People who know about purses: how to describe the features I want, and where to find them

So I’m in the market for a new purse. I had the perfect purse, almost, but it wore out and our evil cat pissed on it to boot. Now I need a new one, but I’m picky, and that one has been out of production for a decade and I can’t find another like it.

I want a twisty-closing catch. Not magnets that mess up my credit cards, not fussy snaps or buckles, not those sporty plastic buckles you have to pinch at juuust the right angle, and definitely not velcro, which sounds almost as bad as fingernails on the chalkboard to me. But what do people, purse-selling people anyway, call the twisty ones?

I want a fold-over flap closure, which fortunately seems to get called a “flap”. I don’t want the main compartment to be zippered, because I stick my hand in there a lot and a zipper chews up my fabulous manicure (j/k) and scrapes up my skin.

I want both a handle and a strap: the strap for cross-body wear, and the handle on the top to grab it in a hurry. Not a long handle for putting over your shoulder, just a short hand-holding one. Many briefcases have this. But I especially want the handle to be attached underneath the flap and thread up through it, much like the closure thingy threads through the closure hole. My old purse had that and it makes all the difference when you grab it in a hurry; the kind that’s attached to the outside of the flap, when you grab it and the purse is open, stuff falls around everywhere because the handle isn’t centered WRT its center of gravity. I’m not explaining that well. But like this. And I’d like the strap to attach with those springy connectors like on a dog leash instead of being sewn on, because sewn-on ones seem to get unsewn or ripped through awfully quick. Plus if the original strap is made of something stupid like metal chain or is really thin, if it’s clipped on I can just clip it off and put on something sensible.

I want it to be roughly 12" wide and 9" tall, give or take a couple of inches. That seems to be small for a “briefcase” or a “messenger bag” but big for a “purse” or a “handbag”. I want to be able to stick a trade paperback or iPad in there, but not a laptop. If it’s too big I just put too much in, and everything rattles around loose.

I want it to *not *be at all pyramid-shaped; I don’t want it wider at the bottom than the top. I don’t need to dig into its unseen cavernous depths all the damn time. It needs a little structure and stiffness to it, not be a limp puddle. For similar reasons, I don’t want it lined with dark fabric or a busy print.

I want it to be lightweight (not leather, or very light leather, but probably fabric or something) and not black or dark brown or navy or some other solar-gaining color that means my Chapstick melts in there and gets all over everything. Red would be nice, or green, or blue, or something metallic, or even taupe or gray, and there’s lots of nice patterns I wouldn’t mind, but nothing too egregiously girly. Not white or off-white, because I want to use it year-'round and I don’t want the No White After Labor Day Police all up in my bizness. besides which white would show dirt and pen marks and toddler stains.

It could have a few pockets inside and a pen loop or two, or not, since you can buy purse organizer inserts separately these days. Or make them. I made one for my last purse.

I would like it to have a plain unfastened slip-in pocket on the back for Kleenex to grab at a snot trickle’s notice.

I’m dreaming, aren’t I? I’ll have to save up my dimes and pay someone on Etsy to make this for me instead of sending my son to college.


I think it’d help if we had an idea of your price range.

A turn/twist clasp, usually.

I was hoping to keep it well under $100, though if I found (or could commission) the perfect one, I’d consider up to $150. But it would hurt. The destroyed one was $15 or so in the mid 90s! And when I was a kid, a candy bar was two bits! Two bits I tells ya!

oops, messed that link up. Like this bag here.

hrm, that looks more like a laptop bag or for office stuff. Is that what you want?

Oh and a twist closing latch on a bag is usually called a kisslock. :slight_smile:

I like the look, yeah; what I don’t like about that particular bag is that it’s black and leather and has magnetic snaps. I may buy it anyway. But I would use it, or whatever I get, for all purse-like intents and purposes:carrying critical mundane daily tools, like money, phone, snot rags, lip gloss, aspirin, and maybe this here new iPad they gave me at work. etc.

and “kisslock”? really? Never heard that term before! You aren’t a Brit or anything, are you? Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course.

lol no, I’m not a Brit…definitely a mainlander. I just pay attention to useless info like that. Plus I’m in retail and know too much about materialistic things.

So you want a commuter bag, basically a messenger? If you haven’t, I would try zappos or ebags. They tend to have a large selection. Then you can get more ideas. :slight_smile:

You’re thinking of this kind of clasp; the kind your grandma had on her pocketbook. :slight_smile:

OP: check out Vera Bradley. I don’t know if they have exactly what you’re describing, but they always have a pretty big variety of sizes and styles, plus they are lightweight, pretty durable considering they are fabric, and many of them have a bunch of slip pockets on the inside, which are good for organizing your stuff. Good luck in your search…finding the right bag makes life so much easier. :slight_smile:

Yes I am…that’s what I thought she meant. lol

Now I realize she’s talking about one that is part of the flap. :slight_smile:!/cross-body/COjWARCS1wEYmtcBOgK1DuICBAECAwc.zso?s=price/asc/ Look here…maybe you’ll find something :slight_smile:

Yeah I started eith those two, spent an hour or so, and concluded I needed better search terms. “Messenger” seems usually to be bigger and less structured and/or more sporting-goodsy than I want (while I could maybe deal with magnet snaps or leather, I won’t even consider Velcro or plastic pinch buckles like on a Patagonia or North Ridge type bag). I haven’t seen “commuter” used as a main descriptor yet – are they generally sort of soft-sided briefcases?

Yeah, that’s not what I had in mind.

I’ll check out VB, and yes! A purse is a basic tool I’ll use dozens of times every day, and when it’s not really one that works for me, it’s like a framing carpenter having to build a house with a meat tenderizing mallet.

Depending on the designer (if there is one) it’s called a turn lock. I know LV and Fendi both call it that. Chanel might too, but I forgot.

OOH, ooh,this one!

Turn lock thingamajiggy, fabric, not brown, black or navy blue, 12x9 inches, handle and strap (though are the doggy-hooks negotiable?), open flap pocket on the front for Kleenex and no zippered entry.

I want it now!

(Though I love my current purse, which is totally not what you are looking for!)

That is what Coach calls them too.

Wow! I dig. That one goes to the top of the list. See, I knew there was a reason I came to whine about this here.

I know Fossil has one out or had one (I saw it at the beginning of summer) that looks like this but converts to a backpack if needed. Dunno if you like that idea.

Ok, nevermind. Found the backpack but it got horrible reviews. Seems if you want more than a couple items in it, it would stay open!

I got nothin’, I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the OP. You sound just like me when I shop; you know exactly what you want and have a damn good reason for every bit of it. Why can’t we ever find stuff?! :smiley: