Purposely Purseless and Proud | Do You Hate to Carry a Handbag?

Now, why are you carrying that Purse?

Shopping in a department store, people mistake me for a salesperson.

Individuals ask me where the restroom is, or where to find the designer potpourri simmer-pots, and seem mildly annoyed when I tell them that I sincerely have no idea.

"I can't find anything I really need."
"I can't find anything I really need." | Source

Usually I pay no attention to other customers, so people naturally assume I am a salesperson.

But perhaps the kinder explanation for their misperception is . . . that I don't carry a purse.


Most women cannot imagine shopping without a handbag, but I have found it to be very liberating.

I never worry about misplacing my bag, or locking it in the car, or leaving it in a bus or dressing room. I laugh at purse-snatchers, or I would if I ever saw one.

Why would anyone want to carry around all that extra weight?

At unlimited buffets I don't have to carry a heavy bag back and forth with me or worry about leaving it unattended at a table.

It's not that I have anything against purses.

I often browse in the purse department to marvel at the the variations in styles and innovations in organization that have separate designated places for all of the things I don't need to carry.

I'm also amazed that some of them-- even without contents-- weigh as much as a complete new outfit with matching shoes.


In Victorian times a proper lady carried a purse to hold proper Victorian essentials like smelling salts ( since occasional fainting was considered ladylike) and a few embroidered hankies (since Kleenex hadn't been invented) a long bejeweled hat-pin (since pepper-spray also hadn't been invented) and a pair of kid gloves (for some forgotten Victorian reason).

These were small pouches that dangled effortlessly from the wrist.

Today's handbags have evolved and, in some cases, are very heavy and large enough to contain all of the essentials to furnish a small apartment.

The Ultimate Giant Handbag!

Women's handbags were dreamed up by men who didn't want their wives to have both hands free while shopping.

Of course, being conditioned to the idea of carrying a bag, we have learned to shop with the equivalent of having one hand tied behind our backs.

Think of the freedom that being purseless might give you.

Without having to tote the extra weight of a superfluous handbag, you can actually buy more items, like the extra outfit with matching shoes.


I challenge you women to free yourself from handbags.

Look in your purse now, Better yet, dump the contents on the floor and throw out everything you didn't even know was in there.

Why are you carrying that emergency pacifier when your youngest child is now 23?

Why do you lug around enough cosmetics to do the makeup for the entire cast of a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta?

You will discover that you have been toting several pounds of unnecessary stuff.

Do you have a sewing kit, a manicure kit, a dry cleaning kit, a first-aid kit, a leatherman multi-tool , a local phone directory and a food processor in your purse?

When was the last time you interrupted a serious shopping spree to do mending, manicuring, spot removing, or to splint a simple fracture?

All of those things can wait until the shopping trip is over. If you think you will need phone numbers, write them on your arm, or consider a tasteful tattoo.

(For women) Do you carry a purse?

  • Yes. I need one.
  • No. I try not to.
  • Yes, but I wish I didn't have to.
  • Sometimes
See results without voting

The Fashion Conspiracy

The fashion industry has shamelessly promoted the idea that women need purses-- especially expensive ones.

They play on our fears of being caught without items we never use.

They insist that our costumes are incomplete without a distinctive handbag -- perhaps one covered with Saworski crystals or made in the shape of a horse's head. Why?

Do you remember a few years back when designers tried to promote handbags for men? It didn't fly, did it?

That was partly because men know that they really don't need to carry a lot of extra stuff and partly because men know that when they do have extra stuff, like binoculars, camera lenses and tool catalogs, they can give them to wives who will carry them in their purses.


What do women of European Royal families carry in their purses? They don't need credit cards, do they?

Does the Queen need a photo ID? Does she even shop? How about breath mints? Would anyone tell her if she needed them?

If any royal personages were to ask me, I would say lose the purses.

With all of those tiaras and sashes and things, they are already highly over-accessorized. If they need a tissue, or dental floss, or anti-aging cream, someone in the royal entourage would have it, wouldn't they?

The bare essentials for a commoner's excursion away from home include car keys, drivers license, and credit card-- all of which can be carried in a small coin purse that fits in a pocket or attaches to a belt.

My Revelation

When I was a substitute teacher I found there was no good way to securely stash a purse in an unfamiliar classroom.

Another sub had an idea-- she locked her purse in the trunk of her car, and only took her keys with her to the classroom. I did this too, until the day I heard that her car had been stolen from a campus parking lot.

At that point I made a decision that Thoreau would have applauded. No purse.

In the future we will be able to lock and unlock our cars with pre-programmed laser thumbprint readers. An iris scan will provide our credit/debit information for making purchases. Our medical profiles and even instant access to electronic communication will be sent through tiny microchip implants.

