Pausing over purse prices

It is, apparently, the new fashion season for purses. Do you have your $4,000 ready?
I am apparently missing some female brain synapse that makes us love purses. I like some purses, but I have never loved a purse enough to pay even $100 for it, much less four grand. I was about to say there isn’t an accessory on the planet I would pay that much for, but then I started thinking jewelry. Had I that kind of disposable cash, I feel pretty certain I would be a regular at the nearest Tiffany’s.
My defense would be that a diamond will always be the same sparkling, marquis-cut it was when you bought it. A gorgeous piece of heavy gold will always be a piece of heavy gold that can be melted and reshaped should it go out of fashion. But if you have one purse made out of nylon (yes, Prada has a bargain purse made out of nylon for $400), it will never be anything but a nylon purse. I suppose there might be some hand-stitching to factor in, but what else could possibly make one designer bag sell for $4,000 and another for $1,500? They are all about the same size. They are all lined with the same material. They all have zippers or clasps made from plated metal. What is it that makes any of them worth four figures?
I am pretty certain, even if I were to be complimented by every second passer-by, it wouldn’t make me $4,000 happy. In truth, I think I would sooner take that $4,000 and hire someone else to carry my $25 purse for me.
I’m not a complete fashion disaster. I have my own purse standards and they are fairly stiff. I love a genuine leather purse, but not stiff, heavy leather. It has to be soft, supple leather in a delicious color. It has to be big enough to hold everything I need but small enough to keep me from becoming the next Hunchback of Notre Dame. Above all else, it has to have pockets. It must have a pocket for gum, lip balm, nail file, comb and a dozen other items I never leave home without. I need a pocket for my phone and a pocket for my keys and a pocket for pens and a pocket for my reading glasses. It has to hold an 8-inch-by-11-inch folder without bending it, hold mail, a small water bottle, a snack and perhaps a book. This does leave a strong chance I will qualify as the hunchback anyway, but I am far too fashionable to carry a backpack.
I suppose I will leave it up to the housewives of Orange County, New York and Atlanta to support this industry as the economy falters. These are the only women I know for whom a wildly priced pocketbook has real meaning.
If reality show ratings take a plunge, however, I’ll bet we can start doing our celebrity spotting in the aisles of T.J. Maxx.


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