Sunday, April 20, 2008

Portable black hole

When I wrote about my husband's new backpack in February, I wasn't kidding about wishing that the company made feminine versions. Not backpacks or laptop bags. Just regular leather bags I can use everyday.

Handbags (or purses, depending on where in the world you are) have been a frustration for me. My girlfriends all got themselves beautiful leather bags from Fino (a Filipino company) over Christmas, and much as I loved them, I couldn't. Their bags—and most other bags for women, no matter the brand or the material—are all just one single compartment with handles. Most have a pocket or two inside, sometimes one or two outside too, but the rest of it's just one huge black hole.

And I do mean black hole. To find anything in bags like that, you have to stick your hand inside and feel around for it—sometimes for several minutes. That is, if you're lucky your hand can fit inside. If it can't, you end up removing every item in the bag when what you're looking for is at the very bottom.

And don't tell me that all I have to do is get one of those bag organizers—you know, that removable vinyl or fabric thing full of pockets where you're supposed to put all your things then place inside your bag. (It supposedly makes changing bags easier too, because you just move the organizer instead of every little thing you've got.) I've tried it. It only works when the bag is relatively shallow—just two inches taller than the organizer. If the bag is deep, no way. I couldn't see anything in there and I ended up taking out the whole organizer!

I still have lots of those single-compartment bags, but they're not for everyday use. Evening bags; embroidered cloth bags from India, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia; abaca and jute bags perfect for summer; casual bags for jeans weekends. They're fine for limited use. But someone please start making elegant leather bags with a gazillion compartments and pockets please!

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