop/view.htm?pro_uid=1280&category
This is what I got for him and I sometimes want to just steal it off him. :P

Toby Wollin said...

The Sartorialist bag is wonderful - roomy, stylish and at the same time utilitarian. Katy Holmes' 'luggage' looks as if it really requires wheels. Unless carrying that thing is part of her personal weight lifting/wellness program, it makes no sense at all.

Catherine Ashley Talks fashion said...

wow that is an enormous bag that kate is carrying...

wow

Anonymous said...

Maybe Kate has Suri in the bag?

Christine

ambika said...

I remember scoring handbags in high school & college, when carrying a backpack or messenger bag seemed to make the whole idea redundant (to me anyways.) I carried an amunitions bag from the Army/Navy store for a *looong* time and am still partial to fabric bags. Of course, now that I make my own, the whole issue is moot again!

Sal said...

I agree with enc - clean, classic lines are easier to find in the Men's Furnishings department sometimes. Plus it's really fun to tell people you have to make a quick sto in Men's Furnishings.

Imelda Matt said...

I've only been a recent convert to the manbag (maybe the last two years) and that's only because I bought a killer Dior Homme number in Paris but it wasn't until I was in Tokyo that I was brave enough to start using it.

Rollergirl said...

I'm loving my man-clutch but deep down I'm a big-bag girl. But it does look so much smarter to go minimalist and carry a clutch. Maybe I just need more clothes with pockets as a happy compromise?