It’s not the size that matters, it’s how you hold it…
Want to know a secret?
It’s not the bag that matters. Ok J/k no the bag totally matters, but also important is how you carry your purse. Street style starlets and it-girls alike know that carrying your purse in an unexpected and seemingly unintentional way elevates your look from standard to superior. For inspiration I turned to three superior fashion bloggers who are masters: The Blonde Salad, The Haute Pursuit, and Song Of Style.
Here are five bold new ways to carry your bag like a modern muse.
1. The Leash
If you’ve ever been to Disney land, you’re familiar with the horrifying yet hilarious sight of grubby, shifty-eyed spawn trotting about on leashes held by weary parents. Nothing says “I don’t want to lose you, but you might want to lose me,” like a leash. When employing ‘the leash’ technique, think of your purse as a child; only better. Purses don’t pick their nose, throw tantrums, or rip open your lady bits, and compared to a college education, a new Prada is downright FRUGAL.
Unlike raising non-horrible children, which is apparently very difficult, maintaining a non-horrible purse is as easy as proper storage and regular cleaning. Actually now that I think about it, several children I’ve recently encountered could greatly benefit from proper storage (not under my feet) and regular cleaning (not in the public restroom).
If you’re contemplating motherhood or even pet adoption, why not polish your transportation skills stylishly by employing ‘The Leash’ technique of unorthodox purse carrying.
Using a cross body bag, gather the straps in your hand like a coiled whip for your imaginary naughty children. Hold it just far enough to the front or side so it’s close but not so close as to smack your legs while walking. Then simply a. take a picture and b. saunter off, swinging your purse/child about jauntily and feigning regret when it hits an actual child careless enough to block your path.
The Leash is fantastic for pictures because it a. shows off a cross body bag from the front b. employs your hand and c. keeps at least one arm from smashing hideously against your side. When photographing with The Leash, hold your purse forward center, cross your ankles, and delicately point one toe.
If you DO accidentally(ish) whack a child while walking with The Leash, defuse any tearful tots or irritable mothers by loudly chastising your purse/child. “BAD BALENCIAGA BAD BAD BAD BACK TO THE CLOSET YOU GO,” you’ll say, confusing the child and confounding the mother just long enough to scamper off.
2. The Heartbeat
There is a famous and incredibly depressing study about motherhood conducted on baby monkeys some years ago. Taken from their mothers, the young primates are given only a towel wrapped figure to nurse. Without their mother’s physical and emotional affection, the adorable baby monkeys slowly withered away, clutching desperately at the wooden figure. Depressing as fuck, yes. I share this horrifying scientific anecdote with you because in order to fully utilize The Heartbeat, you should evoke the intense clutching of an emotionally deprived baby monkey.
Imagine your purse is a baby monkey (or baby human if you’re boring) that has never experienced love. Your purse can be a crossbody, satchel, whatever as long as it’s not too small and has a strap or at very least a handle. You love your purse baby monkey so deeply that you’re coddling it to your bosom protectively. It can hear your heart beat. You can smell it’s sumptuous leather. The Heartbeat is deeply intimate; nothing comes between you two. Except maybe the wheel and/or a drink. Your baby monkey bag will understand that sometimes mommy needs a cocktail, as it is far more understanding and well-behaved than an actual baby of any species.
The Heartbeat works wonderfully on the ever flexible cross body bag, particularly the newer style of crossbody bags that fall higher and more centered than their less domesticated ancestors. For a more dramatic and equally chic (or even more chic if it’s a great bag) utilization of The Heartbeat, cuddle an enormous it-bag to your breast like an obese baby monkey or Britney Spears’ offspring circa 2007.
Sidenote: the wild, desperate look in 2007 Britney Spears’ eyes is disturbingly similar to the wild, desperate look in the eyes of those motherless baby monkeys.
3. The Runaway
Have you ever wanted to run far, far away? Of course you have. People are ghastly.
Runaways of popular fiction are often marked by an over-the-shoulder pouch made of a napkin tied about a stick. While sticks and napkins are still not chic and today’s runaways are instead marked by signs of abuse, holding your purse tossed over one shoulder is now considered the height of sophistication. Progress!
Any purse with a strap can be used for The Runaway. Ideally, you want a strap long enough to hit between shoulder-blade and ass. If the strap is too short, your lovely Lanvin will viciously slap the nape of your neck as you come to the unpleasant realization that your stride is less ‘delicate glide’ and more ‘ungainly trot’. Too long a strap and that gorgeous Givenchy will start smacking your ass like Rick Ross at Jumbo’s Clown Room.
4. The Target
Remember when Cher Horowitz faced down a mugger after that Cranberries-loving tool crassly abandoned her in the Valley?
Cher may have lost her shoes and sullied her Alaïa, but kept her sense of style. Today, that scene is an infamous moment in fashion legend and continues to be the gift that keeps on giving. The defensive, wary way that Cher grasps her purse is a fabulous example of The Target. Cher Horowitz really was way before her time. A visionary. A prophet.
The Target is distinctive because a. it almost exclusively applies to clutches, b. the clutch is held against your upper abdomen, below your boobs and slightly to the side. As if you’re shielding that fragile Fendi from being snatched by a scoundrel. Or you’re a 7th grade girl self-consciously carrying her binder from Algebra to English. Like a victim, really.
Carrying your cIutch like a victim may seem counterintuitive to looking cool, but trends often make no sense whatsoever so just go with it. Clutches, unimaginatively named after the way women are intended to clutch them, never made much sense to begin with. Clutches fly in the face of opposable thumbs and are the #1 way drunk girls to lose their iPhones. All hail the end of clutching. Stretch your fingers with pride and hold your bag like it’s 1AM in Compton.
5. The Boulder
The Boulder is essentially The Victim’s dramatic foil or, more simply, opposite.
The Boulder involves carrying a purse like a clutch: one-handed, arm cupping, handles or strap flapping pointedly as if to say “Oh you still use these? How quaint.” While The Victim is a defensive pose, The Boulder is an aggressive pose. You’re not only flouting convention, you’re storming the convention castle while carrying a Bottega Veneta like a boulder. A boulder you might chuck at someone wearing Crocs at any minute, just for the hell of it, because you’re hard like that.
The Boulder works during day or night, depending on where you are and what you’re wearing. If you’re underdressed I’d suggest NOT employing The Boulder because it’ll look accidental, like you wandered in accidentally and are now trying to fit in by pretending your purse is a clutch. The Boulder should say ‘I don’t give a damn’ not ‘Let’s play make-believe’.
If you’re correctly dressed The Boulder looks like a distinctive mark of personal style. When faced with the prospect of being overdressed, The Boulder is actually a genius trick to salvage the situation. Simply substitute that dainty Marni clutch with your chunky Chloe satchel to balance stuffy formality with a dash of stylish irreverence.