Shopping For a New Bag and Observations on a Changing Neighbourhood

Last week I had some birthday money burning a hole in my pocket, and an everyday cross-body handbag that was on its very last legs and really needed to be replaced, so Nick and I took some time off on Tuesday to go for a look at the shops on Queen Street West.

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↑ Where’s Waldo? ↑

I will admit, and those of you who’ve seen my thrifting or outfit posts will probably have gathered, I have a thing for vintage purses. I have quite a collection of them, to the point that some workmen replacing our old windows once mentioned to Nick that his wife had a lot of purses. I use them all though, whenever I dress up to go out at night, to clubs, shows, dinner and such. I choose the one to wear based on its looks and how well it goes with my outfit.

But this bag I wanted to find on this shopping trip was different than those. It was that one you need for popping over to the store for milk or for going on a walk, and for other such outings. It would look nice but be more useful than fashionable, while being well-made to last a long time, because once you get used to it you don’t want to have to replace it anytime soon. I am saying ‘you’ here because I assume everyone has that bag in their wardrobe, but I might be wrong … cough … Vix ;). I wanted something black with a long strap for wearing across my body for hands-free carrying. I like plain, sleek and almost inconspicuous for an everyday purse.

So with the plan to find this particular item we headed out to some new boutiques we’d noticed had opened on Queen Street. (Nick agreed to come along and help me pick one as long as only a few shops were involved.)

I thought I’d hit pay-dirt in the second store we went into when I spotted a nice one in the corner. I assumed the shopping trip was over until I looked at the price-tag … $450. It was gorgeous but beyond what I wanted to spend.

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Then I was keen to go look in a new consignment store that has opened up in the neighbourhood, thinking that perhaps I could find a good one that was lightly used. We spotted a nice looking one in a glass case and waited for the clerk to look it up on her computer and tell us how much it was. $750. OK, it was Louis Vuitton, but I didn’t need such a special bag, nor did I have that kind of dough to spend on it.

As an aside, this area is really in the midst of changing right now. This was once the bohemian part of town chosen by artists, musicians, actors and those living an alternative lifestyle, and now there are used purses selling for almost a grand with taxes! I’ve never seen the likes of that around here, although I’m not saying that change is bad, but rather observing that gentrification is happening in this part of town these days. There have been some good results coming from what has happened, including safer streets. Here’s a little anecdote in this regard — when we were looking for our home in this neighbourhood a little over 10 years ago, my sister came with us to look at a place one evening. So she, Nick and I were just standing on a corner for a minute looking at the building from the outside when I guy pulled up and asked Nick ‘How much?” Ahem, and he wasn’t wondering how much the house was going for. No, although we weren’t dressed like it, he thought my sister and I were hookers and he wanted to take us both! So yeah, something like that would not happen here today.

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Anyway, continuing eastward I was happy to find the perfect bag in the fourth store we went into … Winners, whose tag line is ‘Big name designer finds at up to 60% less’.

I had two to choose from that met my check-list-of-wants, both the same price of $70, so Nick helped me pick. We went for the plainer of the two, over the other, a Calvin Klein one with several chunky silver zippers on it.

Made by a new company called Margot (I’m assuming they’re new because their website is not finished yet) it looks like it will last a good long time, and will fit those everyday necessities, plus my little camera which I never leave home without. It is perfect for what I need.

The reasonable price meant I had some spending money leftover, so I got a pretty amethyst and silver ring at Shanti Baba across the street. Nick got a new incense burner there too. He likes the smell of incense more than I do but I can live with it. You?

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↑ Amethyst and silver ring from Shanti Baba ↑

And here’s my new bag …

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Thanks for dropping by. Happy Monday to you.
xo loulou

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