Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Purse or Pocket?

Tyranny of the Purse
For as long as I can remember, I have loathed those things that are known as purses: small handbags designed to house not books, laptops or groceries, but tiny personal belongings such as a wallet, phone and keys. Traditionally women have carried purses, because their clothing is not designed with pockets to accommodate these miscellaneous items. Even when pockets exist, their design is not actually useful for storing things without distorting the fit of the garment or even interfering with movement. And so historically, women have carried tiny handbags, seldom experiencing the freedom of walking around empty-handed, the peace of mind of not constantly having to look after one's belongings, and the fun of spontaneous mobility (try running down the street with a purse).

In the twentieth century, some women have taken this up as a feminist issue, refusing to carry a purse out of principle and only buying clothing with well-designed pockets. But for the most part, the purse trend persists, with fashion designers making a fortune on this accessory every season.

Freedom of the Pocket
For me it's not really a political thing, but I do get frustrated carrying a purse. Over the years I've made an art of finding clothing with proper pockets, or else adding my own pockets to garments. Even for 90°F summer heat, I own skirts and sundresses with cleverly placed pockets for my wallet, keys and phone.

Looking at a friend's vast collection of diminutive handbags one day, I asked why she preferred this method of carrying her things. She replied that this way everything is always in one place, and she need not move it from jacket to jacket as I do. That makes sense - except that she switches from one purse to another on a semi-daily basis, so she still ultimately has to move everything over. But explanations are about subjective perceptions of reality, and this was how she saw it. When I talk of purses being a burden, those who like them probably think it's mostly in my head as well.

I've been thinking about the purse vs pocket issue more since I started cycling. When riding a bike - particularly if that bike is not bolt upright - pocket design presents a special challenge, as contents can spill out more easily than when walking. Clothing that is marketed as cycling-specific, even for commuting, usually features lots of complicated pockets that try to get around this. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. Personally, I find the rear pocket design of the cycling jersey to be an extremely efficient way to carry small items on the bike, and I've wondered what elegant method can be devised to translate this into streetwear and maybe even business-casual attire. Begrudgingly I've ridden my bike with a purse in the basket or strapped to the rear rack now and again, but I always wish for pockets.

I am wondering what my female readers prefer. And does it depend on whether you are on or off the bike?

59 comments:

  1. I'm with you - I only ever carry my keys, phone, and wallet, which is why I got one of these: http://www.etsy.com/shop/rockitbot Then my wallet/keys/phone *are* all in one place and I don't feel like I'm carrying a purse. It easily fits in a pocket or in my hip ulock bag.

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  2. I'm not a female reader, but I find it interesting that (some) women resent the purse, while (some) men wish they could find a culturally acceptable way to carry one. Grass is always greener, I guess.

    I'm very fond of my vintage Swiss military satchel, which can be a purse, a pannier, or a handlebar bag. While the military angle makes it butch enough for the most insecure man, there's no reason why a woman couldn't carry one. I added a few snaps to the top, to keep stuff from falling out. Cheap, too: http://www.armynavydeals.com/asp/products_details.asp?SKU=bbgswis03&search=swiss%20satchel&ItemName=Swiss%20Antique%20Satchel

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    1. I like that the purse exists as an option, and I don't begrudge those women who like them using them. What I resent is that there is no alternative to carrying it sometimes; that properly designed pockets on women's clothing are an exception rather than the rule.

      And I sympathize with your desire for a culturally acceptable man-purse. In Europe there is a boxy wristlet design that's quite popular with men. It almost looks like a camera case.

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    2. I hear you. I've found that as men's clothing has gotten tighter in recent years (skinny jeans, etc), it's harder than ever to keep stuff in my pockets, especially in the summer. If I keep my wallet in my back pocket and sit on it, it gives me back problems; if I sit on my phone, I either break it or make embarrassing involuntary calls. So, it's the purse for me (I'm trying to avoid the term "man-purse," which seems more to reinforce the gender rules than subvert them).

