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Are Handbags Actually A Metaphor For Self-Acceptance?

I think I might feel the opposite of weighed down.

06.22.16

In partnership with Nina Ricci. 

I have publicly renounced handbags at least six times in the past. Not using them, I have surmised, can make you a woman of mystery and severe dexterity — to compartmentalize, to edit, to take only what you need and bravely discard what you don’t. Forgoing them was a suggestive nod towards essentialism before Marie Kondo and the era of self-improvement hurricane-d through our bookshelves and left nothing but a pocket-duster and some Tony Robbins-authored literature to show for it.

Now that I’m older, though — and not wiser, but certainly more realistic — I know the truth. I’m no longer falsely optimistic about how few things I need and in trying to be more compassionate with myself, I’ve entered the stage of acceptance. This acceptance has given me the following mantra: While I might not always have a lot of stuff, right now I do. And that’s okay! So instead of attempting to become the woman I think I want to be, why not feel proud of the woman I am now? She’s cool — and has a lot of stuff. So what?

That leaves me here, at the intersection of handbag and person, contemplating an outfit accessory that feels so new. New in the same way a first date does. It’s the punctuation that ends a fabric sentence. That demarcates excitement from inquisition. Diligence from caprice. Honesty and acknowledgement from unfounded (and frankly useless) idealism!

There is so much room for creative license here: one day said bag could be straw, the next, canvas. Today, it’s green and python and a member of the modern family that Guillame Henry of Nina Ricci is assembling in real time. Inside of it there is:

+One candle I plan to give to my grandmother as a gift when I see her after work

+An iPhone case she told me she wanted, too (Having lots of stuff also allows me to be thoughtful!)

+A notebook with a list of to-do’s that are in the process of being checked off (And more efficient!)

+Three different packs of sugary gum (Granted, I have bad habits.)

+A leopard print scarf should I decide I want to tie it into my hair (I already know I do.)

+A pair of funky white sunglasses (You know the ones!)

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+Flat slides (I’m wearing wedges; you never know.)

+Three fabric bracelets

Not in my bag are a wallet, keys or my phone. I’m actually not sure where any of those things are, so… yeah, I have to go. But you get the point, right? Bags aren’t just bags if you don’t want them to be. They’re a marker of positive change! Identity acceptance! Self love and all.

Featuring the Nina Ricci Irrisor bag. Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis.

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