Recently in the comments—perhaps when the navy Kelly appeared—I was asked about my current collection. How has it transformed? What gets reached for the most and why?
Living in the city and either walking or taking public transportation (I dislike cars—and thus by extension cabs) changes what I carry in my bags. I don’t carry extra. I used to carry so much—notepad, pens, checkbooks, water, computer. I don’t anymore—we’re talking cards (but not too many), coins (ditto), keys, hand cream, throat lozenges, phone, and the metro card. With this dramatic shift, I’ve quickly fallen in love with smaller bags. I can actually use them now! Plus, in a small apartment, there’s only so much footprint I have in the bedroom for setting down that day’s bag.
The bigger shift still has been my return to the shoulder bag. There’s something intensely chic about the classic shoulder shapes—like the simple bucket, the simple envelope, or the even simpler slabs of leather stitched together like in the Trim 1 or Marwari. When walking around the city, all I see are bling-tastic bags with lots of hardware or do-dads or logos, so I’m drawn to simplicity more than ever now and hardware is restricted to zippers or other small functional elements.
My most used bags, too, have changed since moving here, and this has motivated what I’ve acquired this year. Before the move, I’d stopped pulling out the Marwari because it was so heavy loaded up; now, I use it every week. It’s hands down the coolest, chicest bag style I can think of. I use it for jaunts into Soho, walks in Williamsburg, and meetings with clients (it fits my computer! clapping!); it’s easy to carry as long as I don’t put much in it and the subtle terra-cotta red looks wonderful with my entire wardrobe. Plus, it’s simply beautiful. Few bags better showcase the very leather in which it’s constructed, and Hermès Clemence is gorgeous leather.
The only leather that might be even more beautiful than those giant slabs of RV Clemence is, of course, Barenia. I’ve always loved saddle leather, but I’ve learned how carefully it needs to be chosen to work with a walking city life. Walking means rubbing, and black/gray/dark silk, cotton, denim, and wool (even after multiple cleanings) does not work well with Vache Naturelle on a daily basis, at least not in a bag that rubs against the legs. Peau de Porc (pigskin), on the other hand, works exceptionally well in the same situations. So does darker Barenia, like Ebene and Indigo. Natural Barenia, however, exhibits similar challenges as VN, so it’s something I have to consider in choosing a bag or putting together the day’s outfit.
I love my Kelly bags (especially the gold pigskin), and I love my Jigés despite the big “H” (which I generally hold hidden against my torso, along with the “H” of the Evelyne), but in a city that is at once filled with the trappings of luxury and with the evidence of financial struggle, I tend to favor the quieter Hermès bags or Longchamp totes on an everyday basis. Sure I could go even further down Nondescript Road, but I’m not about to turn away from the quality of Hermès leather and craftsmanship. For this reason, the Market bucket bag, the Marwari, and the Trim (especially the thin one) seem especially luscious and luxurious. It’s like a woman showing off beautiful skin rather than makeup.
So what about the bags I’ve released the past few months? The Indigo Drag: It really was too big. You only need to see it on “C” to grasp this—it belongs on a Glamazon. A Vert Anis/Orange Chèvre Picotin PM (really, yes, I had this): I didn’t think I would use the Picotin in New York City once I got here. I might regret making such a quick decision. Rose Shocking Karo GM: Pink really isn’t for me. I was never going to use this as a clutch. Vache Naturelle Bolide 35cm: See above. When releasing it, I actually asked (okay, grilled) the buyer about her wardrobe and lifestyle—I wanted to make sure the adoption was perfect. It is. I’ve since seen it, and the Bolide and her mama are happy.
And then, what are the revelations? 31cm Barenia Trim 1: This is the one of the most elegant bags I own. It is compact, infinitely useful, gorgeous to touch, and hangs on the shoulder with the precision of a butterfly’s wing. I love this bag; this was the perfect leather and perfect color for such a piece. Jigé clutch: Now that I’ve trimmed down what I usually carry, it is effortless to grab this for a day or evening. I use this more than anyone, including me, could anticipate. It’s the one bag I would gleefully buy in the boutique if Madison would ever get in the PM size (they don’t order it). Picotin: I was wrong—the Pico is super easy to wear in the city. The reason I truly, truly love mine is the Barenia leather—it’s thick and stands strong still (look at it!). But Bleu Electrique Clemence would turn my head. Indigo Evelyne PM: Wow. I’ve had an Evelyne before and sold it—it was toile, meaning I couldn’t wear it with jeans, and the design made my dresses ride up in the summer as the bag rubbed against the silk. In a dark leather, I wear this all the time with jeans and pants. But it can’t be worn with creams and whites—it rubs off on them. Sigh.
Colors. Most of my collection is composed of neutrals or red. This feels right. A full range from black to light gold, including blue, covers all bases. The toile and natural saddle leather Market bag is my most-used summer bag, proving the wisdom of having one light bag in one’s wardrobe. And then there’s red. Red improves everything. But I’m starting to move into color. . . But let’s save something for next time, yes?
So what about an update on the skin? Biopsies of my skin have been taken, so I wait to see the outcome. Next is the big allergy testing panel on the back. It’s all a long process, but at least things are moving forward. That is more than enough for a celebration.