Dressing for the day often begins with one thing – an item of apparel, a colour, a fabric or even an accessory. The rest of the look is built around that point.
The newest addition to my closet is a handbag, a gift from the boy’s mum. As he gave it to me, he cast a wary gaze at my red tote and asked,
“You aren’t…terribly attached to that bag, are you?”
I laughed and told him a new bag was always delightful. He looked mystified. Ah well, the things a man will never understand about a woman! Sure enough, when I called his mum to thank her and tell her she needn’t have gone to the trouble, she just said,
“Shopping is always a pleasure!”
🙂 Cue rerun of mystified look.
So here’s what my bag collection looks like at the moment: A big lime-green Rhysetta handbag, the aforementioned red tote from Baggit (my favorite), a brown leather satchel and an identical black one (both used in my corporate days), a purple square bag from Esbeda, cloth bags from EcoFrendz (featured on I Style!), a kantha-embroidered jhola and sundry clutches of the neon-coloured plastic variety. (No, the boy still wouldn’t understand)
If there’s one thing the wardrobe has been lacking, it’s a dignified-not-boring, coloured-not-whacky bag. The colourful stuff has been fun to carry around and matches most of my looks. The staid brown and black are the ‘safe’ options for work and such occasions. But this new bag fits neatly in between.
It’s a sort of dusty rose coloured leather. My mum would probably call it cherry tan though I’ve never seen either a fruit or a skin colored that way. It’s a comfortable foot by foot-and-half size which makes it perfect for a day out (wallet, keys, handkerchief, make-up, water bottle, scarf, book, iPod). The flap has white criss-cross stitching over it which would have stood out starkly on a darker colour or yellowed in a dirty way on a white/cream bag. On this however, it blends in just right creating a subtle contrast with the rest of the bag without being in your face about it. The fittings are matted gold and include zippers down each pocket, a magnetic fastener and handle rings. In addition, a lock embellishment hangs down the front flap. To my surprise, I found a similarly themed key attached to the inner zip which fits this lock perfectly!
Now the colour proved to be a challenge for me. Red being my favorite colour, dusty rose would normally be a snap for me. But my look is usually silver (oxidized or polished), wood or plastic. Gold isn’t my usual theme but I liked the muted look of this one and how it added to the colour of the bag, so I set my brain to work.
It wasn’t long before I realised I already had several articles of the red-and-gold persuasion which had faced similar dilemmas earlier and hence hadn’t seen much use. I just put all of them together.
I started with a red wraparound skirt with bright prints and adorned by gold sequins (which catch the light when I move but make it a difficult garment to match with anything else).
This I paired with a muted gold mock turtleneck I once received as a gift and never had much call to wear (for the same reason). This top with its zipper that goes all the way up the front to the neck feels rather awkward, like it’s caught in an identity crisis between sportswear and glamour. Also, I’m not sure the gold fabric goes well with a silver zipper or with my complexion.
To break that up, I kept the zipper lower, opening out the flaps to look like a collar. To this, I added a bead-and-metal neckpiece bought from Delhi’s Tibetan market, years ago. A word on this necklace – I’d drooled over those exotic items of jewelery for years before I finally bought one. Once home, I realised that everything else I wore look drab in comparison. Yet another gold-coloured item relegated to the ‘someday I’ll figure out how to wear it’ pile!
My first choice of footwear was brown suede boots. But considering the drama of the neckpiece and the bright skirt, I thought that would be too much. I settled instead for my trusty red snakeskin sandals. Here’s how it turned out.
Cross-posted at The Idea-smithy.