I’ve never really been a purse person. Actually, I guess now they are referred to as “handbags” not “purses”. Throughout my teen and early adult years I only had one purse at a time, and it was whatever I could pick up for under $30 at Mervyns or JC Penney…. and I’d use it until it broke and then I’d buy a new one.
Several years ago, though, I was introduced to Beijo Bags….purses that aren’t sold in stores, but are instead sold at home parties. I really like their purses because I can take my Beijo Bag to the soccer field, set it down in the wet grass by my chair and know that it will wipe clean. I’ve had a waitress spill a drink on it- again, it just wipes clean. SUPER durable. It doesn’t scuff or scratch (clean it with Mr Eraser or Windex), and it’s always patent leather glossy smooth.
They are stylish, come in colors that pop without looking tacky, and they are so easy to keep looking new…and they run about $130 each. My favorite purse is the Uptown- which I’ve had in platinum (beige), deep candy apple red and dark teal. I’ve been using this particular purse (switching out colors) for the past four years.
Mid-September we had some chilly weather and I needed to wear a thicker coat- and sadly this purse doesn’t stay on my shoulder when I wear a bigger coat. I get frustrated every winter….so I decided this winter I’d buy something different. Plus I wanted something bigger.
My first thought was to go for another Beijo Bag, but my rep retired and the next closest rep lives in Camas, WA! And of course they want you to invite all your girlfriends over and host a purse party, but I don’t have many friends that would be interested in attending a purse party. It’s just not my thang. I tried to shop online, but it’s hard to buy a purse without seeing it in person.
Jim has been bugging me to buy myself an “expensive” purse for a few years now. Every wife’s dream, right? “Honey, go pick out a Gucci bag!” (Gucci was the name he’d always throw out, but Gucci seems so 80’s to me- I’ve never seen a Gucci bag in the stores- I don’t even know if you can buy them anymore! Um, apparently you can- at Saks Fifth Avenue and they average about $1200 each, with a starting price of $900 for a small bag. I just checked.)
After our rental house renovation and experience, Jim said it was time for me to treat myself to an expensive brand name purse- he gave me a budget of $250 and sent me on my merry way.
I started my purse search on October 11th at Nordstrom Rack. I figured I’d hit up some big brand name handbag for half the price. Sadly, I didn’t find anything I really liked. The big brands were Kate Spade, Michael Kors and Coach, and other names I hadn’t heard before.
My next stop was Macy’s. I looked at all their “expensive” purses and didn’t find anything that I absolutely LOVED. I was intrigued by the Coach “Madison Phoebe”, but wasn’t totally sold on it.
I loved the color, but not the logo all over it. And I liked that it was easy to carry and had three separate compartments, but something about the design was awkward.
I was told it came in leather- for $328, but that since they didn’t have those in stock I could “pre-order” it for 20% off, making it $262. I couldn’t decide what color I wanted….the violet or the dark oak color:
I put it up for debate on Facebook and my neighbor told me never to pay full price for Coach, instead ask to join the Coach Factory Outlet website/club and wait for an invitation to a sale. So I did.
The following week I decided to check out the Coach Factory Outlet in Woodburn. I really believed I would find something there.
My criteria was simple: I want a purse with a divider inside (so I’d have two or three compartments), an outside pocket to keep my keys or phone handy, and it needed to be slightly larger than my current purse (the Beijo uptown) and stay on my shoulders (not swing down to my arm when I’m moving around). That’s not too difficult, is it?
Apparently when it comes to Coach purses, it is. Nearly all of their handbags are satchels or totes- just one giant opening. No compartments other than a small zipper pocket on one side and a cell phone pouch on the other side. And all the bags were either too big, or too small.
I had three sales people trying to help me find something. I told them my husband would be disappointed that I’m coming home empty-handed. They laughed and said they usually they hear the opposite- that the husband will be disappointed if the wife comes home with a new Coach handbag. Not mine, I said, he WANTS me to buy one!
There was one purse that caught my eye and I kept going back to it:
But it was smaller than my current purse (I couldn’t easily get my wallet in and out of it!) and it didn’t have the divided compartment I wanted/needed. Still, I kept going back to it over and over again, but couldn’t justify buying it since it didn’t meet my needs. It was a $328 purse marked down to $150. A great deal! I was sad to have to walk away from it.
