June 21, 2006

How To Fit Everything Into Your Handbag

This is for the girls.
A girl's handbag is her own private sanctuary and only the very priviledged, loved or trusted are ever invited in.

It is preferable to have two bags - a Mary Poppins-style bag that can carry everything you will need in it, and within that, the decoy, a dainty frivolous number that you can carry into dinner. Only an elite few can cope with a no bag entrance, and then either their companion's suit is crammed with lipsticks, they have a driver outside, or they are truly fabulous.

Until you reach this status it's best to be prepared for anything.

Things you absolutely need in your handbag and/or day bag include:

1. Mobile phone

2. Wallet and money
You will always need a few coins for cloakrooms and dire emergencies. Don't worry about enough for a taxi; any damsel in distress knows that can be figured out once you are safely away from the scene of the crime.

3. Notebook
Inspiration can strike anywhere.

4. Pens or pencils
You never know whose number you might need to scribble down and lipstick has never been that reliable. But, remember: pens MUST have lids, if not they are liable to ruin the lining of a bag; do you have a pencil case?

5. Lipstick
For (1) lips and (2) (a cheaper one) any signatures, or number swapping (no point wasting a good Chanel on a rebuff).

6. Lip-gloss
Adds shine and shimmer to a sexy pout, and very user-friendly to apply sans mirror.

7. Perfume
The sample bottles from the make-up counters are the perfect travel size.

8. Keys
Door keys and car keys. Even if you lose everything else you want to concentrate really hard on not misplacing these. Always consider where to hide a spare, or who to give a spare to, but they must be the kind of person who appreciates a call at three in the morning.

9. Safety pins
No need to cry over spilt milk - buttons do pop at the most inappropriate moments, so come prepared. The complimentary sewing kits you get in hotels are perfect for this kind of emergency.

10. Compact
If you leave the house without your powder or mirror, go back. There's nothing worse than a shiny face, or having no mirror in which to check discreetly all is where it should be. Also, "I'm just going to powder my nose" is an excellent code for 'I need to escape' so you need to have your alibi with you.

11. Roadmap/A-Z
Optional if getting cabs, but essential if driving, as, unless you are a black cab (Edit - those big black taxis which you see A LOT in London), there will always be diversions that appear simply to bamboozle you. If offering a lift to passengers, get them to sign a backseat driver's rights agreement. You drive - you decide. They are (preferably) silent and grateful.

12. Big bag address book
With all the numbers of those you would call in an emergency, for work, for pleasure, for romance, for practical assistance. If trying to save on space, these could be written into your notebook, but really essential ones should be commited to memory, or on speed dial in your mobile.

13. Diary
For all your important meetings and future dates.

14. Business cards
A good way to give out your details without appearing too forward/desperate.

15. Spare pair of shoes and plasters
This is clearly bag-size permitting, and plastic carrier bags (especially the supermarket brands) are to be avoided at all costs. But, sacrilegious as it sounds, something comfortable to accommodate any brushes with public transport or prolonged periods of walking, which ideally will have been discussed in advance, are a good idea. A new pair of shoes will always produce a blister somewhere. So think ahead.
An evening bag can accommodate a fraction of the all-purpose, so go with the three essentials: lipstick, mobile and keys.

16. Comb
17. Tissues
18. Aspirin
19. Mints

Extracted from How To Walk In High Heels: A Girl's Guide to Everything by Camilla Morton

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