Posted in Personal life

Why Pay A Grand for A Handbag?

Leafing through the Sunday supplements, I wonder how many readers actually buy the extortionately expensive items featured in the fashion pages. £100 for a moisturiser? No thank you! I expect change from a tenner when I buy a facecream. And how can any handbag be worth £1,000? I would never pay that much for an item I couldn’t drive away or spend a family holiday in.
The most I’ve ever spent on a handbag is just £35, and that was extravagant by my standards. Admittedly my standards are very low. My handbag collection features far too many bags that started life as free gifts attached to women’s magazines.

But I can certainly justify this relatively lavish purchase. It brought to a satisfactory conclusion my lifelong quest for the perfect handbag. Pillar box red, with a scattering of cheery retro flowers over practical dirt-repellent oilcloth, it has soft leather-trimmed khaki handles that make for comfortable carrying, even when it’s stuffed full with all that my daughter and I need for a day out. Its depths are positively Tardis-like.

Strangely, it also appears to spread joy to those about me. Walking around with this bag on my arm is like going out with a celebrity. People stop me to admire it, ask me where I got it, tell me they’re planning to put it on their Christmas list. I even had a shy-looking teenager call after me in a superstore toilet yesterday, just as I was leaving, as if unable to help herself: “I like your handbag!”

So if you’ve been tempted by the Sunday supplements to splash out, think again. Nip into Cath Kidston instead and buy a handbag like mine for £35. Then invest in a notebook to make a list of how you’re going to spend the £965 you’ve just saved.

Post Script on 12th May
A whole new take on my Cath Kidston bag yesterday in the supermarket.  The check-out assistant, mid-scan, fixes her gaze on my handbag.

“Is that one of those expensive bags?” she asks.

“I suppose it depends what you’re comparing it to,” I reply.

In the context of a free plastic carrier or a 10p Bag for Life, I suddenly feel positively extravagant.


English author of warm, witty novels including the popular Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries and the Staffroom at St Bride's School series, both set in the Cotswolds. Founder and director of the Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival. UK Ambassador for the Alliance of Independent Authors and for the children's reading charity, Read for Good. Public speaker for the Type 1 Diabetes charity JDRF.

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