The Unbearable Import of Shoes and Bags

Shoes and bags are terribly important to High WASPs. You can wear anything as long as you have good shoes and a good bag. Which until recently we called a purse. Sad but true. Not sad about nomenclature, sad about own shallowness. We wish it weren’t so, that we were more enlightened. However I am not here to tell the story of who I wish I were. Here are some shoes and bags I would purchase,and carry/wear in full confidence, if the family fortune had not gone the way of the horse and carriage.

Bags: Marc Jacobs, Bottega Veneta, Nancy Gonzalez via Barney’s and Saks
Shoes: Ferragamo, Stuart Weitzman, Donald Pliner all via Beren

There are a few salient characteristics. (This is not a test).

  • First, no, or very small logos. Logos are for show-offs. (But we might fall off the wagon and buy Chanel sunglasses for fun). And yes, we are prone to use old-fashioned terms like show-offs.
  • Second, however, and again I regret the shallowness this reveals, all these bags and some of the shoes have discernible brand details for those in the know. We don’t want to be showy but we are still prey to the need for social signalling.
  • Third, the shoes are comfortable. I have had more conversations than I like to admit about how the Ferragamo last really is the best thing for narrow feet.
  • Fourth, the bags are large and relatively functional. No fringe to catch in subway doors, no danging charms to snag our cashmere tops, and no oversized chain straps to leave welts on our shoulders.

There are other shoes and bags we would like to purchase, but would avoid.

Tano, Donald Pliner, Nancy Gonzalez, via Neiman Marcus and Beren

Why avoid these things we think are very good-looking? (Good-looking means cool but appropriate in WASP-speak). A yellow purse probably ought to be saved for the beach. Or someplace where you can wear bathing suits to eat food. The lovely purse with coral leaves? Well, we just won’t buy enough purses to get around to buying one with coral leaves. We will buy a black one, of course, Then we will have to have brown. Then we might get really wild and get a dark green one. Or navy. But by the time we might have enough required bags that we could justify one with coral leaves we would be too embarrassed at the excess to buy it.

The black shoes with the peace sign? I take it back. That we would buy. Especially in the People’s Republic of Berkeley.

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  • The social signaling is the key thing – I was just reading not too long ago about the trend of stealth luxury – logo-free, extremely expensive goods that are only recognizable if you are in the know.

    They are my favorite kind ( ha ha ).

  • There’s a trend? Oh God. I am always the last to know. If we talk about it a lot will they give us free stuff?

  • Begging your pardon, but I was doing a quick search on a topic related to high-end bags and shoes and stumbled upon this site. I was just wondering-as the term WASP is used throughout this page- is this site for the sole benefit of “privileged” Caucasian women? Is there some particular way they are supposed to dress and accessorize? Thank you for taking my comment.

    6:09 pm
    Lisa said...

    Oh goodness no! I just weave references to my family background into posts on style. Much of what I say about WASPs is tongue-in-cheek. True, but not said with weight.