My nanna had a whole storage closet full of purses. She and my pop pop didn’t have a whole lot of money, so new outfits weren’t always in the cards for her, but purses weren’t always so expensive back then, so it was a nice little vice. She didn’t binge watch Netflix, she didn’t have social media 24 hours a day. About every two months, on a Sunday, she took the bus into town, where there were about 17 stores where a purse could be purchased.
My sister and I used to swim in this storage closet and submerge ourselves in the purses. Strangely, though, while we could indeed swim in them, holding one up took all of our might. The leather was heavy, the bags were bulky, and the handles were twisty. It was easier for us to carry our suitcases up the stairs of her house.
About 30 years later, and I have owned less than 10 purses. I sort of blame this childhood experience. Sure, I’m drawn to the styles, colors, fabrics, and details, like idolatry. But as soon as I lift it up, it’s no thanks. I don’t even want to lift up a purse off the store’s counter one time, no less carry it 20 blocks in New York City.
I’m a backpack girl through and through. I’ve handled a heavy one hiking for days, so a day-to-day backpack really isn’t that heavy to me. I’ve worn a guitar backpack too, so a day-to-day backpack isn’t that bulky to me, either. I like the feeling of it pressed between my shoulders and neck. It feels like a massage when I walk. I like lifting it up to my back from the loop on the top. It feels like I’m a mother cat lifting my kitten by the scruff of its neck. I like how much it can hold. I like the pockets. I like how it zips closed against the rain. I feel like Elaine Benes from Seinfeld.
Day-to-day backpacks have been fashionable in various decades. Often made of leather, in typically black or brown, these backpacks have been made sometimes by chic designers, in various sizes, including the mini backpack. From the title of this article, you can tell I have a major whine, though. Why are there no formal backpacks?
Let’s invent a wedding backpack, with white leather, waterproof lace, and pearls. Should it be big enough to carry a cell phone, a water bottle, and lipstick, at least? Let’s invent some bridesmaid backpacks that have waterproof silk in a rainbow of colors with white zippers. Let’s invent a backpack you could wear to a place of worship—modest and yet formal.
Let’s invent a prom backpack that looks like a dress itself. Or should it match the dress? Should it come with the dress? Let’s invent a New Year’s backpack with glitter, sequins, and rhinestones. Let’s invent a Valentine’s Day backpack that’s red or pink with a clear spot on the outside for your lipstick to be prominent.
The possibilities are endless. Just as the potential distance you can walk with your backpack in tow are endless!