Chasing my It-bag

And learning that "it" is more or less a bile container.

I had been mulling it over for at least five months—that’s “forever” in teen years—when I finally petitioned my parents. Certainly, I reasoned, there were worse ways to go about navigating the treacherous waters of adolescence. I could develop a smoking habit. Or start a garage band. I could shave my head or get a septum piercing. I could cultivate my inner Mick Jagger. (“That would be so cool!” said my dad enthusiastically.) I could cultivate my inner Lindsay Lohan. (“Take that back.”)

“All I’m asking for is a signature bag!” I cried to my baffled mother, who—to her credit—was unmoved by my pleas. “If you want a designer purse so badly,” she retorted, not unkindly, “You can buy one yourself.”

That she called it a “purse” demonstrated just how gravely she was missing The Point. I did not want some lowly accessory. I wanted to learn how to be a grown-up, and this platonic ideal of bags would teach me how. This “purse” was my manifest destiny, only rendered in slouchy leather and shining hardware. Never mind that at fourteen years old, I barely had my cellphone number memorized, and my wallet was still a plastic zipper pouch that said, “Hello, My name is… Mrs. Kutcher” on the front. An identifiable bag accompanied every important woman I knew: my grandmother, my favorite history teacher, Mary Poppins. On very busy days, my own mother carried two!

Even now, I’m suspicious of women who dare to leave home without their literal baggage.
Where do they keep their spare pair of flats? Their gum? Their balled-up receipts for take-out, stretched-out hair ties, and cracked lip balms? How do they stow their to-do lists, their sunglasses, their forgotten prescriptions? Don’t they know that it only rains when you aren’t carrying an umbrella? Don’t they know that there is no greater validation than having some important man in your life turn to you sheepishly, pockets bulging, and say, “Will you put this in your bag?”

Perma-stubborn teenager that I was, I resolved not to become one of those godless women—bereft of Italian craftsmanship and life purpose. I refused to be deterred by my mother’s hasty dismissal, and so I raised the subject of The Bag often.

Success eluded me. “If this is so important to you,” exclaimed my mother finally, “You can spend your own money on it.”

“Fine.” I said. “I will!” I could tell that she doubted my determination. After all, the aggressive Radica Girl Tech Password Journal campaign of ’99 had crumbled in the face of a similar ultimatum. But this was a pursuit of a different stripe. Voice-operated diaries came and went. Quality pebbled leather, on the other hand, was forever. Flush with the combination of babysitting money, allowance, and a generous serving of my bat-mitzvah reserves, I commenced the hunt for the superlative carryall.

Weeks went by. I had bitterly accepted that the iconic Balenciaga I so admired on the arms of my spirit sisters, the Olsens, was out of the fiscal question. Instead, I doggedly perused the likes of Botkier, Kooba, and Foley and Corinna—attainable luxuries—steeling my paltry bank account against the injuries it was sure to sustain.

Of course, once you stop looking, love will come to you. And so it was only after a lunar
phase or two of searching that I found my way into a small, if somewhat matronly boutique near my Upper West Side apartment. It was tucked on a lower shelf, when I first spotted it. Its complexion was the color of fine wine crossed with Harold’s purple crayon. Braided handles gave way to a boxy, oversize frame, which in turn led to a wide, zippered base. Concealed beneath the smooth exterior of his plum-colored body—the new neutral!—lay an embarrassment of canvas-coated pockets and compartments. I saw it, and I just knew.

“Chaiken” I pronounced solemnly, reading from the bag’s understated, interior label. I had never heard of it. Maybe it was British. Or better yet, maybe it was French.

I needed to own this bag. $550 dollars and ten minutes later, I did.

Exactly how my fourteen-year-old self rationalized a purchase that blew through nearly half her life-savings remains somewhat of a mystery. Temporary insanity, I maintain, is the only justification for buying anything from a store with no operative return policy.

“It’s beautiful,” said the storeowner to me, as I stood on my tiptoes to sign the credit-card slip. “And absolutely perfect for you.” I beamed. (Liar.)

