I like purses, bags, backpacks, totes, containers of any kind really. Back in the day, when all I had to do was spend money that someone else earned, I was somewhat of a purse snob and only bought designer handbags. My closet is full of dead bags from Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Brighton, Coach, and there's even a couple of Judith Leiber bags in there that belonged to my Grandmother. God rest their souls.
Nowadays, I wouldn't know a designer bag if you hit me in the face with it. If I had an extra $1000 to spend on a purse, I still wouldn't be stupid enough to spend it on a purse. I don't care what the movie stars are carrying. I don't worry that my bag doesn't match my shoes because I wear flip flops and tennis shoes. Everyone knows they're a universal neutral so everything goes with them. I don't care if my bag is in style or if it is seasonally appropriate. Even my husband is more concerned about handbags than I am, as you can see from the picture below.
Yes, there is a story there, but I'm not going to tell it. It will be more fun to just let everyone wonder if he's looking for his lipstick.
Having said all that, that doesn't mean that I don't care at all about my handbag/purse/tote whatever. I do have very specific criteria that it must meet, it's just very practical criteria. Here are some of my guidelines:
1. My bag has to be roomy. To illustrate my spacial needs, I just dumped the entire contents of my purse onto the couch and snapped a picture. This is the unedited contents, trash and all, don't
Okay, I can see there is room for improvement in my method of keeping up with receipts and disposing of trash. But on the upside, I found $40 I didn't know I had!! The basic supplies that I must carry with me every day include not only the usual girlie stuff, but I also must have at least one sketchbook, at least a dozen pens, a few pencils, scissors, glue and a measuring tape. That's the bare minimum.
2. My bag has to NOT have a zipper closure. Zippers on the smaller pockets are fine, but for the main purse area zippers don't work for me, mainly because I never bother to zip them. I prefer those magnetic snap thingies or even no closure at all.
3. I have to like my bag. I don't really care what anyone thinks about my bag, if I like it that's good enough for me. In recent years I've been choosing canvas bags more than leather because they take a Sharpie better. I never buy a bag with the intent to doodle on it, but it is nice to have that option.
4. My bag has to be affordable and that might vary depending on what my version of affordable is at that time. Generally, it's under $20. I don't see any reason to pay more than that for something I'm probably going to doodle on and then get bored with in a few months.
I don't intentionally look for unusual bags, but I do tend to be drawn to them when I run across them. My current "evening bag" is one I bought a few years ago from one of the funnest stores on the internet: Archie McPhee. It is a small leopard print bowling bag like this one:
I'm not exactly sure what gave me the idea to go with a military bag for my new purse but I made that decision last night and less than 24 hours later it was a done deal. Oddly enough, I chose an Israeli paratrooper shoulder bag which is exactly what my Dad carried around after his stroke while he was learning to navigate life with one arm. We made fun of him incessantly for his man bag and today I bought one just like it. He's gonna get a kick out of that when he finds out.
My trip to the local Army surplus store, Dixie Surplus on Cameron, was a little disappointing. They had more hunting and camping gear than they did actual military stuff but I still found a few interesting things. I bought my paratrooper bag, which isn't actual surplus, it's one of those made-to-look-like-surplus things which suits me just fine. I did find an actual surplus item that I felt I desperately needed. It's a 3-pocket grenade cozy. I felt it was a necessity since I didn't have anything to store my grenades in. Now I do. Problem solved!
While browsing through the store I spotted a couple of other interesting items as well. There were lots of actual used backpacks full of fascinating little pockets, cubbies and straps. I nearly bought one until I accidentally smelled the inside of it. Let's just say it's seen some action. There were also these fabulous little metal ammo boxes that I could just picture painted in bright colors and filled with...some...stuff. I dunno, they were just cool and I do have that storage container weakness.
My favorite Army surplus items had to be the various bins of used underwear in a variety of earth tone colors. They were a real steal at only $1 each. I could not imagine who, in their right mind, would wear a pair of used men's undies until I remembered that I, myself, was standing in judgment of them while wearing my sister's gently used panties. But you really can't compare the two because we're related and it's different somehow.
So, the next time you see me I will be sporting my new bag and will have dealt with all my loose receipts, tissues, gum wrappers and other junk that was cluttering up my previous bag. Best of all, we won't have to worry about my grenades all loose and running amok since they'll be safely stored in their new little cozy. Obviously, "grenade cozy" just makes me laugh, I can't say it enough!