- Trading Post
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Purse or Pocket?
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.
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?