This is a golden age for purses—or so hailed The New Yorker in their last style issue. It’s easy to see why: waiting lists for new designer items extended into the next year, vendors hawk fakes everywhere, and ubiquitous advertising convinces you a life is incomplete without a Chloe Paddington. Threadster took to streets to see what people were clutching this winter.
In Brooklyn, aesthetics varied, with large styles dominating. Yet, whether leather or velvet, red or tan, practicality mainly reigned. When stopped, most pedestrians shrugged off their handbags with a casual “oh this old thing” attitude. Some admitted to dragging their carryall everywhere; others confessed it to be a cheap street purchase.
Although functionality beat out status, such practicality has its health hazards. In an “Unhealthy Fashion Trend?,” Jessica Aspiras reports:
[A]ccording to chiropractor Dr. Denise Rassel, carrying a large, heavy handbag on your shoulder can create problems. “What happens is the woman has to raise her shoulder up to keep the purse on and what happens is it tightens up the musculature. And it actually translates the head over and the shoulder up.”
Dr. Rassel recommends carrying an over-sized bag by your side and not overstuffing it. She also advises weighing it to make sure it’s no more than ten percent of your body weight.
Thankfully these health risks haven’t quite translated into a counter-trend. We would hate to see next season’s styles come with clunky, extendable luggage wheels.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 17, 2007