Thursday, 31 December 2015

'Old Lady' is a Matter of Perspective

Once, while I was in a shop looking at some scented soaps I ended up in discussion about them with the shop owner who told me that the floral scents were very popular with the young women and I expressed surprise as to me florals have a bit of an old lady association.  But it's all relative and there are young women now who associate oriental scents or the smell of patchouli and sandalwood with their mothers or grandmothers.

I have a few associations of my own that are not typical apparently.  Those hipster glasses, sometimes known as Buddy Holly glasses, look just like the kind both of my grandfathers wore.   My great aunt and uncle were somewhat modern for their time and their home was filled with what we now call Mid-Century Modern furniture and decor.  My grandparents had some too. So to me it is old people decor and I've never liked it.  It just looks outdated, although I think it is also not to my taste regardless of what date it belongs to.

My grandmother carried a handbag like this one except always navy blue and with silver toned not brass hardware.


Grandma did not totter around in heels and short shorts though and she did not wear red lipstick or any makeup except powder.

My great aunt did the red lip with no other makeup.  She also wore berets.  Her red lip was matte and almost a coral red.   It suited her well and she always wore red, green or brown, whereas Grandma was always navy, powder blue and sometimes light pink, though not as often. A white blouse and navy skirt was typical for every day.  But I digress with my reminiscing.

It's not unusual for me to go into a vintage, collectibles or antiques shop and see items that are very familiar from my childhood which means I see things all the time that others are willing to pay lots of money for and which I do not value very highly.  Either I never liked them to begin with or they seem commonplace to me.  There have been mid-century modern pieces I inherited which I could not give away fast enough but I have clearly inherited a fondness for navy blue.  That one, I am convinced, is truly in my family genetics.

So I have been looking at handbags, considering something more classic looking, something a bit more grown up looking, as I have been vaguely considering the idea of growing up.  I figured I should probably test drive a new-to-me style by shopping at the thrift store, though a non-vinyl/PVC/PU bag that isn't tacky or ratty looking is a rare thing to be found at the thrift shop. 

I am particular in what I like, though will sacrifice that in a second hand bag if I am just testing a different style.  I like silver toned hardware, not brass.  I want a blue, grey or taupe bag, harder colours to find.  I want simple lines without excess hardware, fringes or rivets, but not too plain and square either.

If I had a bazillion dollars I might want this, the Mulberry Bayswater.  I"m not sure which this one is, but I'd want the small sized one.


                                       Source: John Lewis no link

It comes in many delicious colours but I have a thing for taupe and one has to be practical if spending a bazillion dollars.  After that I'd get purple and sea blue and green.

Of course, I've never seen a Mulberry bag for sale here and I cannot even afford ebay prices on the Mulberry mini bags.  So back to reality.

I went to the local discount department store where the pickings are pretty slim after Christmas, hoping there might be a sale.  Some items were on sale but not all.  The majority of bags there were black or slightly odd colours, though I found myself repeatedly drawn to bags by Kate Spade.  If I were a basic black bag person there was even a black KS bag there, but black bags are not for me.  The other choices were a blush pink and a neon fuchsia.  No to neon but I really considered the blush pink.  However, I loathed the neon lining inside and for $200 I do not want to loathe any part of a handbag.

So then I went to the thrift shop that would have the biggest selection.  The chances of finding something I loved would be slim but I could pay $10 for something I liked.  And I did.  I have a tendency to love totes and large satchels but I have those.  I want a medium sized handbag.

So I came home with this.  It's larger than I was aiming for but it's a lovely dusty navy blue.  I have my basics in it but could fit a novel and a notebook if I wanted to.  It's a little squishier and less structured than I was aiming for also.  Squishy bags are my default so I was trying to give a more structured bag a try. The problem with the size is that I will fill it and it gets a bit heavy.

                                      half the size would be better

It's in good condition and comes from a shop in Vancouver called CNKW.  It sounds like a radio station.  A Google search told me that they make mediocre quality leather bags that vaguely resemble designer bags but are not attempting to be knock offs.  I saw comments that labelled it a trashy store full of knock-offs and comments saying it was a place your mother or aunt might shop.  Well I am a mother and an aunt.   On one site I read a discussion between two young women on the possibility of this store selling Harajuku fakes and some other trendy Japanese name I am not familiar with.    As far as I can tell the bag I bought is not a fake anything and is just a very basic bag.  There is no logo, which I like and which I see as the down side to a Kate Spade bag.

So now I am experimenting with a bag I have to carry around by the handles.  I can manage to put it on my shoulder but it's certainly not a cross body bag like I usually carry.  It's much better to spend $10.00 on such an experiment than $200.00 as well as get a colour I am happy to carry around and no shiny brass hardware.  I also get constant memories of Grandma while I carry it and that is never a bad thing.

Happy New Year Everyone!


  1. I have a very ladylike (I think un-subtle wannabe Birkin knockoff type!) taupe ostrich effect bag which is the nicest looking bag I own, and I never use it for the same "how does one carry a bag with handles?!" reasons! I'm more a cross body hands free type, but then end up with backache! I am beginning to encounter the whole "vintage" items being things I actually remember phenomenon, it's a weird one! I think 70's and 80's decor are pretty hideous actually! And while I admire women who pull off vintage, I do feel were I to walk down the street with Taylor's bag it might look a bit frumpy on me! :-) xo

  2. Happy New Year, Shawna. May your new bag be brimming with lovely things all year long, books and money and makeup and measuring tape and pens and lipsticks and journals...the list goes on. This is a lovely bag and what great timing to stumble upon it.

  3. ANY leather bags in my thrifting are welcome and very rare.
    However I just added a long strap to a shoulder bag because I just don't wear it otherwise. I too like hands free.
    I do like Mid Century furniture because it reminds me of my childhood. I wouldn't carry Taylor's bag. I don't mind looking girly in my gear. I just wear fun stuff.
    I don't think grown up is my thing although I can be very intense and serious at times.
    Happy 2016 to you! Or as the local paper titled "Sweet '16"! Xo Jazzy Jack

  4. Old lady is definitely a matter of perspective! True title!
    Leather bags for second hand are worth pouncing on instantly!
    The bag is really nice- I'm really into navy at the moment! I find it hard to hold bags by the handles too-I'm definitely a shoulder holder!
    Happy New Year Shawna!x

  5. I'm still LMAO about the association of Patchouli now being an Old Lady scent... since I still smell of Nag Champa from the fact I never have moved out of the Sixties and yes, it's all a matter of perspective and Eras isn't it? LOL So many Styles come back around tho' and sometimes when the Young People are experiencing it for the first time it is New to them and they find they can embrace it. I'm a Bag Fanatic and tend to enjoy Creating my own or buying OOAK bags from my Artistic Friends rather than buying mass produced ones... it's like an Art Collection then and not so much like Feeling like a Bag-A-Holic. *winks* Blessings and Happy New Year from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

  6. Happy New Year, Shawna! It's a beautiful shade of blue, and quite a universal size - lovely find. Sending you lots of love and warmest wishes! Stay cozy!

  7. I do like this bag...but I must admit that I'm more a shoe than a bag lady. I often like bags that other find hideous but I don't notice bags that much to start with, for me they're never the central part of an outfit.

    Navy blue is a colour I really like too...despite the fact that it is not a perfect choice for me.

  8. this is a beautiful bag!!!
    and yes - totally your color!
    since ages most of my bags are classic purses - crossbody or shoulder bags make my shoulders ache and look odd with the "wood in front of my hut"....
    and colors - big yes! every color of the rainbow please :-)


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