Thursday, March 30, 2006

Things I don't get now.

This post is going to mark me as a hopelessly out-of-step fuddy-duddy (actually, I think I’m branded just by using the term “fuddy-duddy”) but I simply do not understand the current obsession with status bags. You know, those honking big purses with names: Chloe Paddington, Vuitton Murakami, Hermes Birkin, Kelly, whatever. My aversion to these bags arises not in small part from their size. There should be a rule, let’s call it Gidget’s Second Rule of Proportion, that no one may carry a handbag larger than her torso.

And not only are said much-desired bags often large, they’re often large and UGLY, covered with more straps, o-rings and padlocks than heavy-duty bondage gear, like the Chloe Paddington bag pictured. I'd rather haul a small dinosaur around.

But most of all I hate the messages that the hottest hippest handbags send me. The messages I get, in no particular order, are:

1. “Look at all the money I have!” -- My response? So what. Conspicuous consumption is so last millenium.

2. “I’m a celebrity who was given this handbag so that I could act as a walking billboard for Chloe, Vuitton, Hermes . . .” -- Damn, rich people love their freebies, don’t they?

3. “I succumbed to advertising, photos of celebrities carrying honking big bags and peer pressure and purchased an item I can’t afford.” -- How sad.

4. “I want to have something Sarah Jessica Parker, an Olsen twin, or a Hilton sister has.” -- Um, no. In fact, heaven forbid.

5. “I want to have something Sarah Jessica Parker, an Olsen twin, or a Hilton sister has so much that I’m willing to purchase an unlicensed imitation made by sweatshop labor in a third-world country and sold on the street by a non-tax-paying illegal immigrant vendor.” -- No, no, a hundred times no!

I could go on translating bag speak for a long time. However, even though I don’t like and don’t want a titled bag, I’m still looking for that elusive Perfect Bag. The Bag of Plato. That would be a bag that’s light, has all the right compartments in exactly the perfect sizes for my phone, sunglasses, business cards, fabric samples, paint chips, deposit slips etc. and yet miraculously is still compact. Gidget's Platonic Bag also has a strap that could be adjusted from handle length to shoulder length without looking clunky and it's lined in light never-soiling material so I can find my keys. I’ve only been looking the Perfect Bag for about 30 years, and all I've found so far are handbag shadows on the wall.


Carol@Dandelion Vintage said...

Hi, I don't get the status bag either. Most of them are bulky and unatractive looking. Plus the cost is so ridiculous. I don't get how someone could justify paying thousands of dollars for a purse. $20 is my limit for a purse, and it has to be really-really cute for me to pay that much. But then again, I am very cheap.


Cambric Tea said...

So true! And the bag is just a small part of "what's wrong".

David La Chapelle, the serious-taking of The Olsens, that is tainted by "celebrity" really.

Love your blog.

Helen said...

I thought it was only me!! Every month In Style shows all these padlocked buckled weightlifting monstrosities that are not feminine, delicate, practical or attractive and I thought it was only me missing the point. Thank god!! My fave bag at the moment is only a little bit too small, it is a leather cross body satchel, which forces me to downsize (as it's only 6x9") and not carry junk - just what my chiropracter always wanted!!

Scarpediem said...

I agree with your critique of the "celebrity" bag, though I do have to say that I love large-ish bags for practical reasons (I carry my laptop just about everywhere I go these days, for once, and two, I am a pretty tall and athletic girl myself, so these bags look just right on me; by contrast, I would look ridiculous with one of those itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny bags I see some girly girls carry). I agree, however, that the symbolic status some bags have achieved is just ridiculous. I have somewhere a similar rant on logo/signature accessories (blech!)

If you want to achieve your platonic ideal of bag, you pretty much have to go the made-to-order route. It will cost an arm and a leg, too, but at least you get precisely what you want (and that you will see nowhere else, or on nobody else), and you get to use it for a lifetime.

deang said...

I call the ugly styling the "SUV aesthetic" - add as much size and as many bulges, creases, hardware, nameplates, etc. as possible to grab as much attention as possible, a strategy also seen in the design of too many athletic shoes over the past decade or so. An artist friend of mine calls it "overdesigning". It's the design strategy of a person with an unsubtle mind, a very United States way of doing things. I always imagine that the corporate board of these design companies hires just-out-of-college Americans to come up with these items. On a more serious note, your comment about non-tax paying illegal immigrants revealed you to be a white, probably Republican or Libertarian, racist estadounidense. You've got a very poor grasp of sociopolitical reality and of basic ethics, despite your taste in handbags.