Thursday, January 17, 2008
As a younger woman, I switched purses for different outfits. Then, I went through a stage where I tried to make do with only one basic handbag and an evening bag for extra special occasions. In fact, I tried hard to follow the very sensible rule of having only one neutral as the basis for your entire wardrobe and choosing all of your shoes, purses, coats, etc. in that one neutral.
Alas, I never have quite settled in on just one basic neutral. I blame it on my coloring. I am a light to soft summer, which means that I have a cool-based complexion but with some measure of warmth. My best neutrals are hard to find some years, especially in fall and winter clothing. Plus, though I should stick to cool neutrals, I find myself being allured by camel or brown on occasion, and I have just enough warmth to get away with that.
Camel is a versatile option, as it goes with black or certain shades of brown. I've also found red or cordovan to be a surprisingly neutral option for all but my most delicate pastels.
I envy my friend who buys black skirts, black pants, black shoes, and a black purse and pairs them with blouses and jewelry that suit her winter complexion and hair. Her best colors are the colors that look best with black. She always looks fantastic, yet with a minimum of fuss and expense. Shopping for her is no-brainer. If something is black or if it's in one of her best colors, it'll work with everything else she owns.
As for me, however, I've decided to accept for the moment that my wardrobe needs more than one purse to make it work. So, I'm going back to switching the contents of handbag from time to time. This will actually be good for me, as it will force me to keep my bag clean of old receipts and such.
This means that I will try once again to corral the contents of my purse somewhat after the manner of organizing expert, Emily Barnes. She puts everything in her everyday purse into three or four smaller cosmetic bags or purses of various sizes and colors. Then, when she switches a purse, all she has to do is to slip the cosmetic bags into another handbag. If she's going somewhere where she doesn't need every one of her little bags, she only puts in what's appropriate.
I doubt if I'll include everything Mrs. Barnes does. She, like many of her peers, has one of those Mary Poppins purses we talked about earlier on this blog, from which the women of her generation seemingly are able to produce anything a body could need in any situation. However, I think I can come up with a doable system for me.
Here are the contents of her purse. Obviously, she wrote this before the days of cell phones and other gadgets which we now carry with us:
2. Makeup Bag #1
change for a phone call
(While we do use cell phones today, I can see the value of having a few bucks or some change in a bag that's separate from your wallet. If you were to lose your wallet or if someone reached into your bag and stole your wallet, you'd still have some money with you.)
breath mints/gum/cough drops
matches....? Not sure why she included that, as I wouldn't think she was a smoker. Maybe, it's to start a campfire if you're stranded or to light your way if you're in a building when the lights go out? Suggestions, anyone?)
4. Sunglass case
5. Eyeglass case for reading/spare glasses.
6. Small bag I
seldom used credit cards
tea bag/artificial sweetener/aspirin.
7. Small Bag 2
reading material-small Bible, paperback book.
What about you? Do you stick to one neutral only in your wardrobe, or do you have shoes and purses in different colors? How often do you switch purses? How do you organize your purse?
I'd love to hear your thoughts.
P.S. Meredith did a wonderful article about how she keeps her purse. You can find it on her site, Like Merchant ships, or on the Ladies Finishing School site. I will be loading the other classes onto the Finishing school site throughout the year, so check it from time to time to see what's new.