. . . And I'll bet women will Still carry purses.

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Comments 83 comments

Cindy 8 years ago

You have never had a need for a tampon or pad while shopping?

You have never needed to have a candy bar for your diabetic condition?

You have never needed eye drops, nitro or any type of medications?

You have never had a cold when you just might need a hanky or tissues?

You have never needed hand wipes before eating out?

A women's purse is her safety net in an effort to prepare for all emergencies.

It is similar to a carry around pantry stocked with emergency supplies.

DonnaCSmith profile image

DonnaCSmith 8 years ago from Central North Carolina

LOL, Shell, I quit carrying that dang thing aound years ago (Maybe, Cindy, that was about the same time I hit menapause and didn't need emergency tampons?)

I have one of those neat little "offices" 5X8 inch, holds daily planner, address book, plastic, license, money, pen, and I can even squeeze in a tiny notepad. It has a cell phone pocket on the outside. This is handy for from home to stables and scheuling riding lessons, etc. And I have learned to tuck it in my armpit while shopping. But, lots of times I just stick the keys and the credit card in my pocket and go.

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 8 years ago from California Gold Country Author

Not everyone can do it-- i'm not suggesting that everyone should. Moms with young children need a purse. Most of my clothes have pockets for hanky and cell phone. Luckily, i don't need any meds, and menopause does make life simpler.

robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey

Gosh this was fun, Rochelle. I have many jackets and coats with deep pockets and I too rarely carry a purse--unless I'm going on a real excursion or it's high summer and i am jacket-less, I guess I shoulda leave the tiara at home too eh? Thanks for a delightful romp through the history and lore of handbags.

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

I do not like to put things in my pocket, so having a purse is essential for me.  Also, I like to make decorated purses of my own design, so for me it is a hobby and a passtime.  I guess that makes me too girly, but it is just who I am.  However, I respect those who choose not to carry a purse, I just know mine is essential. However, I think women's lib is also about the decision to wear a purse or not wear a purse if you want. I actually like to wear skirts quite often and many women think I dress up way too much, but I just remind them part of women's lib is the right to choose what is comfortable and right for you. This is an interesting topic.

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 8 years ago from California Gold Country Author

Yes indeed, SweetiePie, it is all about having a choice. When I am traveling I sometimes have a 'fanny-pack' that also doubles as a purse. I have gone so long without using one that I have become accustomed to traveling light.

For young moms-- it is purse, diaper bag, tote bag-- and sometimes something else. ... most of it is necessary.

My personal theory is "less is more"-- whenever possible or practical. All in all, I'm sure you recognize that this was somewhat in fun. I have a neighbor who tried my system and found that she had to pay $20 to get into Yosemite (we live nearby) because her lifetime pass was in her purse.

You always have to have your essentials.

Thanks for the comment.

Maylinda Arons profile image

Maylinda Arons 8 years ago from India

I love purses. LOVE 'em. I don't care if there's nothing inside, I don't care if they weigh more than I do... I have a 'thing' for purses. And I can laugh at this thing I have, which is why your hub appealed to me so much. It is funny that I would carry around something for pretty much no reason at all. I'm still gonna do it, though.

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 8 years ago from California Gold Country Author

Yes, Maylinda-- some people always will. It's a personal, Choice. I can't go into a grocery store without pushing cart-- even just for a few things.

Em Writes profile image

Em Writes 7 years ago from Upstate NY

Love the hub, but I'm not swayed. I might NEED that food processor.

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada

Rochelle! I'm sorry to say I need my suitcase... the bigger the better. My kids always tease me. A few years back they got me a bottle of handsanitizer in the shape of a kitchen sink. That was the only thing that was missing. Come to think of it, Em's comment made me realize I'm not complete yet I do not have a food processor in my bag... Oh dear panic is slowly setting in

Love the hub regards Zsuzsy

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country Author

As long as there are people like Em and Zsuzy around , I'll never have to worry. I can always borrow the food processor in a pinch. I just regret that you will never know the freedom of purselessness. It's better than going braless.

dineane profile image

dineane 7 years ago from North Carolina

I've tried to give up my purse - or at least downsize to a small one with room just for my cigs & drivers license - but my husband always hands me all of HIS stuff to carry!

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country Author

See, that's one reason I don't carry one.

Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

I do declare, i think I am the first man in the world to ever read this hub. I feel like I snuck in the women's dressing room! Women's purses baffle me. Most of the time women don't even seem to know what exactly is in there, and God forbid a woman asks us to get something for her out of her purse. It's a jungle in there. Thanks for a great hub.

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country Author

I think most men misunderstand the purse concept, and the peculiar attachment women seem to have to them. It's no use trying to get husbands to try to get women to go pureless-- because then they would have to carry their own stuff.