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    3. You know, now that I think of it I am sure there is a name for the kind of bag I'm thinking of other than "man-purse." Hmmmm. It'll come back to me.

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    4. No no. It's very small and it attaches to the wrist. It's an elongated boxy design, like a camera case or a bag for shaving supplies...

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    5. Oh, speaking of which, I need a nice leather bag for my shaving supplies....

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    6. I kinda hate the wristlet, too. But to each his/her own.

      Years ago, I used to just carry a wedge-under-seat bag with me when I got off the bike. Still do, occasionally.

      Regarding pockets, though: it seems like there's a tension between style and function here, right? I mean, either one of us could just wear cargo pants or one of those Walter Sobchak vests, if we wanted to. But we don't want to.

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    7. for quick trips, i would prefer sticking things in my jacket pocket (cycling specific and regular jackets). i hate carrying things in my pants pockets as most women's pants pockets are completely useless, way too shallow to hold anything securely. i have way too may keys to cram comfortably into a pants pocket and an old school cell phone that's not thin enough to sit comfortably. in the summer, it's too hot to wear a jacket, so i prefer a small crossbody bag. in this respect, the weather is what makes me choose between pockets or purse. i do hate the way my regular purse hits my thighs while pedaling, but i don't want to carry a messenger bag on my bike all the time. everyday work commute, i use a giant messenger bag to carry change of clothes and all the small essentials you spoke of (wallet, keys, phone). during my morning commute, i envy all those hipsters who are on their fixed gear, bagless and helmet-less. i feel bad for the students carrying backpacks laden with textbooks (i want to tell them to get a rear basket!).

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  3. Ha, that's a good one. You realize that you opened a purse of worms? I prefer a wristlet. It's that tiny bag that has a small loop for wearing on your wrist (appropriate name, eh?) that holds a wallet, keys, lip balm, and phone. It's so small in fact, that I continually transfer it from pannier, to handlebar bag, to a variety of other bags because, you see, I have a bag fetish!

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    1. Oh noooo I haaate the wristlet!! : )

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  4. I'm not a female, but I carry a separate small bag 3/4 of the year, largely as a vehicle for my poncho, which I could potentially need any time of year except maybe August-September. Since I have the bag, I also put a patch kit, tire irons (plastics), and a small adjustable wrench in it, and a small sewing kit, a pen, and a couple other odds and ends.

    That said, I also prefer pockets, and I keep my keys, wallet, iPod, phone in either my pants pockets or coat pockets all the time. This doesn't always work well, as today, for instance, I switched coats, and forgot to grab my wallet. This does happen occasionally, but generally I don't find it a big problem. I do have to make sure not to keep my wallet in my back pants pockets, or it wears holes through my pockets, pressing against the saddle.

    I prefer to have stuff in pockets walking or riding - at least the stuff I'm most likely to need to use, it just feels more accessible that way, I think.

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  5. I'm a handbag girl, simply because I love the aesthetics of a beautiful leather bag. It is a wonderful sickness to me, and is similar to my obsession with beautiful bicycles.

    For commuting, I have a waxed canvas satchel with leather accents. :)

    To easily switch phone/wallet/etc. from bag to bag, I keep the small stuff in a makeup sized bag. Then I transfer it from bag to bag. I am less likely to forget something this way.

    On the road, I often take a hip bag. This woman makes really cute bags on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/maytreeark?section_id=11152962
    This perfectly fits my phone, wallet, keys and cash.

    Though lately I have been trying to go out on the road with only items that I can fit into my jersey pockets, I find this challenging. I try to remember to stuff my phone into a baggie so that it doesn't get sweaty.

    I never thought of carrying or not carrying a purse as a feminist issue. I think that is really interesting.

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  6. I'm not much of a purse person, although most days I carry a large bike bag most of the time. I do prefer to go with pockets when I can, and I have a couple of small cross body bags for going out when I don't have pockets and don't want to carry a large satchel.

    Ironically, just as I'd bike in heels I wouldn't consider if I were walking, the fact that the bike carries the weight enables me to carry a larger bag and more stuff than I ever would if I had to carry the bag on my body.

