Handbags, purses, pocketbooks – whatever you want to call ‘em, I love ‘em. As long as they have shoulder straps, that is.
Sometimes my colleague Jessica Pauline Ogilvie will post pictures of a supremely beautiful clutch like this one or this one. I’ll stare longingly for awhile and then move on with my life, because the truth is that clutches for me are like babies: I can look at one for awhile and think it’s cute, but I will never own one.
I used to carry small bags. That was before I lived in New York. In college, I had a car, and I could stow heavy textbooks – along with hand lotion, maps, junk food wrappers, an umbrella, and a change of clothes – in the glove compartment or trunk. As a New Yorker, I trudge along on the subway like everybody else with nothing but a handbag and the occasional tote to carry my entire life in. If I want to go to yoga class after work? I’d better be able to shlep my clothes, shoes, and mat with me on the train that morning, or else keep a backup set in my office. If I want reading material? It has to be able to fit into my bag without smushing the breakfast sandwich, mittens, and janitor-esque set of keys that I also need to have with me at almost all times. Clutches are beautiful, but they’re entirely impractical for the needs of a city girl whose apartment isn’t really adjacent to anything except a bodega.
Whenever I see a celebrity on the red carpet in a gorgeous dress and a teeny-tiny clutch, there is only one thing I can think of: the assistant who is probably standing about five feet from her, holding a bag full of the celebrity’s stuff. It’s easy for a famous person to say all they have in their bag is lipstick and a cell phone when the underling in the wings is carrying foundation, powder, concealer, perfume, hot rollers, hairspray, and a pair of flats to change into when those $1,000 Jimmy Choos come off at the end of the night. To me, clutches represent a woman of leisure, who doesn’t need to worry about piddling everyday things. In other words, a woman who isn’t me.