Ladypeople, listen up. Are you carrying the right bag? And furthermore: are you carrying that bag right?
If you’re unsure, don’t fret. I’ve studied the latest fashion ads for instructions, and the great news is that there’s a style to suit every one of us, no matter our needs or personal tastes. Here’s what I’ve learned:
1. Family doesn’t have to mean frumpy.
So you’re a mama now? Congrats, homegirl. But listen: Don’t let your diaper bag drag down your sense of style. Your outfit’s not about sippy cups. It’s about knee-high gladiator Mary Janes with seven bows apiece and bold-as-fuck layered knee socks. Pack what you need into a stylish satchel that can sit worry-free on the floor while you pose with the fam, and let little Lionel’s lederhosen take center stage.
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2. Be all your YOUs at once.
Are you industrial chic or Sesame street? Why choose? Climb up on that scaffolding in your fuzzy monster blankie and boldly proclaim your bothness. Add a sporty bikini top and a glam metal choker featuring your favorite letters of the alphabet, and you’ll dazzle the haters senseless. But by all means, match your crossbody mini-tote to your shiny patent thigh boots. You may be a bundle of contradictions, but you’re nothing if not attentive to the little things; and your bag choice is what ties this whole adventure together.
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3. Make that bag work for you, ladyboss.
Busy womenfolk need accessories that know how to multitask. A sassy satchel should stash your cash and help you catch a cab. Watch and learn, sisters — this is the hitchhiker’s guide to the girl-power galaxy. You’ll never stand around waiting for an Uber again.
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4. Embrace the symbolism in every choice.
Guard your goods, girls. Lock up that beautiful box. Keep your valuable treasures away from the prying hands of strangers. Take the key, hide it in another bag, and safeguard that bag, too. Is this a terrible metaphor for making smart sexual decisions? You bet. That’s why it’s all wrapped up in snow-white fur.
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5. Get whimsical with purse alternatives.
Don’t have time to pack a bag? Don’t worry. Throw your essentials into the pockets of your long fur vest, and leave the rest to the giant wooden bird marionette that follows you everywhere. Can’t find your chapstick or gum? Don’t freak out. That’s the puppetmaster’s problem now. After all, that’s what you’re paying him for.
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6. Catch his or her eye with details, details, details.
Remember, when you’re trying to get someone’s attention, details are everything. Tattered leather futon? check! Fireplace that actually might just be a painting of a fireplace? check! Your grandmother’s rug? check! Prop a cheek on the edge of a shiny chair and stretch those pasty gams as far as they’ll go. Now as you wait for your paramour to walk past and take notice, place that darling lavender handbag front and center, like, mmm-yep this little purple pouch IS exactly the right size to hold a pair of Braves tickets or four bites of sushi, why dontchoo come and see?
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7. DON’T: a warning
Left: Don’t use your purse as an excuse to slouch and pull that disrespectful manspread posture on the train. Right: We get it. Your bag is so neutral it blends into the sand. Stop it.
This is melodrama, Janet. Get up.
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8. Another DON’T: also a warning
And now an important note about personal grooming: At first glance, this broad has it all together, right? Adorable pink cuffs on a fabulous tailored coatdress with a pop of color in an aqua secretary bow. Her business-glam bag would be the perfect finishing touch, if only you weren’t distracted by one thing…
Wax your heels, darling. Basic hygiene.
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9. Take what you please from man-style.
Speaking of business, here’s the work-bag done right, times two. Don a ladylike blouse and bermuda set, raid your dad’s sock drawer, and pick a python pump to go with the rich leather of your bag, because guess what, alpha females? Feminism’s back, and it’s all about carrying your grandpa’s briefcase.
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10. Supersize it.
Some ensembles just don’t work with a bag, and that’s cool. Don’t muck up the simplicity of fishnets and an elegant leather leotard with a bulky pocketbook. Instead, let your furniture bear your burden. Keep a beanbag chair in every room, filled with a mix of down feathers, metal BBs, and secret inner pockets with all your essentials: cash, cards, mascara, and mints. You’ll have what you need at arm’s reach, PLUS you’ll never have to stand.
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11. Survive at all costs.
Never underestimate the power of a big bag to save your life. What can you fit in there? Water. Medicine. Sandwiches. Train tickets. A new identity. FREEDOM. Grab your brother, Sulky Hans, and run. RUN, I SAID. THEY’LL NEVER CATCH UP IF YOU LEAVE NOW.
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12. Remember: One is never enough.
But back to fun… Before heading out for a night on the town, grab your favorite clutch. Then grab your second favorite clutch. Make them fight little battles with forks on the restaurant table to see who’s the best. Tuck one under each armpit and spin around like a dizzy chicken. Stick one hand in each and wave them around, flipper-style. The point is: Double your fun whenever possible.
Life’s a grab bag. Reach in with both hands, girl.