I left empty handed. Well, not really…. I picked up a snazzy wallet!
Regular price $248, marked down to $85.
The next stop was the Coach store at Washington Square- full price items of course. No way was I going to pay full price, but at least I could see the current handbags in real life (vs shopping online and not knowing exactly how big they are or what they are like insdie). I looked at the Phoebe again and still wasn’t completely sold on it. The Madison Sadie bag was a good sized bag and met most of the criteria. It was lacking a divider/compartments, but it did have two exterior pockets that made up for that.
I liked that it was a dressier style, too, and it came in many colors. Regular price was $298. I knew I wouldn’t pay full price, so I’d have to be patient and wait for Macy’s to sell it, or wait for a sale someplace else. It was too new to be at the Outlet store anytime soon.
Back at home I checked out Costco’s website, thinking maybe there’s a chance they sell Coach. They don’t. Instead they sell Prada and Fendi and Miu Miu bags for about $1,400. Um, no.
As luck would have it, later that evening, I received an email from the Coach Factory Outlet website that I was invited to shop their online sale which would begin the following morning! 50% – 70% off retail and free shipping! Well, well….. THIS is why I haven’t been able to find a purse- I was supposed to wait for this fabulous sale!
The next morning I was shopping at 6am before daycare started. I couldn’t decide what purse to buy because once again, I had no idea what they looked like in person and I didn’t see ANY of those models at the outlet or the store. But I didn’t want to pass up the fabulous deals either!
It hit me- the shipping was free- and the return policy said I could return my purchases to the Coach Outlet store in Woodburn and get my money back….so I decided to go for it and I ordered FOUR! Hopefully ONE of them will work out, right!?!
Here they are:
I waited patiently for a few days and when the UPS man arrived I was so excited to dive in and see my choices up close!
Sadly, the two brown purses were eliminated immediately.
That one was kinda stiff and had super smooth leather that would scuff WAY too easily.
This next one was a boring tote. B-O-R-I-N-G. I can’t even express how boring.
That left the two teal suede purses. This one was my favorite:
So cute! But, um, it was the same size as the Taylor Suede bag that I saw at the Outlet store. Smaller than my current purse. It’s not gonna work, either.
That left me with this purse:
The Campbell “Belle” Carryall. I love the teal suede and I love the style and I love that it has the divider I desperately want, and I especially LOVE the price- originally $418 and I only paid $115!
The problem? It’s significantly bigger than my current purse- it measures 16″ long and 10″ tall! It’s HUGE! Look at it on the mannequin!
Look at the storage and organization capabilities:
I could put a water bottle in there and a book and anything else I need to tote around. And it’s so cute! And SUCH a bargain price! I love it!
But it’s TOO big.
SO I sat on it for a few days (not literally) and decided that I’d just send all the bags back and wait until the Sadie goes on sale.
That evening as I was perusing my magazines and watching my reality TV shows and commercials for Kohls and JCPenney, I noticed all the celebrities and models carrying large handbags. It hit me.
The teal Campbell bag IS the bag! It’s perfect! It’s not too big, it’s just bigger than what I’m used to. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. This bag makes a great every day purse, it’s comfortable and roomy and meets ALL my needs.
Yes, there’s times I’ll want to carry a smaller purse, and in those situations I can just switch my wallet and things back to my Beijo bag.
I have to return all those other purses to the Coach Outlet, right? So maybe, maybe maybe when I go back, they’ll still have that suede & snakeskin purse that I really liked.
AND, technically, my husband gave me a budget of $250- and I’ve only paid $115 so far. I could buy BOTH purses for less than it would cost to have ONE of them at regular price!
YES! That’s it!
So that’s what I did. He even drove me there- and was happy that I was able to buy TWO purses for the price of one!
The Campbell bag is my everyday bag and I am loving it! It’s comfortable, stays on my shoulder, and I can dig through it while it’s still on my shoulder and it holds a lot! Super easy for me to find my keys, my phone, get my wallet out, etc. It’s the perfect bag!
And the Taylor suede & snakeskin bag- well, we had a date night and I grabbed my wallet and lipstick and phone and threw it in as my “going out” fancier purse. Turns out the wallet fits in there perfectly…. I guess it was all meant to be!
So here they are- pictured with my Beijo Uptown (in red) so you can see the size difference:
A big fat “THANK YOU” to my husband for spoiling me! :)