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It's Just Not My Bag
By Gloria Diaz
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Fort Wayne Reader
I like purses. Iím a purse junkie. Iím a jacket junkie too. My dad was a camera, radio and stereo equipment junkie. We all have our ďthing.Ē Iíve been a purse junkie since I was a little girl. Sometimes, instead of toys, I just wanted purses. A few years ago, I was in an antique shop and came across the exact same style of a purse that my dad got me when he was in Mexico. I had to buy it. No matter that I had that same style purse at home. My dad had been dead for a few years, and I figured seeing that purse in the shop was his way of saying, ďhi there!Ē It was an omen.
I recently had a birthday, and I received another Coach purse from my best friend. I now have three of them. They are very small, more like oversized wallets than an actual bag, but I love them. Iím sure I look at them the same way a guy looks at a Playboy centerfold. I tend to lean towards the conservative with the clothes I wear (unless Iím feeling like a total slob or want to look nice for a date) and the same thing goes for my purses. You wonít see me carrying a Dooney and Bourke bag thatís white with the DB logo printed in all the colors of the rainbow. Iím just not a pattern girl. I am flattered when people comment on my purses, but I also want to feel that my bag compliments my outfit. At the very least, I donít want my bag to clash with my outfit.
So since the dust and smoke has long cleared from the annual Vera Bradley outlet sale/consumer orgy, I just want to say this: while I respect what the company does for the community, I really donít like the product. I was talking to some people a few weeks ago about the sale, and found out that two additional flights were added into Fort Wayne for the event. It generates a lot of revenue for the town, but it floors me at the same time. Bradley bags are a status symbol Iíve never understood.
My mother had some Vera Bradley items, given to her as gifts. Theyíre still here in the house, and at least they are red, my favorite color, but Iíve never used them in public. Theyíre just not ďme.Ē They seem too homespun and clunky, like an unfashionable craft item. One friend of mine says the actual purses look like diaper bags, and I would have to agree. As I said, I donít like patterns, and it seems like Vera Bradley bags are nothing BUT patterns. And the patterns donít really go with anything. To me, Bradley bags stand out because of this.
And yet the company is wildly successful to the point where women make a pilgrimage to Fort Wayne during the early part of May to stuff huge shopping bags full of Bradley items for themselves and their friends stuck back home who werenít able to attend the sale.
Iíll never understand the appeal of Vera Bradley. I thought it was just a Midwestern status thing, but when I visited my fatherís cousin in Puerto Rico a year and a half ago, I was gazing at her purse, thinking, ďgee that looks like a Vera Bradley.Ē The tiny signature at the bottom of the purse confirmed my suspicion. We had a brief conversation about the bag. Apparently, a daughter of hers, who lives in the states, sent her the purse. My fatherís cousin loved it. If Iíd known she was such a fan, I would have brought her something Vera from the companyís hometown.
Obviously, from what Iíve written, Vera Bradley isnít going to get any of my money soon. But maybe the cityís planners ought to consider naming the downtown stadium ďVera Bradley Park.Ē Harrison Square Stadium, or whatever they are planning to call it, just doesnít have the same sound. Iíve always thought the Grand Wayne Center sounded awkward too, but no one asked my opinion on that. But Iím offering mine right now: name the new stadium Vera Bradley Park. Have a Vera Bradley day, where every family who comes (or, for every group who buys a minimum of four tickets at one time for one game) gets a Vera Bradley bag. Iíll even go so far to suggest the stadium be colored pink.
But just stay away from those God-awful patterns.