At a minimum of twice yearly, I commence the hunt for the perfect purse. Two to three weeks into said hunt I become discouraged and convince myself that no such accessory exists.

And yet, I know it does.

You see, in 2008 a friend gave me the perfect purse. A wonderful deep red, it coordinates with every outfit I own. Large enough to carry all my necessary paraphernalia, it escapes the curse of being too large. This purse received countless compliments, and to this day when I carry it, a friend or two commit purse lust. I know because they tell me.


Then begins my “mommy” phase of life, which includes toting around a hefty child and a hefty diaper bag holding an emergency stash of toys, books, snacks and drinks.  There is no longer a way to hang onto my fabulous red purse.

My various survival attempts have included:

  • The carry-all wallet. This is such a misnomer. There is no wallet in the world that will carry all.
  • Cross-body bags. While practical and easy on the back and shoulders, I have yet to find a cross-body bag that is fashion-forward. Cute, perhaps. Stylish, no.
  • The multi-tasking purse. Stashing a diaper and wipes in my purse and ditching the diaper bag—always a bad decision, because then I am missing the toys, books, snacks and drinks that will invariably be requested.

Am I the only one who dreams of this elusive handbag? My fantasy includes these qualifications:

  • Leather. Once I find this bag, I have no desire to replace it for at least ten years.
  • Handles and a shoulder strap. Handles are so classy, but I need the strap for my juggling routine.
  • Neutral color. I’m okay if I don’t find that perfect red. Camel will do quite nicely.
  • Pockets. This purse must contain pockets and dividers inside, with at least two pockets on the outside. Otherwise I will end up stranded when my keys disappear within its depths.
  • Presence. This purse must make a statement. It must tell the world that I am together (hmmm), fun, functional, and ready for action. It must hide the disorganized parts of my personality.
  • Versatility. It should perhaps be able to hold a change of clothes for those inevitable catastrophes.
  • Affordable. I want no nagging sense of guilt after I make my purchase.
  • Timeless. This will help in dealing with that guilt I just mentioned.

Thankfully, I find the hunt invigorating. Otherwise I might be quite discouraged by my lack of success. Someday I am convinced I will find the perfect purse. Until then, I will keep dreaming.