IT'S IN THE BAG
We girls get our first one somewhere in our toddler years—a little, shiny, patent purse, with a mirror, two dollars, some Lifesavers, and a pack of tissues in it, and we think we're as grown as mom. (It's probably not intended as a lesson in self-reliance, but realizing you need to carry your own tissues is worthwhile.) For most of us this purse is not to be confused with the mother/daughter twin bags sported recently by Angelina Jolie and her daughter, Zahara (http://justjared.buzznet.com/2007/09/07/angelina-zahara-matching-bags/). Theirs are Valentino. Ours were vinyl, but it doesn't matter. As soon as you hook it in the crook of your arm and walk like the grown ladies, you are in the club.
Now, if Mama Jolie's bag was $1600 and change, that probably means the Baby Z version can be had for a mere what—$1200? But if we look at the handbag mania that seems pandemic in today's society, the Angelina/Zahara image is not so far fetched. We don't remember sightings from past hot Hollywood Mommie and Me pairings of tiny daughters clutching a mini Mark Cross in their chubby, sticky little hands. Did Mommy Diana Ross, take Tracee Ellis shopping at Vuitton to pick out her first purse? Did Janet Leigh drop a cool grand or more so Jamie Lee could carry her crayons to kindergarten in a teenie little Judith Leiber fantasy? And somehow we can't imagine Blythe Danner buying little Gwyneth her own Birkin. Or is it that we just didn't see the pictures?
But when did we all go crazy? When did we decide it was OK to spend the amount of a mortgage payment on a pocketbook? Then, at the end of the season, it is decreed that our golden bag is now totally last year. We remember when Coach bags were a splurge. Now girls carry them to high school. When did nylon totes with leather handles start costing $1200? Oh yeah, the 80's. But come on, it's not even quality we're paying for here. With the possible exception of constructing it with gold thread, what can you do to nylon that makes it worth $1200? Oh yeah, make sure everybody else knows we can afford to pay $1200 for it.
Don't get us wrong. We like fashion as much as the next girl—maybe even more. We have the 800lb September Vogue sitting right on the desk—because even if you're not a regular reader, you can't say you like fashion if you don't get September's Vogue—every fashionista (and wannabe) knows that for goodness sakes (and we may as well admit it here—we totally enjoy watching Full Frontal Fashion during the collections, because. . . hell, there's no good reason. Just because beautiful clothes make us go, "Ahhh," ridiculous ones make us laugh, and it reminds us of our crazy days in the fashion business.)
BUT, and it's a big BUT, we don't like the tyranny of the fashion oligarchy. They rule with an iron hand, covered of course in this years must-have glove (along with belts, a big comeback accessory for Fall) or adorned with the all important bangle, or charm bracelet, set off by nails manicured in THE color of the season—Chanel black— (which we do know was really two seasons ago but it sounds so dramatic) and of course clutching a tube of the season's perfect nude/red/bronze/plum lipstick.
Who sets these trends we are all supposed to follow? Do they live in the real world? Have real jobs? Real lives? Have to pay real bills every month with checkbooks they take out of their two thousand dollar purses? Oh yeah, they do have jobs—we think they're called trend forecasters (bet you high school guidance counselor didn't tell you about that career). But why do we let them make us crazy and keep us in debt?
Do you know there's even a place where you can rent the right purse—by the month or the week—(http:/bagborroworsteal.com). They have discount pricing for members of course, and even though Mark Cross and Hermes are not available for lease (at least from this site) apparently business is booming.
But somehow it seems to us that the bag mania is out of control and we really gotta get a grip—not on the bag, but on what might be actually important.
P.S. We're giving a shout out to our good friend Chrisena Coleman, reporter at the NY Daily News and founder of Just Between Girlfriends, who's been nominated for a Hoodie Award for best Community Leader. The award competition is being sponsored by The Steve Harvey Radio Show. So please check out the show/contest site and give her your vote.
Chrisena ColemanCEO -Just Between GirlfriendsHackensack, NJ 07601WBLS 107.5 FM New York, NY
Chrisena Coleman is an award-winning journalist at the New York Daily News and the founder of "Just Between Girlfriends". As a veteran reporter and head of a national nonprofit organization that assists women and children in need, Chrisena is a selfless human being who is known for her generosity and willingness to help others in her community. Chrisena has catapulted "Just Between Girlfriends" from a best selling book into a national women's organization with more than 5,000 members across the country.