There are certain things that maketh a classy woman. All French women and Sandtonian Kugels will tell you this.
One example are shoes. You may be dressed like a hobo but if you have Jimmy Choos or at the very least Ninth Avenue West, it is not the same as a no name brand off your local factory outlet stocking out of China run by random Indian guy.
So the other day I convinced myself what I really needed was a large size buttercup yellow le Pliage handbag from Longchamp. This range is insanely popular in the square mile in London and among overseas Chinese. I also spotted it on a chair in the leafy suburbs of Johannesburg in February. The reasons we sell ourselves these bags are brilliant are they are super light, strong, easy to clean and waterproof. They origami down so the press stud that clips over the top of the bag also keeps it neatly packed when it is folded like a little love letter, never mind that you almost never fold it down. Made up of Italian leather straps, gold zippers and thick lined synthetic materials for the actual bag part, it is not exactly the cheapest nylon bag on the market. The bags come in multiple colours and sizes and are the ‘affordable’ end of the Longchamp label which pitches at the lower end of the true luxury brands or the highest end of the medium priced ranges depending on who you speak to. (When more than the handles become leather, the price shoots up quite dramatically.) The proven popularity of this bag was when I saw someone using a small brown one for the main handbag and a large black one for a gym bag, a slightly ridiculous move because the different colours and same style just looked like she couldn’t get her act together.
In comparison you have discount stores dealing in look alike bags where the zips slide off if you pull too hard. Or they look fashionable for a few months then the ends start fraying and the colour rubs off. Charity shops sell the ubiquitous canvas A4 print bags that just about take your knitting or a notebook but not much else, with no way to close them, the thin fabric threatening to explode under weight. The middle of the range shops deal in a pot luck of trendy over comfort and longevity options, perfect for a year or so before fashions change or the bag develops an issue that causes you to lose your love affair with it in the same manner you discover that your boyfriend was not all you thought he was.
Nevertheless, I was absurdly proud of my purchase. Partly because of the very vibrant yellow because I really am the worst person when it comes to fondness of colour. The bag was large and roomy and would serve for so much practically and I bought it on sale I told myself.
I walked home with it a few days later. And saw a woman with a blue bag almost exactly the same size as mine. Hers did not zip shut so she was in danger of being pickpocketed. Her bag though was just as strong and light as mine and doing the job just as well. It was an Ikea* bag, bought for 50p probably, when she went off to buy flat pack furniture which was meant to take random household.
(Ikea* – Swedish brand known for rock bottom prices for massive warehouses of furniture and household goods, very cheap, sometimes of dubious quality as a result, NOT what super trendy people admit to owning)