I'll start with a brief disclaimer that this post is not sponsored or intended to promote any specific products.
Now that that's out of the way, let's talk about purses. I have never been the sort of person who will notice your handbag or be impressed if you have a nice one. I have a vague awareness of what the fancy brands are, but I can't imagine spending the money to actually own one of them. The nicest bag I have ever purchased is this one:
This bag was how people recognized me the last time I went to a BlogHer Conference. I liked it so much that I bought another one just like it once it started to wear out.
Cross-body bags were my thing for quite a while, but I've discovered something much more freeing: something my friend Toast refers to as my "purse coat."
A few years back, I bought myself an 18-pocket trench coat made by SCOTTeVEST. ThinkGeek had them for sale in black or red and although the red was tempting, I chose black because I didn't want to run around dressed like Carmen Sandiego.
At the time, I figured I'd use all the features for stowing electronics. However, the more mundane pockets have proven to be the most useful. Last fall I established a system that let me ditch my purse and wallet altogether and I haven't gone back. Here's how I load up the more important pockets of my purse coat:
- ID Pocket - Driver's license, credit card, debit card, Costco card and health insurance card.
- Shallow zipper pocket - Cash and coins.
I'll pause a moment here to admit that it's a little inconvenient to unbutton my coat and wave it open like someone selling knockoff watches on the street every time I need to access money or cards. I still maintain that it's better than dragging a bag around on my shoulder, though. Let's continue:
- Left-hand breast pocket - Cell phone. Unfortunately, upgrading to an iPhone 7 means that my phone is a little too big to fit securely beneath the velcro fastener at the top of the pocket, so my phone falls out if I'm not careful.
- Right-hand breast pocket - Car key. Since my car has push-button start, I never have to take the key out; I just have to have my coat with me when I need to drive somewhere.
- Left outside pocket (magnet clasp) - Keys to my dad's place. Key to an office where I sometimes work part-time. Egg-shaped lip balm. Tiny dental floss container.
- Right outside pocket (magnet clasp) - House keys, plus an extra front door key and bottle opener affixed to a stretchy keyring that's part of the coat. Kleenex. Grocery list, if applicable. This pocket also has an elastic band in it that will hold a water bottle upright, so it's great for smuggling beverages. Allegedly.
- There's also a pocket with a glasses cleaning cloth attached, but I have a hard time remembering which pocket it is.
You may be asking, "Isn't it a little cold for your purse coat this time of year?" Why, yes! Yes it is. Fortunately, I have a big, fluffy coat that happens to fit over the purse coat. It makes me look like a grizzly bear, but that's the case whether or not it's worn over another coat.
Okay, great. Well, what about when it's 100°F next summer? Yeah, that's where this all falls down. However, I am so on board with the whole not-carrying-a-purse thing that I have recently acquired an inexpensive pair of boots with a wallet compartment:
The boots won't carry me into the summer either, but at least they provide another purse-free option. Eventually I may have to start carrying a bag of some sort again, but I'm doing everything possible to forestall that day.