Handbags at twelve paces


I’m in love with handbags. I love the way a beautiful handbag can make me feel. I love looking at other people’s handbags. I love the way they look on the outside, I love their beautiful lining and I especially love all the little pockets inside where you can hide all sorts of interesting and, very often useless, things. Handbags are like magical little universes all on their own that hold the promise of discovery for the intrepid adventurer.

I believe a person’s handbag is indicative of the kind of person they really are. For example, you may find that people who have gigantic handbags filled with every eventuality are people who like to be in control and don’t like to be caught unprepared (I’m always reminded and envious of Michelle Pfeiffer in ‘One Fine Day’ when she whips a T-shirt belonging to her son out of her bag and puts it on after she’s spilled coffee on herself). So in order to determine if my theory is in fact correct, I asked my colleagues to tell me what they had in their handbags so I could see if it matched their personalities. This is what I found.

Tahra Tahra is our Art Director. She’s as close to unflappable as a person can get. Which is an extremely good thing when you work in an environment with deadlines carved in stone. Tahra doesn’t ever come close to falling apart at the seams. Even at deadline, Tahra is calm and in control of the situation. The other day she was in charge of putting up posters in the office and said, ‘Where must I moer a nail now?’ She’s completely plain spoken and down to earth – Tahra says exactly what she thinks. I always feel like everything is going to be OK if Tahra is calm. She’s like the air hostess on a flight – if the air hostess is calm when your plane is bouncing up and down like a yo-yo then you know it’s not time to panic. But I digress. Tahra’s the kind of person who has a notebook and pencil in her cubbyhole of her car – I know this because she just told me so. Anyway, the following items are in her handbag: diary, can of deodorant, Biral, hair clip and toothpicks (stolen from Spur). There is nothing out of the ordinary here except maybe the Biral, which explains Tahra’s perpetual calmness.

Stephanie, our online writer is a complete movie buff.  She’s loves all things cinemagraphic.  She goes to a great deal of movie premiers and screenings and writes reviews about them. She even got to interview Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart and THEN was asked to join Gerard Butler Aaronat a night club where he whispered in her ear, ‘You’re delicious’. I’m not making this up. Anyway. In Stephanie’s handbag are the following: 3D movie glasses, Dettol hand sanitizer and a mini stapler. The 3D glasses make sense considering she spends most of her time staring at a movie screen. It seems everyone in the office has some sort of hand sanitiser in their handbag, so that doesn’t really count. And I’m sorry but the mini stapler is completely inexplicable.

Kirsten handbag Kirsty, our managing and picture editor is the mother of two teenage sons. She is also the office mom. She knows EVERYTHING about everything you need to know about.  Everything a mother should teach her children, Kirsty knows. Kirsty is famous for saying, ‘I’m held together by good face cream’. That’s her down to a T – she’s pragmatic, organised, calm and very resourceful. In her handbag she has the following items: a sewing kit, a tape measure, two multi tools, a little fish that turns into a shopping bag and lots of paper and pens. I forgot to mention that Kirsty is incredibly talented when it comes to decor and she’s very good at using a little to make a lot. The tape measure and multi tools are easily explained by Kirsty’s penchant for all things decorating. It appears she does decorating on the fly too. The shopping bag is interesting but it’s also a perfect indicator of Kirsty’s very playful and fun nature.

Tessa handbag Tessa, our beauty ed, has, well, a beauty editor’s handbag. She, who once said of acupuncture, ‘Did you know that acupuncture is older than Jesus?’, has three lipsticks, a myriad notebooks, lip balms, tissues, and pencils (I had to specify pencils as, ‘They’re way cooler than pens’) in her bag. Tessa’s bag is the only one that doesn’t truly reflect her character. To put it plainly, Tessa is a loon. She finds as many opportunities as possible to put things (never hats) onto her head and to climb into boxes. So what she should really have in her bag are things like: an orange toy squid, a whisk with a blue elephant on its handle, one green sock, and a complimentary ticket to a nightclub in Beirut.

Photo by Wesley Shunn

Photo of Tessa by Wesley Shunn

I would love to tell you what is in Taryn, our consumer and features writer’s bag but she’s in Stellenbosch for a launch. So instead I’ll tell you about Taryn. She is the sweetest person I’ve met. Words like irritable, angry and mean don’t feature in her vocabulary. When Taryn goes to launches or even shopping, she will come back with little gifts for everyone in the office. In my mind Taryn has the following in her bag: four different Care Bears, a My Little Pony, mulit-coloured popsicles, candyfloss and light purple leg warmers.

Caryn, our fashion editor is out sourcing for her shoot tomorrow so I can’t do her bag either. But Caryn is lovely – her favourite saying is ‘It’s not nice to be not nice’. She’s extremely generous (my current designer handbag was a gift from her), fabulously creative, dedicated and an absolute perfectionist – she also knows exactly what she wants and doesn’t stop until she gets it.

My handbag shows exactly what kind of person I am. Simone handbagIt has the following: sunscreen, All Heal ointment, a single restaurant sweet covered in lint, perfume I use as air freshener and Teejel. I believe in being prepared for any eventuality, hence the sunscreen and I did in fact have cause to use this cream last weekend – my baby, Holly was crawling around in the sun and I hadn’t brought her sunscreen with so I had to use my emergency one. I didn’t mention that it has glitter in it so she looked like a baby vampire. Holly is also the reason I have Teejel in my bag. The perfume is self explanatory I think – the number of times I’ve walked in to a public toilet that smells awful doesn’t bare thinking about!

And finally, there’s our editor, Darren. He’s away at a launch and doesn’t have a handbag. So I asked the rest of the office how they’d describe him: as one would expect he is creative, witty, ambitious, knows himself very well and tends toward the dramatic. He dresses exceptionally well, knows what’s on-trend before Parisian designers themselves know and is super-disciplined – Darren got himself in shape and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. That takes discipline.

If you’d like to buy, or just look at some amazing handbags, go here: http://www.flagship-handbags.co.za/. That’s it then. The handbags and the personalities they reflect in our office. Have a look at your own handbag and see what kind of person it describes. Is it a true reflection of you? If not, add an orange squid.

3 thoughts on “Handbags at twelve paces

  1. Emmi Nicholl

    If someone had to unpack my bag without me there to contextualise its contents, the item that would have them baffled is a handful of used AA batteries. And that would be because my local supermarket provides a recycling facility and I keep meaning to drop them off and I keep sodding well forgetting.

  2. simonewb Post author

    I had the same thing – until I got tired of a heavy bag (after about a year) and chucked them somewhere else (I don’t want to say where).

  3. Vanessa

    Hilarious blog post!
    My mystery items would be a pack of playing cards and a gazillion quarters, dimes and nickels. You’d assume I had a gambling habit, but in reality, the cards were used by the kids on our latest road trip and the money is for throwing into wishing fountains.


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