The bag is 19 years old. Even then it was a fortune, but I had no husband, no children, and no bills. It was, therefore, no problem. I used it for a while, then forgot about it or moved onto something else. Who knows. It’s been in the back of several closets across southern California for the last decade-and-a-half, that much I do know.
The shoes are six months old and are the same ones I gushed about a while back. I love them and wear them all the time. They sit at the front of my closet for easy access. Those weren’t cheap, either, but I did get them on sale.
I think it’s funny that the new shoes are scuffed and the old purse is pristine.
If I had one complaint about my shoes, it’s that I didn’t have a bag to match–not that I cared enough to buy one. Over the years, I’ve come to the conclusion that status-symbol handbags are the teeniest bit lame. Instead, I’ve been buying solid, well-made bags from large brands and independent brands. Again, not cheap. Not crazy-expensive like that bag in the picture, but not $20, either. Funny enough, I have red bags, green bags, and gold bags…but no brown bags.
If you are reading this on Saturday, I’m probably outside fighting off the jackals at the largest garage sale we have ever held. I had no mercy when I went through the house looking for things to get rid of, fueled as I was by my desire to pare down our possessions to those things we love and use often. The closets took a huge hit, and it was during a cleaning rampage in Nicholas’s room that I found this old bag.
It matches my shoes perfectly. Not too perfectly, but just perfect enough. I now have a bag I can wear with my favorite shoes, and all I had to do was shop my home. Talk about fortuitous.
The bag isn’t the height of fashion right now. It’s small, whereas most people are still carrying parachutes with handles. The hardware is minimal and the label is discreet, like a good plastic surgeon before reality tv. There is nothing trendy about it.
But here is the thing–everything I pulled from my closet was cheap or trendy. Sometime after I bought that purse my shopping habits changed. I went from buying a few select, expensive items to many inexpensive, almost disposable goods. And because they are inexpensive, I bought more than I’ll ever need. Or, I replaced them often enough that I should have stuck with its more expensive counterpart. I don’t want to point fingers (Target t-shirts) but there are some things in my closet that haven’t lasted 3 months before pilling, fading, or turning threadbare. I should have bought a couple of $20 t-shirts instead of an embarrassment of $5 t-shirts. Either way, I’m out $40. Had I gone the expensive route, I might actually have t-shirts to show for it.
California is notorious for trend shopping, but I think I’m going to go back to my roots: classic cuts and fabrics with made-to-last construction. I want quality pieces that see me past a season or two. Heck, at this point I would be thrilled if my t-shirts lasted more than three months.
I don’t believe that something is better made because it is expensive. The price you pay is as much about good marketing as it is good quality. Still, more often than not, well-made won’t come cheap. And maybe if I bought a couple of appropriately-priced, quality t-shirts I would be more respectful of my money and my possessions.
One final selling feature: I won’t have to clean out my closets and get up at the crack of dawn for another garage sale for at least a couple of years.