    When I use giant panniers that stay on the bike, if I don't have many pockets I do sometimes end up carrying a small purse that sits inside the bag, but can be taken into a store with me to secure my valuables.

    I have a favorite wallet that has a perimeter zipper which I really love because it's like a mini-purse. I've had it for 20 years, and it's falling to bits, and I think I need to find a leatherworker to make me a custom replacement with the same features, because I haven't been able to find a suitable replacement.

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  7. Without a bag I feel like I might not have everything I need. And I don't like stuffing my pockets full of lumpy stuff. I favor a small cross body bag, or a bag in my front basket.

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    1. That is how my mother feels about it. Last week we went out to walk the dog and I convinced her to give me her wallet instead of taking her purse along. Half way down the road she flipped out and wanted to go back for her purse! I won't make the mistake of convincing her to leave the house without it again.

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    2. Ha. That definitely happens to women who are used to carrying one; my mother and some of my friends have similar reactions when they discover themselves purseless.

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    3. My mother too ... she likes to sit with her purse in her lap anywhere we go, even while eating. It's like a security blanket. :-)

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  8. I don't like to have to choose - can't I have both? Granted, I am extremely new to cycling so maybe I'll develop a preference. But so far, I've found it convenient to have all my stuff in a purse (I don't switch them every other day, though) - preferably a large-ish purse with room for a book and a snack, and kleenex, a hairbrush, a travel umbrella, and all other kinds of little things I might need throughout the day. Stick it in the basket when I hop on the bike, easy-peasey.

    However, I absolutely HATE the absence of pockets in most of my clothes. If I do just want to run out to the corner store and take only my wallet/ keys/phone, I am almost always out of luck. And I'd like to keep my transit card in a pocket instead of my purse, for instance, as I always have to hunt through the purse for small items. And my phone - I prefer to have my phone on my person and not in my purse. But that doesn't mean that I don't ALSO want a purse.

    Man, it's hard to be me when all I want is every option always, huh?

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  9. On the bike, off the bike, I prefer no purse. This becomes a bigger issue when I have to use one, as I will often forget it, not being used to carrying it. It is annoying and usually I opt for a small one, like a large pocket with a long strap so it stays on at all times (still clumsy). If I have to take my iPad, then it is bigger, but still flat. Might as well go with wheeled luggage! Love the back pockets on bike jerseys though, very useful.

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  10. "I find the rear pocket design of the cycling jersey to be an extremely efficient way to carry small items on the bike."

    I'm still waiting for the Paen to the Jersey Pocket post.

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    1. Well this was kind of it. If I can stuff it into my jersey pockets, I've found that I prefer that method on a roadbike to carrying a bulky saddlebag.

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    2. Yeah...I'd like to see a contest with pictures of oddest things carried in one.

      Genius (unhumble) idea: hidden jersey pockets in real clothing. Night out? Pop a few essentials back there. Time to sit in a resto or theatre? Utilize inner chest pocket.

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    3. Oh, I use the inner chest pocket in my coats all the time! That's where I usually keep my wallet, if I'm wearing a coat.

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    4. "Genius (unhumble) idea: hidden jersey pockets in real clothing."

      Fanny packs are hip again, for reals:

      http://www.etsy.com/search/handmade?search_submit=&q=waist+bags&view_type=gallery&ship_to=US

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    5. A few years ago in Vienna I bought this really cool thing - it was basically a large linen pocket attached to a belt that went around the hips. Same idea as the fanny pack, but looks rather elegant and works nicely on a bike. It was one of those things that all the women were suddenly wearing one summer; then it disappeared.

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    6. I mean both back pockets and inner chest pockets. Versatility yo.

      Those aren't bad, Alice. I thought for sure the link would include some girl with a perm on roller skates. Some even look like skirts but I'm not Scottish and this is about women so carry on.

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    7. There is a company in Vienna that makes bags quite similar to what you described. I have one of their small slot bar bags I use in summer when not wearing a jacket with a lot of pockets. www.urbantool.com I must admit their style is not for everyone and they do have some strange "bags".