Thanks for reading, Cristoph.

trish1048 profile image

trish1048 7 years ago

Hi Rochelle,

Alas, I still carry one, but I have tried to downsize the overall size of the purse.  I do often, though, have the same thought when shopping, which is 'wish I didn't have to lug this thing around'.  I remember when the kids were growing up, between them and my own mom, I ended up with all kinds of stuff jammed into my purse.  I hated it, but did I stop to think, gee, why not ditch it for the next outing, or at the very least, bring a smaller one.  But even that didn't work, as long as there was a thing the kids didn't want to carry, Mom found room for it.

I've also bought those super-duper organizer purses that are so popular.  That didn't work either.  Once I put everything in its proper place, I couldn't remember which pouch held what.  So then I went back to the bottomless pit types, and those drive me crazy as well.  As Chris mentioned, I surprised even myself at some of the stuff I felt I had to carry around.

Oh!  and I was very happy to read that you need to push a grocery cart no matter the size of the order.  I'm the same way!  Even if I'm just getting a gallon of milk, I need to push the silly cart.  My daughter thinks I'm silly :)

A very interesting, fun hub.  Thanks for sharing!

countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 7 years ago from Washington, USA

Rochelle- Btw I always look for the store name tag when I want to seek help..hehe. I have one of the organizer type of purses. Nice techno gadgets may come.But you are right "women will Still carry purses"....LOL

sunforged profile image

sunforged 7 years ago from

Im going to have to get my girlfriend to read this, since I always end up being a babysitter for the thing too.

Next step, encourage sensible shoes!

This could have been a fun op for a sidebar explaining corsets -smelling salts and "fainting couches" in victorian culture

Sterling Sage profile image

Sterling Sage 7 years ago from California

LOL Great hub, Rochelle. I've always thought many of the accessories women feel they need are just pushed on them by marketers.

Em Writes profile image

Em Writes 7 years ago from Upstate NY

Christoph & sunforged - My husband actually supports my carrying of a purse. First, I NEVER ask him to hold it for me. Second, it's a handy spot to keep HIS stuff. Third, if he needs a tissue, or gum, or money, I've got it.

It also works to my advantage. If he's away for business for more than three days, he generally brings me a present in the form of fine leather goods. The man actually has pretty good taste in Coach.

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country Author

Thank you Trish. I think moms probably do need a purse, and I agree that too many organizer pockets defeat their own purpose, plus they usually add to the weight of the purse.

Thanks, countrywomen, yes people need to look for the badge. I sometimes forget to remove my nametag when I have been volunteering in the museum-- and then go shopping. Maybe that was it, after all! Organizers are good, I think -- as long as they are small.

Sunforged-- good luck. Most women are just too attached to their purses. I wouldn't think of asking my husband to hold mine -- if I had one. Another one--sensible shoes (I have those too, wouldn't you know) I'll think about that hub.

Sterling Sage-- you may be right about the marketers (don't tell Misha) but I think it just a habit that has lasted for generations.

Em don't you think he should be responsible for his own stuff? You are making him dependent on you. Oh well, I know better than to try to convince some people :) We all have different needs . Also, dont you know you can make a coach out of a pumpkin? >grin<

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

I have a handbag (which is what I think you mean by purse? I'm learning to speak American on hubpages....)

When I'm working, I need a bag because you can't put much stuff in a suit before it hangs wrongly.

When I'm out and about with Isaac, I definintely need one (-:

But to free my hands up, my normal handbag is a small black leather rucksack. It has my purse (for money, credit cards, etc), mobile, keys, packet of tissues, mascara and lip gloss, and a couple of pens.

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country Author

Your use of a handbag (we call it that, too) seems proper and necessary. As I said, children need things.

Thanks for the comments.

Frieda Babbley profile image

Frieda Babbley 7 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

What a great hub! Fabulous topic, fabulous cause to root for! I hate carrying purses. I lose them repeatedly. It's awkward to dance with them. At restaurants they usually go on the floor, ultimately getting food on them. I stick my card and licence in my bra or a pocket and I don't have to worry about anything. I do own purses, mind you. There are occations when you just really want them. But I never like to feel tied down to a purse. And because men's clothing is so filled with hidden pockets inside and out, if I'm with my husband, I make him carry anything I need to bring with us. And that settles that.

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country Author

I think you have completely understood my theory, Frieda.

Teresa McGurk profile image

Teresa McGurk 7 years ago from The Other Bangor

I've tried not to carry a handbag or shoulder bag. I try to keep the contents to a minimum. But I just love them. The smell of leather. Good leather. And I like to have an assortment of pens, of different color inks, because -- well, because you just never know when you're going to have to grade a paper, or need a sharpie, or want to write on a whiteboard. And pencils. And of course I need a small notebook. And my electronic dictionary that has the compact OED in it. And my iPod.

