Why I broke up with my purse

One of the things I dislike most about carrying a purse is the way it gets in the way.

Even the purses with the long shoulder strap. I can’t stand the way it bounces against my side and twists around as I walk so it’s hitting the front of my thigh.

Somehow, every bag turns into some Mary Poppins-esque magic carpet bag I can’t find my keys in. Even the one that’s as small as a wallet manages to swallow my stuff.

A few weeks ago, I had enough. I put my ID, credit cards, cash, chapstick, earbuds and some safety pins into a small change purse I bought in Turkey nearly 11 years ago. I put it in my coat pocket, and I was free.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about women’s clothing and fashion. I’m not alone.

My friend Caitlin Constantine put a post on Facebook with a link to this great piece about ridiculous shirts. The dozens of comments were outstanding—women saying, “Enough of this shit. Give us clothes that fit. Give us pockets. And forget about shirts that necessitate a goddamn strapless bra.”

Oiselle’s CEO, Sally Bergeson, has written and talked about the powersuit and enclothed cognition. She writes about clothes that hurt us: “These acts of oppression that we don’t even see because they are deeply embedded in our female souls.”

The purse is one great example for me. I’ve never been excited about bags or brand names. The only reason I carried a purse was because women’s pockets are all but useless for, you know, using.

And do I need all that crap I lost in my purse? No. I didn’t use most of it. Dutifully, I carried a Piccadilly notebook with me with this romantic idea that I’d stop on a park bench and write poems or whatever. But I rarely did without planning ahead of time. Most of the time, I write at my desk or sitting on the floor while leaning against my bed.

This rebellion against the rules of women’s fashion has spilled over into other areas of my life. I no longer care whether my wardrobe is varied enough (it never was, but I was still concerned). I wear three pairs of shoes to work year round. I can’t remember the last day I haven’t worn the same pair of bad-ass grey boots to work (October?). Don’t get me started on bras. Forget it. I’m not interested in those torture devices. Thankfully, Oiselle has me covered. I haven’t stopped wearing the Lux bralette, and have ordered another one.

Maybe I am a bra-burning feminist now. Don’t even care.

I want my clothes and gear to work with me, not annoy me. I want to move easily and freely.

Not carrying a purse has been liberating.

Michigan had it’s first 70-degree day today, and I stuffed the small, red change purse into the pocket of my skinny jeans, put my keys and phone into other pockets and walked into the grocery story without some stupid bag pestering my side. Free.


8 thoughts on “Why I broke up with my purse

    1. I love it. Go rock it!

      I have a Nathan belt for running that has four pockets in it. I might be busting that out this summer under my clothes.


  1. Oh girl I’m right there with you. I haven’t carried a purse in years, unless it’s a big purse/tote for work and I need it to carry files. I’ve carried a Coach small wristlet that’s just big enough for folded cash, cards, lipstick, and car keys, so I’m hands free but it’s still attached to me. However I’m currently debating getting a Real Wallet next that can fit in my pockets, or a phone case/wallet combo. Any ideas?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was thinking about getting a thin, men’s leather or faux-leather wallet I can shove in my pocket. The women’s wallets I’ve looked at are all too big.


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