slouch bags

My Handbag Advice? Never Listen to Handbag Advice

Until ten minutes ago I was going to give you really sensible handbag advice. You know, because I actually make bags. So I set about researching it. That’s when my plans changed because I fell into a festering rabbit hole made of clutches, totes and superciliousness. In fact, I found a thousand articles which made bag buying sound like kidney donation: clinical, riddled with rules and, done badly, apt to destroy your life. Well, I call handbag horseshit. So I’ve collated the advice that made me headbutt my own reflection and kicked it about the sewing shed. Here, then, is my advice on, well, taking handbag advice…

“Fashion handbags allow any girl the chance to be recognized and adored.”

That’s right because when I buy a bag I prefer being stared at by strangers to having room for my purse. In fact, if my new bag doesn’t come with an introduction to a stalker I take it back. Outside of Kim K, who picks a bag on the basis of adoration?  And as for recognition, the only times my personal bags have been pointed at is because they’re full of post-op juices and plumbed into my body. Natch, you’ll find that a Kraken Kreations bag offers you admiring glances but I do not want to be responsible should it not get you on the cover of Grazia.

“This is a piece that you will be toting around to a slew of events.”

What, you mean like a bank holiday Monday in Tesco or your next smear? Look, I’m sure there are plenty of women out there for whom a “slew of events” is as routine as a morning wee. Then again there are plenty of women who just want something practical which contains everything from packets of Wotsits to the occasional loose tampon. And as for “toting” do you mean like a gun? Because a gun is exactly what I’d like to tote right now.

“Select a neutral color you love”

I can’t. There aren’t any. In fact neutrals repel me much in the way that garlic repels Dracula. This is a level of handbag advice that makes me want to put a bag over my own head. You’re suggesting that I actively invest in an accessory with a cloaking device?  It’s like asking me to choose a form of death that I’ll find somewhat arousing.

“I am always inclined to opt for nude, grey, or black when I am investing in bags. It is a classic and multifaceted color that can be paired with most anything.”

That’s because they are not colours at all. They are what happens when you suck the joy from things. Did you know that during depression some people can’t see colour properly? I’m one of them. Everything looks as if it’s been stripped of pigment. That’s why I don’t own a nude, grey or black bag. There’s enough torment in my head without me carrying it on my arm through the medium of faux leather.

“A structural handbag is always the best idea.”

A bit like never listening to this bloody handbag advice.

“If you have small, boy hips, having a bag which sits on your hips will make your shape look more feminine.”

Eh? I’ve bought and made a thousand bags and at no point have I ever fretted about whether they are adjacent to my pelvic nooks. Yes, I’ve faffed over whether the pockets are deep enough or the straps sturdy enough but the pouch-to-hip ratio? Non. So where should those of us of a “boy hip” bent allow our bags to sit? On our heads? Jesus, finding a bag that’ll do everything needed of modern woman is hard enough without panicking about it impacting on our femininity. And unless that bag is a time machine disguised as a satchel, when did we start placing such importance upon looking like laydees?

“If you have large hips, try a bag which sits at your waist line, accentuating the tapering of your waist and making you look slimmer.”

‘Kin hell! You mean it’s not enough for me to fret about hemlines, horizontal stripes and pocket placement? I now need a bag that makes me look as if I don’t enjoy pie? Seriously, I don’t know how much more pressure the handbags of today can take.  Not only do they have to contain journals, water bottles and loyalty cards but they have to make us look like we attend boot camps too. We may as well ask them to rack up our IQ by 30 points before putting the Palestinian crisis to rest.

“Pick a large structured or boxy bag to balance out your curves.”

Can I just carry a box? Or does it have to be particular size of box? A rectangle? A square? And is a neutral carboard buff OK or should I insist that it also comes in grey and black? Screw Gucci. I’m calling Amazon…

“Very small bags on very tall girls will get lost, and alternatively if you are on the short side, you will be swamped with a large or oversized bag!”

Have you taken your meds? I ask because you’ve been overthinking again. At what point did you round up all of the tall girls and all of the short girls? And what have you done with all of the ‘just right’ girls? And what bags suit them? Tell you what, why don’t you design a bag and call it The Pigeonhole because you’re determined to shove all of us into one.

“Not every handbag is ideal for every woman. Yes, we said it. The bag that you own… might not be the right one for you.”

You should end that sentence with the dramatic Eastenders music because you sound as if you’re at the DEFCON 1 of handbag advice. In fact, you said that in the same way that I was told that my period had bled through my skirt. Well done on creating such an air of terror that we will immediately burn our bag collections before seeking advice when we so much as wrap a ham bap. Watch out now! That sandwich bag may make your lunch look like it just doesn’t give a shit.

“Take a look at Adele in the many paparazzo photographs and you’ll get the idea on how to choose a handbag for everyday use with a style and the right size.”

Take a look at Adele in pap shots and you’ll see a woman who’ll tell you to shove your handbag advice right up your arse.

“Comb through magazines, watch online fashion videos, search for women that like the same style as you.”

Can’t I just buy a bag that I like? Do I really have to scour the internet as if I’m involved in baby surrogacy? Perhaps the days of spontaneously falling in a love with a bag and buying it have gone. Now we have to treat the process with supreme rigorousness so as not to offend our girthy hips, our ambivalence towards structure and the perpetual gaze of the paparazzi.  I chose a degree course, a husband and a method of birthing with less consideration that this is telling me to buy receptacle into which I will chuck a thousand receipts.

And yes, I know that this all goes against the bag-makers grain. I too should be giving you complicated handbag advice. That way, I can solve the problem and you can throw money at me. Well I can’t do that to you. As much as I want your custom what I don’t want is to make you feel deranged just because you need somewhere to put your purse.

So stuff the handbag advice you’ve heard here. If you like macarons, buy a bag covered in macarons. If you love cross-body bags, buy a cross body bag. In short, just buy what makes you skip every time you use it. And if anyone tells you that it clashes with your hips, your hair or your propensity to eat Kit Kats, fill it with bricks and swing it at them. THAT, Kraken lovers, really is the best handbag advice of all.

So what do you think? Am I right to repel all of this handbag advice or do you think it has a point? And what do YOU think about when buying a handbag?