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  11. I was been a purse girl way before I was a bike girl. So to me, the purse has been a necessary part of my biking lifestyle.

    I like to think that bags add to the personality of an outfit. And when I am on the Pashley, I really don't give a thought to the type of purse I am using because of her big accommodating basket. But on my Betty Foy, I like not have a basket on her at times, so I have explored the cross-body purse option more. I find it's a really comfortable purse-wearing state, on and off the bike.

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  12. I'm a student so I always need a little more than just my keys, phone, and wallet (and I ALWAYS have a book/kindle/ipad anyway.) That said I choose bags that I can wear rather than carry. My daily bag right now is a small, cute, timbuk2 cross-body that can safely carry my hard drive, Ipad, a small notebook, and the typical phone, keys wallet. When I've bought nicer looking bags it needs to be something with a long enough drop on the handle that I can swing my arm through comfortably, even with my giant puffy Minnesota lady coat. It also has to fit into the crook of my waist (which is high, making this a little easier than I assume it is for some ladies) so that when I'm carrying it I have full use of my arms, and it feels natural. Using the cross body I don't feel like my spontaneous movement is limited (I've ran for the bus plenty of times while wearing it) and as long as its securely closed I don't feel like its a burden to have with me.

    I do love a coat with big internal, or zipping external pockets for those times that I just want the keys, phone, wallet, my Helly Hanson coat that I've had for years is perfect for this.

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  13. I've always sort of loathed purses, but over the years have tried to forge a relationship with them, as I've found that wearing jackets and coats all the time with giant pockets as I did in high school and college is no longer really working for me.

    That said, I'm not one to change purses, so I'll get one in a neutral color and use it for everything until either my friends start commenting that the color is out of season (seriously!) or something on it breaks or wears out.

    For biking, I find the best purses are the smaller, structured affairs that have a tough exterior (leather?) and can withstand the elements and have a strong, small handle. For me a structured purse can be strapped to a rear rack, looped over a handlebar or tied to the side of a rack without losing shape or becoming damaged. The idea for me is to be able to cycle to my destination, and then pick up the purse and go without much hassle.

    My current bag is made by a company called Brahmin, but I've also had good luck with finding this style in vintage shops, where the materials seem to be of a more durable quality and more suited to the biking lifestyle.

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  14. For as long as I can remember, purses were things that I never wanted to have any part of. As a 22 year old, I am somewhat of an oddball among my fellow female peers because I own 1 purse and hardly ever use it. Other young women my age long to have the latest designer bag while I long to have more clothing with pockets.

    For many women, purses work and they are simply something that they like. I find no problem with this. To each her own. But for this woman, I simply do not like the hassle of a purse.

    As someone who rides a bike everyday, whether it be for transportation or for exercise, I find it much more convenient to use pockets or a backpack. I must admit, my love for backpacks is profound! I can strap everything onto my back and be hands free!!

    Being able to use my hands freely without the trouble of constantly securing a purse is a top priority for me, especially because I cycle.

    All in all, for my biking lifestyle, purses just don't cut it.

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  15. I count 8 pockets in the jacket of my Gieves & Hawke suit, 7 more in the pants. Some of those pockets have multiple compartments. It's an ordinary double-breasted and does everything the Rapha version does. While looking better. Until you've owned quality menswear you have no idea what can be done. I'm certain some of my suits have hidden pockets beyond the hidden pockets I know of.

    It would take a very talented tailor or seamstress to convert a mens to a womens suit but it could be done.

    Good suits are more available than you think in thrift stores and at estate sales. Otherwise they cost what a custom bike costs.

    I once worked with a grand old lady who, in her 90s, was still wearing business suits made for her half a century earlier by Coco Chanel and Hedda Hopper. She had pockets. I never examined the coats but that lady could produce items from interior pockets until you thought she was unpacking a suitcase. And she never carried a purse.