When I returned home, I paraded my investment around with glee. Let the record show: my mother was gamely supportive, if perhaps privately horrified. Years from now, when a child of mine commits a similarly heinous crime against common sense, I hope I comport myself with a fraction of her grace. At the time, however, I was inordinately pleased with myself. I gulped back the image of those three digits printed on the receipt’s filmy paper. I had no regrets.

It was two hours later that I first noticed the small, rectangular pad tucked between the bag’s buttery folds. Huh? I unfurled it over the bag like a protective shroud. Rain tarp? And then laid it down beneath it. Pedestal? Launching table? Place mat? I rooted around the bag’s innards for a label that might account for the foreign object’s existence. I found one. This is what it said:

WARNING: Weight of bag may cause stroller to tip over. Please use caution when attaching bag to stroller. Do not leave child unattended.

Oh, I had invested in my future all right. I was fourteen years old and too young to carry a
learner’s permit, but I had spent more than $500 on a European diaper bag.

It was all so suddenly, heartbreakingly clear. The ample side pockets fit formula and bottles. The zippered bottom accommodated at least a dozen Pampers. What I thought was a key pouch was meant to hold a pacifier. I stood in my room clutching my cranberry-colored disaster, and I laughed so hard I could barely breathe. I ask you: is there anything more man repelling than a freshman in high school with a diaper bag?

On the other hand, when you consider that a similarly sized Gucci diaper bag retails today for $990, my Chaiken is a real steal. Belly Itch Blog, a site I’m meant to believe is something of an expert on the subject of designer diaper totes, calls the Chaiken Diaper Bag “very cosmopolitan.”

The item’s now-defunct Saks.com product page hails its “soft glazed lambskin” as “gently
gathered at the sides and smooth at the center pocket.” Meanwhile, a user proclaims, “…You would never think it’s a diaper bag.” Why, thank you, “Bubu” from Clifton, NJ! I feel validated.

The Chaiken Diaper Bag has spent the past six years tucked into its cloth dust bag, like some rare comic book issue waiting to appreciate in value. I’ve carried it exactly once. But in a decade or so, it’ll have its moment in the sun. And when it does, I will use supreme caution when attaching it to my stroller. I have no intention of leaving this baby unattended.

Do you harbor a similar story? Please, do share.

-Written by Mattie Kahn, illustration by Charlotte Fassler

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Thoughts?
  • Irene Laura
  • ekah75

    great post!! Love it

  • Shana J

    Very well written! My first big purchase bag was also $550; I had to work three jobs to save up! But I wanted that bag. I still have the bag. And she too, remains in her dust bag.

    That was also the last bag I purchased at full retail, because I finally learned the value of a hard earned dollar. If it isn’t on sale, I won’t even bother!

  • Zuzankita
  • Sophie Smith

    When Kate Spade became THE designer, I had just entered middle school. It seemed like everyone at the mall had a Kate Spade bag, or “a Kate” and my mother and I referred to them as. And by everyone, I mean every cool high school girl that at the age of 12, I wanted to be just like. I wanted a Kate SO badly. I begged my parents and they repeatedly turned me down. So, I did what any resourceful 12 year old would do: hoard the shit out of my babysitting money. I had a mason jar in my room that I would cram with wads of $5 and $10 bills (the going rate for a 12 year old babysitter was not exactly competitive…) My mom and I were planning a trip to visit my grandmother in Connecticut that summer, and she thought it would be fun if we went to New York City for the day. I could think of no better place to buy my Kate than the Kate Spade store in SoHo. The purse was $165 and I figured out with the New York City sales tax, it would cost me approximately $183. Before we left for the airport, I carefully counted out my bills, folded them in half and stuffed them into my wallet. The day we went into the city, we went to SoHo first. I proudly marched in the store and selected my bag. My mom was up at the cash register with me and when the woman rang it up (only $179!) she told my mom the total. My mom pointed to me, and I beamed as I handed the woman $180 in cash. I proudly walked out of the store with my Kate safely tucked away in an awkwardly large iconic green Kate Spade bag. What? You think I would expose my brand new prized possession to the gritty streets of New York?? Please. She would wait to make her debut at the mall back in suburbia.

