Reflections on Specific Goods

I kind of like this shirt -- not really age appropriate for me, but for someone else...

From Bookish Gifts, several of which are nice.

Also, did you know that Vera Bradley makes stationery and various office supplies now? Yet another purchase might have to happen (holiday shopping):


Which reminds me: I've been meaning to post about Vera Bradley bags for a while now. I have three, but I just got them a year ago. Before that, I used to see some women carrying them around, and I liked them, but I didn't know where to get them. In my mind, I just called them "those quilted bags." For years it was, to me, like the women carrying them were almost a secret society. I only had one friend who had a Vera Bradley, and it never occurred to me to say, "Hey, where'd you get that bag?" There seems to be such a specific customer base for them. For example, I don't believe I've ever seen anyone outside the southeast United States carrying one. Even within that narrow geographical area, the women who carry them fit a certain southern belle, sorority profile. I carry mine all the time, especially my New Hope messenger bag:

and as I do, I'm a bit concerned that they don't look professional (too "girly"), but I don't really worry about it. Still, I notice that I'm sometimes carrying a bag that resembles, or even matches perfectly, some of the bags students bring to my classes. I wonder if it looks too much like I'm aligned with those particular students. Ultimately, though, I don't think it's a big deal, but I would love to read your thoughts on "those quilted bags."


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

I'm originally from

I'm originally from northeastern Indiana - near Ft. Wayne and the headquarters of Vera Bradley. Those bags and other VB products are everywhere there. I have to admit, I associate them with older somewhat dowdy women. Of course, this could be because I associate them with my grandmother and her elderly friends, as well as a number of frumpy middle age types who I would see carrying them around. And there was almost always a sense of self-importance that seemed to go along with this - as if it was in some way a marker of being part of a club. However, your bag looks less 'oldish' than most I've seen in the past and, from briefly checking out the website, it looks like VB has updated its lines quite a bit. Really, I wouldn't have been caught dead with anything from their lines from about 10-15 years ago.

People do go crazy over them back home, though. The huge outlet sales they have every year at the Ft. Wayne Memorial Coliseum are mobbed. My younger brother worked security at one of these events, and he seemed shell-shocked afterwards. He just kept saying over and over, "They [the women] were like animals."

It is interesting that they have taken off in the south. very interesting.

Some of my students - who

Some of my students - who fit the profile you describe - carry them, but there are a lot of sort of preppy totes in general. I do associate the handbag-sized ones with my (71-year old!) mother and her tennis associates, but I like the larger ones. And I kind of like the idea of carrying them - it's kind of like subverting the stereotypes about them. (I've gotten into much girlier stuff as I've gotten older for the same reason - though it's always a question of one well-chosen accent, not draping oneself in girly stuff.) I like the messenger bag above, I think partly because it's girly, but it's a messenger bag (so not dainty) and it has a black background (it might be a bit much in pink). I understand what you mean about looking aligned with a certain group of students, but I think actually it probably looks different on you. Anyway, if you like them, that's what matters!


Because I recently ordered a fourth VB bag -- a bowler style in Picadilly Plum, which is about to be discontinued:

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.