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  16. It's so irritating that pockets in womens clothing are essentially vestigial. I normally cart around a lot of stuff, since I feel totally lost if I don't have a large spiral notebook and reading materials with me at all times. I have a couple "office-y" purses that I use from time to time, but even though they're cute (and can fit a spiral notebook) they're totally awkward and I always feel fettered when I use them. I'm more of a cross-body shoulder bag type of gal.

    I haven't found the best bike solution yet, however. I made a pannier that's roomy enough for a change of clothes and cute enough to take out in public, but it's a bit too big for non-commuting use. My favoritest thoroughly worn-out shoulder bag is annoying to ride with since it slides around in front and hits my legs, and I don't have a basket to just throw it in.

    When I'm just heading down the street for a beer, however.... I normally grab my pocketbook, which can fit my phone and keys, but I still have to carry it in my hand. If biking, I've got a vest with a bunch of good, deep pockets.

    I have no good solution. I'm experimenting a bit with drape and pocket placement to make dresses that have unobtrusive pockets, but I haven't come up with anything that works for my style yet.

    My biggest pet peeve, however, is that my husband can shove his u-lock in his back pocket, whereas mine are laughably small. I've seen hip u-lock holsters around, and I may have to try something like that.

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  17. I love having a nice purse by my side and am pretty dedicatd to Coach. However, sometimes I just really prefer to travel light (usually when Bob and I go to see live music) so I have a few jackets with pockets that don't allow contents to spill out. With spring temps around the corner I'm looking forward to my Eddie Bauer Christine trench, which frequently eliminates the need to carry a purse it I don't want to.

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  18. Pockets. But I'm the woman who choose my wedding dress specifically so I could have pockets installed.

    As a woman I feel shortchanged. Maybe I need to take my Fedora habit to the suit makers and get a men's suit adjusted. I buy my skirts at the thrift store just so if I ruin them during the "pocket installation" process I won't be out a lot of money. :D

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    1. "I'm the woman who choose my wedding dress specifically so I could have pockets installed"

      You too! : ))

      I don't think a wedding dress looks right with a handbag.

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  19. No purses for me. Wallet in the right hip pocket. Primary (car) keys in the left hip pocket. Folding money, house-key ring, fingernail clippers, Chapstick in the left front pocket. Coins, another Chapstick, and pocket knife in the right front pocket. And that's for work, for play, for riding. For riding, I'll wear shorts, and either cycling tights or cycling shorts underneath (some bodies are just not meant for lycra in public!). Oh yeah: I wear either homemade pants or men's pants; women's pants pockets are too small and therefore utterly useless.

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  20. Well I'm a bloke, but I'm going to weigh in anyway :)


    I mostly cycle in jeans and absolutely hate having anything in the front pockets. I used to carry stuff in the back pockets until I lost a passport when it fell out! I can just about do keys one side and ipod the other, but my phone, wallet and anything else have to go in a bag.

    Basically whenever I cycle I carry a leather shoulder bag, rectangular and big enough to carry several folders. I carry it across my body when on the bike, and it's got an external pocket which I can reach back into, quite like the back pockets of a jersey. I like having it with me because I can stuff lights, water bottle, gloves, hat and whatever else in it when I'm off the bike.

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  21. I hate the idea of purses in general and rebelled against them for years. But the pocket thing didn't work. I'd either be lugging a backpack or a shoulder bag. I had many bags from India, Nepal, El Salvador etc that didn't scream 'purse', but still held stuff and had a strap. I have a handmade leather bag that carries a good deal of necessities with room for scarves, extra sweaters, and a larger shoulder bag for even more. Because I live in the country, when I go into the city, I end up needing room for this that and the other. Logistically it is difficult to take a bike into the city, so I have to carry it all. When biking, I just toss the bag into the pannier and I actually have a tiny 'purse' I will sometimes use if going for a bike ride without panniers. Ideally I'd like to have some nice handlebar and saddle bags to just put stuff into.

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  22. I carry a purse. It was made by Topeak. Actually, I have two different Topeak purses. They are both very handy.

