You Can Tell a Lot About a Woman By Her Purse

I like a great mystery story, you know the way Sherlock Holmes deduces a life story from the callouses on a finger of the left hand. I really enjoy observing people. I love forming long hypothetical nonsense in my head about things I see. Not that that puts me anywhere near Sherlock Holmes, but my inner sociologist likes to deduce things too. 🙂

So I am here to suggest that the woman who shoulders the purse tends to the needs of the world. I used to wonder what in creation ladies kept in those cavernous bags, back in the day when I carried a pack of tissues, gum, and a wallet in something like this:


I graduated to a small backpack in my traveling days, one in which I could safely carry passport, water bottle, facial cleansing wipes, a crossword puzzle book, journal, pens, granola bars, and extra cash.

Then I became a mother and I resisted the siren call of enormous bags bristling with pockets inside and out for as long as I could. I shuddered at those vinyl totes with pastel elephants and lions, settling instead for a green Eddie Bauer bag that I thought looked at least a little bit smart. After a while I couldn’t fit the stuff in, you know, all those wipes and extra clothes and teething gels and fat cardboard books with somewhere down in the bottom a lone credit card case rattling around. By the fourth child I succumbed. It still wasn’t technically a diaper bag, but it was definitely a Bag to Schlepp Things Around. It was washable, humble canvas, and it expanded beautifully. Like this.


Then my babies all got potty trained and I quit giving them lollipops in the car unless we were almost home, and just like that I didn’t need to have a box of wipes with me in the quite likely event of emergencies. I have actually downsized. To this:


I love this bag. When I bought it in a fit of color-starved spring madness, I loved it. Two years later I still do. It has pockets all over, deflates nicely when I am out on my own, is big enough to accommodate a hard cover book and a whole pile of staple mom-purse stuff. I told you I would show you what is in it, just for fun. Now I am squirming a bit, but you can laugh at me if you wish. I can even squirrel away an entire bag of Cadbury mini eggs in it. When I dumped it out on my bed, I counted over 50 things. Missing here are my phone, hand lotion and band aids. After a church service, I get the Bibles, Sunday school books, used tissues and candy wrappers from the visits with the Smartie Man.


It’s how I roll. Maybe it runs in the family. A cousin of mine once discovered a screw driver in her handbag just as she was about to go through airport security. These days I think she carries duct tape. :O

Now that I have been around the block a few times in the purse carrying department, I have an idea that the svelte wallet carriers either have plenty of money to buy at any time what they can’t carry or else they don’t have people depending on them to produce mosquito repellent, spare undies, extra socks, glasses fix-it kits, phone chargers, or Tylenol. The alternate theory is that they prefer not to visit a chiropractor after jaunts on the town.

At any rate, if you are a woman who routinely has in your bag just what the people need, I say you should carry it with pride!

*These opinions are entirely my own and subject to grave error.*

9 thoughts on “You Can Tell a Lot About a Woman By Her Purse

  1. I can’t imagine what kind a female that would be that would carry a screwdriver. I know that I for one have never done such a thing! 🙂 This was very interesting, I keep a small bag hanging on my closet door to quickly transfer my wallet, and ipsy bag (tiny bag of essentials just for me). Tiny zippered pouches changed my life.

  2. I’m decidedly in the camp of liking to be prepared! When I have a baby, I don’t carry a separate purse, only a functional bag that hopefully doesn’t look too much like a diaper bag… I also use a zippered pouch for my essentials. Like that name, El , ipsy bag. 🙂 Dorcas, your bag makes me think I might be due for a new one, even though I have a bunch in the closet that are emotionally worn out.

    1. Dare to let go of the worn out ones. 🙂 I always keep them for a while because they feel like familiar friends but once I am sure I like the new one, I can dispose of the ratty one.

  3. I think it was the cousins mom that discovered the srewdriver.To her great consternation I must say!As for purses,I am at the age where I cant decide whether to carry a roomy one or small.A roomy one also keeps a stash of water bottle,sunglasses,kindle,ipad,and numerous other items.A small one smashes my expensive sunglasses and has room for little more than stuff for the grandkids ouchies.I truly wish they would bring the old retros back.I love the ones with a kiss lock instead of zippers.How they operate and work too.I get a new,old one when I need one.I recently walked through Kohls,Penneys and Walmart looking for a bigger one because I need a nice bigger outside pocket.Can you believe that I was not able to find a bag I liked! There are a few things I positively have an aversion to in purses.Thats chains for handles,I had one once.And the other is when they are soft and flop shapelessly unless they are empty. I came home then and decided I want to use one I still had in my closet.Ok I know how all this sounds,a bit spoiled and bratty.But I was completely honest.Im afraid my children are used to seeing me come by with a different,new,old bag very often.
    Someday I want to design the perfect purse! At least I have wanted to do it for years,and beings I will be 66 in a month,I prob wont get it done.

    1. Yes, Mom. I can easily believe it that you did not find one you liked. (pause for a moment of silence for the hundreds of times that I have stood and listened while you ranted about this pocket and that purse)

    2. Aunt M, I saw a lot of vintage purses on etsy when I was looking for images for this post. :). I agree, a purse should be just right. No point in buying something you have, that doesn’t even the job. Keep looking. 😉

  4. Such a fun post. Loved your “Show and Tell” about the seasons of a woman’s life and the corresponding bags that are needed with them!

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