    I remember feeling so grown up that day, and proud of myself that I had bought my own “designer” bag. I still have it, tucked away in the back of my closet. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to part with it.

  • B.

    Oh I would have been very upset. Maybe you’ll be able to use it one day :) It does look pretty

    http://www.tripsandtreasures.net

  • Sophie Lewis

    I am having the very same dilemma in my life that you had at 14. At 16, I am absolutely dying for a luxury designer bag to parade around the city in all my chicness. Perhaps Chanel, Minkoff, Proenza, all of the above? I beg my mom at least once a month to go splitskies on the purchase, and I am turned down each time, my mother condeming the need for me to own such a frivolous purchase. But, like you, I make the point that I will become a woman with one of these bags, but the argument seems to do nothing for her. I am now working as a lifeguard, so my mother is even more into me using my own money to buy whatever I want. I have now been searching for the perfect one, but it is so hard to decided when the bags are so expensive! I hope one day I see one that I love as much as you love your diaper bag. xx

    http://scattergirll.blogspot.com

  • http://www.commecoco.com/ J. Jehanne

    hahahahah hilar

  • http://twitter.com/LifeMuseLindsay Lindsay Simone

    HA! I too accidentally purchased a diaper bag thinking it was the perfect “high school tote.” The only difference is that my mom made me use it as a form of “listen to your mother next time” punishment. Any and all flashbacks remain traumatizing. Oy.

  • Mary

    I think if I was that age again, i would give this a go http://www.vestiairecollective.com/ .. I use it now! feeling the bag love.

  • AtamAshish Kaur

    You are so stylish and I love your blog! I started a blog with my sister and we are having a $50 JCrew gift card giveaway…check it out!
    http://www.doubletheglam.com/2012/12/jcrew-gift-card-giveaway.html

  • Tia LeVie

    Aw, this brings me back to when I was 15, saved up all summer, and bought the cheapest Gucci bag available for purchase-still $600. I then saved up some more and bough the matching shoes. This was of Paris Hilton times, so the look was not completed until I had my small Morkie riding around with me everywhere in it.
    Now I can say-I looked like an idiot.
    TLV

    http://www.tialevie.com/

  • lavieenliz
  • http://twitter.com/kelcadet Kel Cadet

    This was an amazing post!!!!
    Horrifically comical indeed!

  • Carola Disiot

    ahahah great post! the illustration are great!
    New Post su Purses in the Kitchen!

  • http://www.fashiondenis.com/ Denisa

    Great post like always. And when I was younger.. I bough one Gucci bag for more like 2000usd.. Now I now, that I didnt do it, because are more better things. Not to have only bags and other stuffs. For me are more important other things, like family. Have a nice day.

    http://www.fashiondenis.com/

  • ashley

    The Coach bags with the C’s in wild colors beginning in 7th grade and ending when I finally got my eyes fixed in 11th. 12 bags, all different colors, textures, none functional or usable now. No one would take them so I donated them to a church last year. I regret it now, but in those moments, i felt infinite with my Coach bags (and matching patterned shoes for that matter).

  • Alice

    This post is HILARIOUS!! How apropro because just the other day my fellow late 20′s friends and I were discussing about our next ‘big purchase’ for ‘the bag.’ One of them had said, is it practical at this point if we are planning to have kids in the next couple of years? Maybe I need to direct them to these diaper bags. Does this mean these diaper bags ‘won’t’ tip over a stroller from the weight of everything to be smashed inside?!

    Or, should we instead, just buy that amazing PS1 and attempt to lug it around as a diaper bag! Oh the horrors.

    Love your topics & writing.

    Alice
    of http://borderlinefab.wordpress.com

  • Zahra

    This is SO funny! What a great story :) x

    http://zahraruby.blogspot.co.uk/

  • http://www.mylifeinthecurvylane.com The Curvy Girl

    HILARIOUS and oh-so relatable!

