One day I noticed how large many of my friend’s daytime handbags were. How do women go about choosing a purse? I became intrigued and decided to look up the history of handbags. Here is a short story:

The term “purse” originally referred to a small bag for coins. The handbag is a larger accessory whose functions, depending on the woman, can range from holding everyday necessities to carrying everything under the sun and more.

The history of the purse

From early civilization, bags and purses were everyday items used by men and women alike because clothing had not been fitted with pockets. When pockets were added to men’s clothing the need for a purse to carry money disappeared.

During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, women’s clothing was so voluminous that one or two little bags hung from each hip under her clothing. During the industrial revolution, new manufacturing techniques resulted in new models and designs. In the twentieth century, women’s emancipation was an influential factor in the rise of the purse to meet a growing variety of practical needs. This is the time when great handbag designers emerged and branding entered the picture. In the past, designs remained unchanged for several decades, but not any longer. The handbag has developed into a fashion accessory and each season brings new designs.

Choosing a purse

As I mentioned, over the past few weeks I have become intrigued by the relationships women have with their handbags. I decided to investigate further when I observed a few card tables piled high with large purses during a card game one afternoon. I wondered what possessed women to carry purses that could be used for an overnighter and what could they possibly be carrying?

I will get back to what I discovered shortly… stay tuned!

I don’t usually carry a large purse for lunch and cards. Personally, I don’t like carrying a purse at all. I like looking at my purses far more than carrying them. Why? If the handbag has handles, it takes up one of your hands and if it has straps, the straps dent your shoulder and fall off frequently.

This is a paradox because I love shopping for beautiful handbags and I admit I have them lined up neatly on my shelves. Some are 25 years old and I love them just as much today as when I first laid eyes on them. I wear them all.

So be that as it may, purses can be enjoyed if you are a smart shopper. First and foremost, consider their practicality, your needs and remember your bag tells the story of your personality and adds a flair to your outfit. In this day and age, the brand is important. Purses are status symbols and beautiful accessories.

What to consider when shopping for a purse

1. I do not like clutter.
2. I want both of my hands free.
3. They have to have ‘a look.’

I don’t find it necessary to carry my life needs in my handbag. I like traveling light. When my phone rings, I don’t want to dig to the bottom, chipping or breaking a nail and miss the call on top of it.

Purse styles that meet my needs

1. Stunning backpacks.

Honey Good sometimes opts for a backpack when choosing a purse

2. Loose hanging belts with a small purse attached.

Honey Good sometimes attaches a wallet to a belt when choosing a purse

3. Long straps that I am able to cross over my body.

Cross-body purses are a favorite of Honey Good when choosing a purse

4. A tiny zippered flat purse that comes with an attached key ring. It fits a few bills, my driver’s license and a credit card. I can tuck the tiny flat purse into my slacks, letting the keys hang over my slacks.

5. My husband, Sheldon Good, who carries my lipstick when we go out for the evening.

Notice that all of my favorite styles are hands free or have shoulder straps.

A purse style to fit your lifestyle

My friends are a different story. I asked some of the women in the card room what they were carrying in their purses.

Their answers were hysterical. Of course they start with their wallet, makeup bag and cell phone. Then they continue on… Kleenex, a book, allergy pills, Advil for their aches and pains, Tylenol for a migraine, a hairbrush, perfume, hairspray, checkbook, gum, toothbrush, dental floss, toothpaste, an extra pair of glasses, to-do lists, a tiny sewing kit, contact or dry eye solution, tons of receipts, a pen and a notepad.

I say to myself, “They need all of this to eat lunch and play cards?”

I carry one lipstick and I don’t need a mirror because after 40 years I know the outline of my lips. I carry cash because I often lose at cards, but I am never disappointed because I would rather be lucky in life.

I carry my treasured iPhone to check my emails, texts from grandchildren and the stock market. What else could I possibly need for lunch and cards?

So there you have it, dear readers of mine. What do you think about when choosing a purse. I hope I have given you ‘room for thought.’

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