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  23. I carry a Tom Bihn Side Effect. It's actually a small packing cube that can be used as either a fanny pack or a shoulder bag. It's small but well designed with space for the stuff I like to carry. I tend to sling it over my shoulder, but like to be able to wear it around my waist if I need my hands free. I like to carry fountain pens and paper around with me, so I can't reduce what I carry, without taking away my fun.

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  24. Peppy (can I has panniers?)March 21, 2012 at 9:36 PM

    I say if you can't carry it in your teeth, you don't need it.

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  25. I carry what I suppose you could consider to be the un-purse: the small Timbuk2 Messenger bag. Always. It's perfectly sized to fit what I need and then some, definitively not a purse, and doesn't bother me when I'm riding my bike. Problem solved.

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  26. How about "man-bag"? My other half uses a rugged tan canvas & leather bag for carrying lunch/papers/inevitable stuff to work.

    Me? I always used a small purse until I started cycling, whereupon I've become hopelessly spoiled by the pocket.

    Now I use purses only for dress-up, and then only when not cycling to the symphony, etc.

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  27. I carried purses when I was younger, but when I sold my car and stopped driving, I started carrying something resembling a messenger bag, because I was riding public transit everywhere and needed to just carry more than keys and wallet (this was pre-cell phone). I always brought a book to read on the bus, a discman, a small CD wallet, and headphones. And then when I learned to knit, I brought that along too! And is it going to get colder later? Better bring an extra layer. And gloves. And a hat. And I might get hungry, so possibly a snack too. And ooh, can't forget my calender and a pen.

    You get the idea.

    Nowadays I tend to swap out between an actual messenger bag by Reload (bought secondhand as a gift) and a single rear pannier with a shoulder strap by North St. bags here in Portland.

    And I've been accused of carrying too much, and I probably do, but that's really fine with me.

    At least I have an iPod now...

    (I don't own a real purse though, and I always forget until it's time to be somewhere all dressed up, and there I am with my dirty messenger bag!)

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  28. @Velouria: 'In Europe there is a boxy wristlet design that's quite popular with men. It almost looks like a camera case.'

    Like this?
    http://www.gentlemenscorner.ro/borseta-piele-maro-italia-design-elegant-serviete-borsete-6-21-1-693-ps.html

    We also have this old classic, the leather briefcase (with handle and shoulder strap) - very handy for work:
    http://www.gentlemenscorner.ro/servieta-piele-toscana-serviete-borsete-6-21-3-815-ps.html

    Fritzescu

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  29. "In the twentieth century, some women have taken this up as a feminist issue, refusing to carry a purse out of principle and only buying clothing with well-designed pockets."

    Good luck to ya!

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  30. Scottevest. I ride in the lightweight vest when it's nice, and the windbreaker if it's cool or rainy. Tons of pockets with balanced weight system. Great setup for my iPhone, too. Nope, I don't work for them. Just love their product.

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  31. I use one purse for a season and never really switch it out. It has to be a shoulder strapped purse so it's easy on a bike, neutral design to go with everything. Jackets and coats though? I switch them out constantly. The coat rack always has 4 or 5 different coats from dress coats to sport jackets to wool. I'd hate cramming stuff in my jacket pockets constantly. All those lumps.. meh.

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  32. These are two of the newer women's items from Scottevest. You should talk to them about making your blazer! In a lightweight worsted, it could be a real hit for them.

    http://www.scottevest.com/v3_store/Womens-Trench.shtml

    http://www.scottevest.com/v3_store/Molly_Jacket.shtml

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  33. im generally anti-purse - i dont like having to hold on to something or feel something falling off my shoulders. normally i use a backpack or a messenger bag if i have to take one at all. when im riding, though, unless the distance is short, i take a tote bag that i strap to the rack on my bike. i carry bike tools when i go out (hand pump, patch kit, spare tube, etc) and its awful to have to bring a bag just for those things and a phone and some keys! plus, i can feel the wind and the sun without getting all sweaty and needing to change my clothes because of the bag resting against my shoulders or middle back.