  • cca

    hilarious! thanks for sharing

  • Jen

    When I was 13 or 14, all I wanted was a Louis V. But being from a small town in Canada, the chances of getting one was slim to none, so I saved up all my money for the summer and got one off ebay, I was so proud of it, it was like my child. I saved up so long to get this thing and then a week after I got it, my dad got an email from a guy saying that the seller that we bought the bag from was being investigated for selling fake bags and saying they were real. He gave us a grocery list of things to check off to determine if my bag was fake or not, and it turned out….it was fake. I was so upset, I had spent so long saving for it, and I loved it so much, but once I found out it was fake, I hastily handed it over to my much younger and less fashion-conscious cousin and didn’t look back. I feel you man!

  • Alex

    From about the age of 16 to 19, I was fixated on the idea of having a Chanel 2.55. They were everywhere at that time, pastel purple coloured ones dangling off the skinny shoulders of mischa Barton and those big red ones that the Olsen twins had. I was convinced they were the best thing ever and cut pictures out of them from all the magazines and pasted them into my notebook, and found out every tiny detail about them I could. I’m lucky that the worst thing I did was buy a terrible fake version off eBay that i convinced myself might be real. After that, copies became ubiquitous and the bag lost its appeal. Weird how it seems bags capture the teenage female hearts more than any other thing and then when it fades, it fades really fast.

  • Nelya

    Hahahaha…. Oh God, that hilarious!
    thegoldenringer.blogspot.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/Starr.Ethan Ethan Starr

    Indeed…. I can remember back to my freshman year of high school, the Murakami for Louis Vuitton cherry blossom print had just come out and LV’s flooded our schools commons; I needed these initials in my life. It only took one trip to the Louis Vuitton store and one wiff of the leather to know that I NEEDED a monogram canvas wallet.

    After weeks of saving my allowance and hording lunch money I had the $234 put aside and was ready to blow it on an accessory that most boys my age wouldn’t spend more the $15 dollars on.

    I can still remember how posh I felt handing the sales woman my card and watching her disappear into an office only to return with a receipt printed on thick luxurious paper and a small dark brown bag filled with tissue paper and a drawer style box with my wallet nestled gently inside (much like how I always imagined the baby Jesus in his manger).

    The first time I pulled it out of my back pocket at school a girl next to me in the lunch line exclaimed “You have a Louis Vuitton wallet?!?! It’s beautiful!”… money well spent.

    I have used my wallet every day since and it is still in beautiful shape, I could never part with her… I named her Tonya.

  • Chelsie Moss

    My parents we’re just like yours. I begged them for, what seemed like years, for a coach bag. I was 13 and they pretty much laughed it off, thinking my obsession would only last as long as my Tamagotchi pet. A few months later my mom dropped me and my younger sister off at the mall and when she picked us up she was surprised to learn we each bought our own leather coach bags with Christmas/ birthday money we had saved up. My parents never gave my sister and I cash for Christmas again. Personally, I think it was the smartest $250 I ever did spend. 8 years later, I still wore my classic Coach bag until my dog mistaked it for a chew toy last summer. :(

    Chelsie | Mossypants.com

  • http://twitter.com/selenaaponte Selena Aponte

    a few weeks ago, I was so excited to purchase my Isabel Marant coat. I didn’t realize when it arrived that it was 2 sizes too large, I kept it due to it’s limited availability but I look like a complete fool wearing it.

    • Sarah

      get it tailored! Alterations can do wonders

  • http://www.littleredpurse.blogspot.com/ Leah S.

    I have a dress that I have kept for about 12 years, waiting until I can some day pass it on to my daughter (who will be utterly ashamed to wear it in another 20 years). It’s one of the first things that i bought with my own money, and it was my prized possession. I felt mature, and sophisticated, and wore it to every possible event I could think of.

