A Salute to Women With Red Purses!

What kind of a woman carries a red purse? Are you one of them? or married to one? Let me tell you how much I admire you, (or them) and why.

For the past ten or twelve years, I’ve had a red purse that I’ve never used. Even as I was digging in my wallet to pay for it, I suspected I’d never have the nerve to carry such a purse. I could imagine the handles tucked over my shoulder and hear it shouting look at me! look at me! and knew then it wasn’t something I would easily accomplish. All these years later, it’s still tucked away in a storage box only to be admired when I’m digging through looking for something else.

I found it in an obscure strip mall shop in Las Vegas that sold brand items at deep discount, the kind of place you have to check the merchandise carefully to be sure you know what you’re getting. It’s made of the softest leather–like the finest of lambskin gloves–and has the nicest assortment of zippered inner compartments with additional pockets hidden inside each one. There’s even a deep tabbed pocket on each side. Inside it contains a matching leather-tabbed keyring but, because the matching inner folding wallet is missing, it was marked down drastically. There are plenty of other places to tuck your money, so after circling the store several times while mulling it over, thinking I’d get distracted and forget about it, I finally admitted defeat. If it’s still there when I get back, then fate has decreed that it’s mine.  I circled once more to be absolutely certain, then headed back to the purse rack to claim it. 

Maybe someone out there can tell me why I continue to keep it–or even better–why I bought in the first place, when I knew I couldn’t or wouldn’t use it. Even the arm chair psychologist in me has tried to figure it out many times. Its big but not obtrusive. And it’s a purse organizer’s dream. Maybe it’s the color. Red is a color of attraction. Most of the time I’d rather blend into the walls and watch, and red places you front and center. The hidden pockets inside must be important too. How about places inside where the important things can be tucked but not scrutinized. How about safe. I think much of my life has always been about keeping myself safe. Substitute the word judge for scrutiny and we may be on to something.

Meanwhile I’ll continue to hold onto it in case the day comes that I have the nerve to carry it with me for the rest of the world to see.

Postscript: Mary Margaret, this post is dedicated to you and your Red Purse Stories blog, and to all the brave women of the world not afraid to carry red purses.


8 thoughts on “A Salute to Women With Red Purses!

  1. Alice, I carry a large red leather shoulder bag and I love red shoes. But being the die hard New Yorker that I am, I usually dress in black or other dark colors. (So much so that my grandchildren have always thought I am a witch, complete with black cats and black sox even with sandals to cover my cloven feet.) I guess the red brightens me up. Grace

  2. I have one, but I want a bigger one. The one I have is narrow, and I have big hands and a big camera. 🙂 Yes, and the most shoes I have are red too. I’m left over from the 50’s, I like shoes and bags to match…..obviously left over. I saw wonderful, magical new bags at A biggie store last week. Over a thousand each for a purse. I’ve never seen nicer. Do use that red bag. You will love yourself.

    Now I have this turquoise bag. It’s butter soft, I love it, I never wear it, and I admire the heck out of it every time I open my closet door. 🙂 I will use my marvelous turquoise bag just for you.

  3. I’m glad I can depend on you both, Grace and Mage, to do the thing I cannot. I guess there’s another whole story inside about never fitting into norm of peers because my family couldn’t or wouldn’t provide me with clothes that matched; my friends’ parents seemed to understand the importance of “fitting in” fashion way more than mine. It left an imprint! If I wrote it I would sound like the poor little matchstick girl. That’s why I probably never will. Now that I can afford to dress reasonably well, it’s less important to be like everybody else, but I’m pretty finicky about fabrics and colors and seasons matching. You’ll never see me in courderoy pants with a sleeveless blouse! Worse, I know that I have no one but myself for staying inside this prison I’ve built.

  4. Alice – I remember some pretty red shoes you had and wore proudly. Didn’t seem to be self-conscious about them at all. Years ago I bought a red purse and kept it for several years, never used. I finally gave it to my Mother who loved it and used it. Pat

  5. Pat! So happy to see you here! You know, you’re right! I’d almost forgotten those red shoes because I had to get rid of them after the RA set in. They hurt my feet too much. And I do remember wearing them proudly, but I don’t think I could ever have carried that red purse (that was already stored in my closet) with them. Seeing as how you eventually gave your red purse to your mother, you must suffer the same malady as I. I’m glad she got some use of it. I keep eyeing mine. I may just get around to using it one of these days.

    GrannyMar, a burgundy bag sounds pretty tasteful to me. I guess it’s like wearing red hats and wearing purple, isn’t it? Eventually maybe I’ll get too old to care. And I want to report I HAVE been eyeing that purse the last couple days thinking “it doesn’t actually look THAT garish! Hummmmm….”

  6. Thanks for writing a red ‘purse story.’ Would you like to submit it on my website http://www.pursestories.com? I’d love to have it as part of the story collection. So glad you wrote it. Now to carry it…… by the way, take a look at the ‘red dress’ post on “Ahead of the Wave’ for another fine ‘red’ story. There is something very freeing about wearing and carrying red.

  7. Oooooh, I just love this red bag of yours! Be daring! Be brave, Alice! Fling it over your shoulder…..just once…..and go out and about with it. I bet you’d find, see, discover things you never had before!
    Although I’m not carrying a red bag at the moment, I have over the years. Guess I never thought of it as being “out there”……lol I’ve even worn red shoes……hey, Dorothy did and look where those shoes took her…..lol
    You might be interested in reading the book I just reviewed on my blog last week…….it’s not about shoes, but a dress. And it has the same type message.

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