My Beloved (and Unloved) Handbags


In my first year of college I splurged on a brand new Louis Vuitton Musette Salsa shoulder bag. With the exception of slight darkening of the tan handles, it still looks like new. That's because I've worn it about 10 times in the 10 years since I've had. 

It has a nice rectangular shape but I never could get into the monogram and find the narrow interior impractical for everyday carry. It was one of few times I purchased something off of pure status alone, and the only of those me-too items that has managed to avoid being given away. 

Fast forward to just a few months ago when I made an impromptu 36-hour trip to France to spend time with a dear friend I haven't seen in over three years. 

Strolling through the streets of Paris, weaving in and out of cafes and shops, we happened upon the beautiful leather shoe and accessory shop, La Botte Gardiene. 

My eye caught a fairly nondescript buttery calf leather tote in a rich gray hue. I kept gravitating back to it after glancing at the other goods on display. My friend must have sensed the attraction because the next thing I knew he swooped it up and purchased it for me before I could even protest. He did it just because. 

My new La Botte Gardiene tote is about a third of the price of my now vintage Louis Vuitton, but it's gotten 30x the use despite being in my possession for only a fraction of the time. 

I've carried it almost everyday since it was gifted to me. It's simple color and silhouette fits with my understated wardrobe and it's spaciousness is perfect for day to night and weekday to weekend carry. 

More importantly, I was so touched by my friend's gesture (I don't get gifts often) that I feel loved every time I look at it. 


The difference between my connection (or lack thereof) with these two bags reveals a lot about why we consume. There are many rationale reasons we use to justify our want or "need" of something, but it really all comes down to emotion. 

The emotion behind the Louis Vuitton bag was fear of missing out – I desired it solely because all the so-called it girls had it (even though I would never admit that to my self-proclaimed independent self). When the insecurity (the negative emotion) wore off, I was left with something I did not love, want, or need. 

The emotion behind the La Botte Gardiene tote was, at first, true admiration for its design. That positive emotion was reinforced when it was unexpectedly gifted to me by someone I hold dear. I'm quite sure I will keep this beloved bag even when it's no longer wearable. 

With an understanding of our emotional (not just logical) drivers we make wise decisions. By ignoring our emotions we often fall down that slippery slope of allowing things (or ideas or people or ...) into our lives that have no business being there.

Curator's Notes: The bag featured in the photo journal is the medium tan leather pouch by Baggu. We had our eye on Baggu's leather collection for quite some time. When looking for the perfect catch-all we quickly deferred to them. It is beautifully constructed from sturdy but soft-to-the-touch leather in rich hues that deepen gracefully with wear. You can get it now in our Travel Essentials Parcel.