  • zesiku

    AHAHAHAHAHAAH I WAS LAUGHING SO BAD:D UNFORTUNATELY A SIMILAR THING HAPPENED TO ME TOO AND THE BAG WAS NEVER WORN:)

    FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE
    http://www.diamondsandspikes.com/

  • Jenny Oliver

    If my parents don’t buy me something, I buy it myself, or perhaps compromise with them. My life is a never-ending story like this, and I seem to never learn my lesson with spending my money wisely. Like when I was 13 and decided to buy myself an $80.00 bracelet set, which then broke two days later, with no returns (Although that’s nothing compared to your $550!). However, I have recently accepted the fact that you should not regret something that made you happy at one time.

    jennyohhh.tumblr,com

    • http://booradley2011.myopenid.com/ BooRadley

      I’m kind of shocked how many people in the comments here beg their parents for designer goods. I would never have done that, and my parents would never have said yes. My first paycheck went towards necessities, and the money left over for clothes, shoes and accessories was pretty slim. A lot of you must come from families much wealthier than mine.

  • http://theurbanpromeneur.blogspot.com/ THE URBAN PROMENEUR

    Oh my, I’m so happy for you to finally being able to purchase them and not still fighting with this childhood trauma. However, this bag indeed is really stylish and I’m glad you informed us about IT being a diaper bag. Reduces the danger.

    http://THEURBANPROMENEUR.blogspot.com

  • http://twitter.com/CassandraMLopez Cassandra Lopez

    I purchased my first “designer” bag when I was 18. It was a white Betsey Johnson bag with big pink roses and studs around the perimeter. Every picture I took for the next month contained that purse. Clumsy me spilled a cherry Slurpee on it a few weeks later and nearly ten years later, I have a pink Betsey bag. The moral of the story is, never buy a white bag.

    http://www.thegrannytreatment.com

  • annie markantonatou

    oh! you made me lol! thnks for this, i needed it!

    http://www.anmarkdesign.com

  • debbywarner

    LMFAO

  • bing182haha

    Im crying..this is so great.

  • DreTurner

    In junior high me and my best friend loved the “cute prints” (emphasis on the “cute”) of diaper bags. I used one as a lunch box for a year. I also used a padded, soft-sided bottle carrier the following year. We were not cool in any way but it never even dawned on us to do any different.

  • Rocio

    I’m a little confused as to why it is written by Mattie Kahn? Are you not writing anymore Leandra?

    • Leandra Medine

      Well no–of course I’m still writing but I’m also taking on contributors (who, quite obviously, are far more superior at the craft) and have interesting, funny things to say.

      • http://twitter.com/lapeccataminuta lapeccataminuta.com

        Excellent choice, thank you for sharing!

      • Rocio

        No I mean it’s fine I just found the writing a little different from yours and was confused is all

  • Amommy

    This is amazing. Thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/osborra Rebeka Osborne

    This is so well written, funny and relatable. I love.
    When I was in my more formidable years, I really really REALLY wanted a Marc Jacobs bag. I promised myself that when I got my first real job I would buy one. I am still awaiting a real-grown up job, post-law-school and subsequently my dream bag.

  • http://newbornfanatic.wordpress.com/ Newborn Fanatic

    hahhaa omg this was so funny. unfortunately i don’t think i have a story to top that one. at lesat you’ll have an awesome diaper bag when you’re a mom in the future. *thumbs up*

    http://newbornfanatic.wordpress.com/

  • Belén Cavas Hernández

    I was in love with my mother 2.55 bag and now it’s finally mine. She gave me after a lifetime pass me requesting it eventually tired and gave it. I love it.

    http://iwanttobeavoguette.blogspot.com.es/2012/12/snow-queen-trend-fall-2012-2013.html

  • Belén Cavas Hernández
  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Julie-Patterson-Brinkerhoff/1472905916 Julie Patterson Brinkerhoff

    Are you pregnant?

  • http://twitter.com/alainaelise Alaina

    I had the Girl Tech Password journal!! Oh, memories!

  • CMJ

    I love this.