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  34. I never liked carrying a purse and hated having my hands full. But I like to carry a sketchbook, pencils, books, random multitools, etc. So a bag of some sort was needed. It was only recently it occurred to me to get cross-body bag so now my hands are free when I walk or bike and I have much less shoulder pain. Most of the time I seek out inexpensive satchel looking things. I dislike the whole designer flashy name brand realm and won't pay more than $30. For me it's just a bag and just function. I use the same bag every single day. Lately I've been using a Duck Bag by Baggu more often. (If they put pannier clips on those I'd probably weep with joy.)

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  35. Yup I'm one of those guys that prefers a bag. Personally I like having a tote bag to carry my phone, wallet, keys and whatever else I find myself adding throughout the day– groceries, a newspaper, a book... I find that with pockets I never remember which pocket I left something in, my wallet is always in the last of 3 pockets I check, giving myself a bit of anxiety as I think "oh my god, did it fall out? Did I leave it somewhere, did I lose it?". I once lost a wallet because I was biking on a beach cruiser (upright) and it fell out. I didn't notice and when I returned to the scene where I suspected it happened I saw nothing.

    And it's not like I'm constantly changing tote bags, it's usually the same one. I thought nothing of it but apparently my girlfriend thinks that it's weird and once someone said "nice purse" when I showed up with a tote bag and my bike.

    I like that a tote bag, unlike a messenger bag or backpack, does not get my back sweaty during the summers in LA. I can switch which shoulder it is on and now that I have a nice wald basket on my bike it I can just set it in my basket while riding so it doesn't cause any trouble while cycling (tote bags usually slide off and are difficult to manage if stopping constantly or turning).

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  36. I love purses. Everything in it's place. I use a small elegant Peruvian shoulder sling bag for wallet,keys and phone when riding on errands. I use a waxed canvas bag which clips on the rear rack when going to work.

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  37. I have a couple of expensive, very well-made purses, but I almost always carry around big canvas bags. These bags are easy and comfortable to carry, hold everything, and I throw them from rack to basket to pannier with ease. And when I stop at the store to pick up stuff on the way home, I rarely need to use one of their bags.

    I have a briefcase purse that I keep in my office for when I got to court or meetings where carrying a canvas shopping bag would be inappropriate.

    Pockets are useless to me, except as a good way to loose stuff (WHERE did I put that debit card??). I usually never leave the house without a book, a big film camera, bulky key ring, sunglasses, and a wallet - plus in the winter I need a place to hold my scarf, gloves, earmuffs, etc, when I arrive at my destination.

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  38. melissatheragamuffinMarch 29, 2012 at 9:11 AM

    I will generally stick with a purse for years at a time, or I'll have two or three well made purses that I rotate around every so often. I have a Coach purse that is coming up on being 15 years old that I will still randomly switch to every so often. The purse I carry on an every day basis is a Fossil that was supposedly designed to be a man's bag. Do some men really carry purses? I like its distressed leather.

    However, I have a love hate relationship with my purse because it takes up too much cotton pickin' space in my saddle bags. If I try and carry it messenger bag style it ends up sliding around and messing with my balance, or just being annoying. If I put it in a backpack or switch to a backpack - well, I'm a packrat. I will fill that backpack up which is ultimately not good for my back.

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  39. I actually love purses, but on my daily commute, a purse is not very practical, so I have courier bag(s)... to my style-conscious dismay, they just aren't the same as a vintage leather purse. They are cool though, and carry everything: camera, computer, sneakers, water bottle, sweater, arm warmers, keys, lights, lock, phone and wallet and they are comfortable, sturdy, and come in a myriad of colour combos to suit my outfits, Lately, I've been seriously considering a roll top back pack though as my courier bag doesn't fit into the milk crate on my new bike and the milk crate makes it impossible to wear a courier bag. I've also lost a couple items from the bag because I have to turn it sideways to fit into the milk crate. *sigh. Dilemmas, dilemmas;) And I will only use pockets if they are a. deep b. zippered. I've lost far too many items ( money, keys, lipstick, I.D) from using unsecured pockets while racing around on my bike.

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