Thursday, December 18, 2008

Using Versus Keeping

I love handbags, but with reservations. The current trend of satchels big enough to suit itinerant peddlers escapes me, as does the recent fancy with padlocks, heavy chains, lariats, and anything else weighty or dangly enough to cause bodily harm if you bend the wrong way. Nope, at the moment I'm besotted with old-fashioned frame bags like our grandmothers carried in the 50s and 60s; geometric, neat, pretty enough to attract attention but not so showy as to overwhelm the rest of your look.

Case in point:

How I love this bag. Found on eBay for under $20, labeled "made in Italy for Franklin Simon", a great old Manhattan department store.

I was initially drawn to the scan because of the absolute perfection of the bag's proportions--the bag looks monolithic, but it's only about a handspan tall--enhanced by the deep, almost patent-y gloss of its black leather. There's something about the ratios of lines and curves that is hypnotic.

Here, in a McCall's pattern from the 1950s, is how it might have been worn back then . . .

But it wasn't. It came to me completely unused. Not a smudge, not a scratch, not a mark on its lovely suede interior. What I suspect happened is that she bought the bag, and then, possibly hypnotized by its perfection and not wanting to mar it, put it away, to be used "for a special occasion."

How many of us do exactly this thing with our best pieces? It's understandable, but nuts. Do you have gorgeous things that may find their way into somebody else's hands, unused? Don't let it happen to you!

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