  • Felicity

    Hahaha! At least it’ll come in useful one day! Not funny, but I remember desperately wanting a Balenciaga when I was fourteen. All I could afford was a Suzy Smith rip off (a Suzy Smith rip off with a belt style handle…). I used it for years until the tassels fell off the zips and the leather started to peel at the bottom. It was my first “grown up bag” (ie: not nylon or a backpack) and I really did love it. It’s actually in the bottom of my wardrobe, along with the worn to death, bright pink, perforated leather pixie pumps with the broken elastic. I’ll never wear them again (ever), but they’re memories now. x
    that-bird.blogspot.co.uk

  • Anneka

    As a teenager, my mum grew frustrated that I systematically destroyed each of my school bags, which were definitely not the cute bags that all my friends had. I hoped that eventually she would buy me something lovely. But no. One day she presented my with a practical, horrible practical, green and brown Antler flight case, with a 10 year guarantee. That bastard was indestructable, so I hid it in my locker and carried all my books around in my arms for the whole year. Then bought my own.
    aminorobsession.com

  • http://twitter.com/Fawkeshunter Fawkeshunter

    Amazing! Thank you for sharing!

  • Chelsea

    When I was 13, my mother began to let me carry her old Balenciaga. It was my first designer bag (unless you count the coach wristlet I got on my 11th birthday), though technically it didn’t belong to me. To this day, I treasure that hand-me-down. It’s one of the most beloved and well-worn things that I own.

  • Addison

    Yes, back in 7th grade, all I wanted was a Juicy Couture purse… I’m sure it’s relatable.
    I got this heinous tiny, pink suede Juicy purse which I later used as a makeup bag. Now I have no recollection of the last time I saw it. It lasted through middle school though!
    Awesome post.

    http://willcodeforclothes.com

  • Michaela Whitney

    I was always a kid with really expensive taste, I even had my own business, breeding lizards, actually if I think about it now, I was actually making pretty decent money. But I remember neiman marcus had this brand of clothes called “Monkey Wear” it was really fashionable designer kids clothes. My parents wouldn’t buy me it, unless it was a really special occasion thing. But I remember buying this dress, it was black jesrey at the top, in a t-shirt cut, empire waist and the bottom was a small cream and black hounds tooth. I think it was a 200 dollar dress, that’s a pretty big purchase for a seven year old. I was a weird kid.

  • Sharon

    This is such an amazing post, your hilarious situation just made my day. I can just imagine the look on your face when you figured out the truth :P

    http://primpedandprimed.blogspot.com.au/

  • http://twitter.com/AleeeMarr Alejandra

    My first IT bag, was a weaved (knock off Bottega Veneta) small shoulder bag I bought at Claire’s.. It was gold and was probably $19.99 but to me that bag was worth real gold. I had no idea it was a knock off and I carried it with such pride you would have thought I babysat year around to pay for it.

  • Donna

    I don’t have a similar story, but yours is hysterical. Your best post so far, IMO. Last night I found out my Dad has cancer, and has to have his entire bladder removed. Tonight, you made me laugh. Thank You.
    Donna
    http://www.prettysparklythings.blogspot.com

  • Ena of the Silk Stiletto

    Such a great and funny story. Mine is more in the shoe department – blowing my 6-month savings on a pair of shoes I could never really wear because they were too tight. But boy, were they beautiful :)

    http://thesilkstiletto.blogspot.ro/

  • Marla Vender

    Not an embarrassing bag story, but I did convince my mom to buy my 12 year old self some Charles Jordan stiletto sling backs in purple. Which I wore exactly never.

  • Jasmin

    Reminds me of when I bought this perfect black lace bra on sale, the first time I wore it I accidentally unclasped something and my breast completely fell out. Yes, it was a breastfeeding bra. It was as if my life passed me by in a matter of seconds…..

  • mcb

    YES! my boss got me a coach “sanddune” colored diaper bag as a gift. for passing the NY bar exam no less. the messenger bag it was replaced with is similarly unwearable…

  • Guilty Pleasure

    When I was about 21 I was interning (unpaid of course), working as a cocktail waitress to make money for my commute/daily expenses/etc, and just about fresh out of college. The whirlwind of being so consumed by unbelievable gorgeous things at my editorial internship and at my very upscale bar job where nearly every woman strutted through in Prada, Lanvin, Louboutins, and Givenchy I quickly felt inferior and like I needed to up my chic drastically….now some people at this age would probably hoard their money to regain the freedom of not living with their parents after having to move back in with them after graduation but oh no not I. I had different priorities and since it felt like I was only home to sleep and shower thanks to my two jobs I needed to indulge in a major pick me up. I was fortunate that I made good money for someone my age as a cocktail waitress but living at home also meant my mother was monitoring all of my expenses and trying to get me to save, rightfully so. I’d need to go under the radar about my intentions. When I came home from work at night with cash in hand I’ll be sure to tuck away $20-$25 dollars each shift and if I made extra tips I could stow away that didn’t make it appear like we’d had an oddly slow night when I subtracted them from the money I’d be depositing to my bank account I’d do just that and beam with joy about that little extra. Oh did I mention my mother is also the manager of my bank?! Sigh. When I’d saved up enough money in my hidden little stash I grabbed my best friend and headed for the store. When we walked in I almost started hypervenalating with excitement, was I really about to spend this much money? I like nice things, and I take prestine care of everything I own, but the truth is even the designer shoes I owed I always bought on sale, I don’t think I’d ever paid retail for anything. I was full of guilt but knew this one be my one shot at a major investment piece before my money really needed to go to being a more responsible adult. I asked the saleswoman for the exact bag I wanted, what color, what type of leather, what color hardware. I felt like I was custom ordering my handbag. She came out with exactly what I asked for and I beamed, shaking looking at my friend asking her if I was out of my mind, and as any good friend would do she reassured me I should proceed. The saleswoman asked if I wanted to open an account or credit card, I knew that would only strike up more trouble and leave a paper trail for my mother so I said no. She asked how I’d like to pay then. I dug into my extremely inferior bag and pulled out a wad of cash. Her jaw dropped. She looked at me like she thought I was a stripper. Not a horrified look but more of a wow are you serious vibe. I nervously laughed and awkwardly said “I’ve obviously been saving up for this.” She appeared mildly impressed. I was, I was impressed with myself, I was shaking handing over that money, but near skipping and doing cartwheels out of the store with total bliss. I soon realized I’d have to be cautious at home though and hide my new baby under my coat when I came in or drape a sweater over her when I made a run for it to my room each day. Eventually though my mom caught a glimpse of my pride and joy and said “What a beautiful classic Chanel bag where did you get it?” I think all the blood drew out of my face, and I felt like I was going to faint having to face her. There was just no way I could tell her she wouldn’t be able to process why this was so important to me, how I could hand it down to my daughter one day, and that its such an icon piece of the fashion world… so I did the next most awful thing I could think of and said, ” Haha mom its not real” to which she replied “wow it looks it, its beautiful”…. yes it is isnt it…I still dont think she knows and thankfully thats probably the for the better, or all these years later I might not have been alive to tell this tale.

  • http://twitter.com/i_prefer_heels I Prefer Heels

    This is EXACTLY how I feel when i mistakenly purchase maternity clothes. They’re just too damn cute.

  • Lauren

    ahahahah…I enjoyed reading this! You are awesome!

  • http://twitter.com/iamstyleeye StyleEye

    I too purchased the Kate Spade diaper bag unknowingly as a college “book bag.” It was neither “chick,” or “european,” just a red, nylon bag with that ever-so-cook black square reading “kate spade.” I loved the early 00′s!

  • downalexander

    if only we could all afford celine!

    give away!! tassel bracelet here!
    http://www.downalexander.com/2012/12/da-x-az-giveaway.html

  • Lace and Chiffon
  • http://twitter.com/thefashionotes TheFashionNotes.com

    Is this diaper bag being worn with clear heels? RT @ManRepeller: “I ask you: is there anything more man repelling than a freshman in high school with a diaper bag?”

  • Joe Colombo

    Oh God, that hilarious!
    http://www.cabananights.com

  • Samantha Fernandez

    So so hilarious!! Love it!!

  • emonch

    My first student job, first paycheck, 17years old I sent out on the quest for the perfect bag. At the time in Brussels everyone had the Gérard Darel 24hrs, but I wanted something different. It had to be stylish yet timeless, and I went evrywhere looking for it. I finally went back with Gérard Darel and got the 36hrs with a chain strap, leather and daim. I was in love, inséparable, and still use it to this day, it has only become more beautiful with age.. I’ll put it away for a couple years, then take it back out. 500euros :) Not a minute of regret, even at if a the time my friends thought I was insane. I believe in investements !

  • Gillian

    I’m 17 and I’ve been secretly lusting for a Celine bag since last year, but then I know in myself that it’s never going to happen until AT LEAST college graduation. I seriously do not have the guts or the desire to ask my parents for it.

  • http://www.thankfifi.com/ thankfifi

    only you!

    ♥ Thankfifi

  • Ashley Garner

    Firstly let me say that this was such an enjoyable read, I even read it out loud to my mom as we had our own flashback to my moment in high school when I saved my minimum wage checks for months upon months to purchase a pair of vintage Chanel ballet laced-up heels. Later in college I had to pawn them off for gas money. A tragedy and one of biggest loses of my life.
    http://www.elegantidiosyncrasy.com

  • Vik

    My very first designer piece was a Prada backpack, that i got from my boss. I did choose it. I worked for a very rich fam as a nanny, and I got some well made designer pieces from her. i did not pay a dime for it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/soaringsongbird Normandie Wilson

    I LOVED this article. This hit so home with me. So happy to know that I’m not alone! love it!!!

  • Ella

    dear mattie, that is the greatest bag buying story i have EVER heard, and to be able to tell it years later with such humour? you go girl!

  • JLTS

    “mistook”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004415050381 Jacky Li
  • Dee

    “Radica Girl Tech Password Journal” – I love you. Also, now I feel old.

  • http://www.facebook.com/akritenbrink Angie Kritenbrink

    Well, in my high school, all of our bags came from Payless Shoe Source and you were lucky if you got something from JCPenney’s. I still wouldn’t spend $550 on a bag. But I will say – I have a couple of more chic-looking “diaper bags” now that I use as laptop/carryall bags and I love all the pockets and compartments.

  • Marissa Klurstein

    I have been waiting since the 6th grade to discover what in the world the acronym “ROFL” meant, but my disgust for such un-attractive text additives has prolonged this discovery until this afternoon. I had always suspected it had something to do with laughing… perhaps even exacerbated laughter, considering it has four letters instead of its menial three-letter younger sister “LOL.” This afternoon I read this article. And this afternoon I felt undeniably compelled to google the definition of said mysterious four letter acronym because I knew my laughter throughout my perusal of this article was much more deserving than the lowly “LOL.” And oy vey, was I right. Although I did not “Roll On the Floor Laughing,” I did manage to interrupt many a coworker with my extended, overly loud laughter. Incidentally, this article provided another first for me. Never have I ever commented on a blog post. This was necessary. High fucking five faux Leandra, you rock!

    ps. Since you’ve popped my comment cherry, I might as well share my own similar story. At the ripe age of six, I was thoroughly and wholeheartedly OBSESSED with the Spice Girls. Because I am an only child, this meant I was spoiled enough to own every piece of Spice Girls merchandise, which included a bike, toothbrush, day-of-the-week underwear, pillowcases, among others. One day, I was on a “playdate” with my friend from Kindergarten and her mom when we visited a greeting card and souvenir store in my very liberal California town. Among the political bobble-heads and mugs devoted to my hometown, was shiny packet with the Spice Girls printed on it. My parents had given me $10 to give my friend’s mom if we happened to go to the movies, but we were not going to the movies, and the shiny little packet was only $4.50. So I bought two, thinking they were playing cards, candy, or something really really great. What was inside I didn’t really care, it was just very important for me to own every single piece of Spice Girls merchandise. I made my purchases before the supervising adult could disapprove. When we were in the car I opened both packets only to find a “balloon” in each. Clearly, these balloons were condoms. Those Spice Girls really wanted you to “Spice up your Life!” didn’t they?

  • Vivien

    This was hilarious, very well written!