I've tried, I really have. And then I go into a store and see a Hobo(TM) and I swoon. . . .

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country Author

A writer without a pencil and notebook is no writer.

I've never understood the need for an iPod, either-- but there obviously is one.

sym 7 years ago

I've been saying this exact thing for YEARS!! No matter WHO designs it nor how much money is paid for it, it is still DEAD WEIGHT!! There is nothing attractive about a bag hanging off a woman and it contibutes to her overall appearance of heaviness. What's more, the currently stylish large ones are a chiropracter's dream, they are TERRIBLE for your posture and spine. No ones needs all that crap everywhere they go, a clutch wallet and keys in hand or in a jacket pocket has served me well for many years. Keep things you might need while going out in the car. And for these men who hand you their things to carry, how about 'This is YOUR stuff, I'm not your pack animal' and hand it back so they can put in THEIR pockets or better, leave in the car. Be sensible and move lightly.

And by the way, researchers have found that the underside of a woman's purse is one of the filthiest things on the planet, partly because of women's habit of placing them in the baby seat of a grocery store cart, think diaper leakage. Ewww!

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country Author

I haven't carried on in years, myself. I'm afraid if I went back to the practice, I would be so out of the habit that I would be constantly leaving it beind.

Lisa HW profile image

Lisa HW 7 years ago from Massachusetts

My kids are grown, I won't carry around anyone else's stuff, I know exactly what/where everything is in my well organized (and giant) bag; and (to the person who noted how women's handbags are dirty on the bottoms) I watch where I place my bag and clean it regularly. As people can probably guess, by now, not carrying the trusty bag is just not an option for me. (I don't even carry around all my make-up, just a few touch-up items).

I like the look of a lot of bags (although I tend to stay with one per season most of the time); and I prefer to stay away from leather products. My point is I apparently have a fairly different set of "handbag values/opinions" from many other people.

Having said all that, I just like having one and not worrying about taking wallets and keys out of one set of pockets and moving them to another, every time I change and/or leave the house. All my stuff is all in the handbag and ready to go at any time; so I never forget or lose anything.

I have to always have a comb and mini-hairspray (because of hair type), wallet and usual cards in it, keys, cell phone, hand sanitizer, breath mints, and touch-up make-up - so I figure, "why not add a lot of other handy items and call it 'having everything I could possibly need'". Based on the struggles of some of the guys in my life (with their many belongings), I think guys ought to carry bags too. :)

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country Author

People will alwys come up with good reasons for carrying, I won't try to convert anyone, but it is not for me.

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

I just love this hub!

I had a friend who had to undergo rotator cup surgery because of her heavy shoulder bag carried for years.

When I was working in S. Korea I was able to go purse free -this is because I had a suit made in Bangkok and unlike here in the US the (fabulous fitting) suit jacket has sleek pockets inside the jacket so I could slip in emergency money, my cash card, and a train card if needed. Further, my door lock was electronically programmed so no keys. The pants had deep pockets. In the US men get these benefits in their suits but because women are constantly told they are FAT!!!!! - they buy pants without pockets and jackets can't have a bulge so no sleek inside pockets. Good grief.

I seldom carry a purse now but I sub too and bring a sandwich and a few odds and ends - so I have one bag I just throw things in and get out in the a.m.

By the way in S. Korea if a woman is out with the family and needs her hands to be free, I saw so many dads carrying her purse. Happily.

Alas we are the consumer nation and women have been taught to buy shoes shoes shoes and then handbags - which we fill with all sorts of responsibilty - our responsibilities and needs don't stop when we step outside.

Shoulder straps have been proven to throw off our balance, and disrupt circulation causing brain fog - but... well, we are women so we have to do what society tells us about accessorizing. (I'm gagging while I say that).

Great hub! It's time to effect some change here! Thanks!

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country Author

Filling our handbags with responsibilities-- yes, that is an interesting idea.

Learning to live without one is very freeing, and it's really just a matter of deciding what is really necessary. I rarely buy any clothes that don't have pockets. I'm especially happy when I find a vest that has inside and outside pockets, with some zippered. I've even considered those fisherman or photographer safari vests-- but that's going a little too far even for me.

ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 6 years ago from USA

I had an ultimate pleasure reading this hub, as any of your writings. Just loved your points. Growing a “tomboy”, I developed love for clothes with pockets. Like, “what is this jacket for, if there are no pockets in it”? My pockets were always full of rocks, coins made flat by a street car, stamps, acorns, what not….

I am a “womanly” woman, but I still prefer clothes with pockets. I carry a purse (a small purse) just when it is really needed. A small purse just with my money wallet (purse), a cell phone, and the keys, well, a lip balm. But whenever possible, I put those in my pockets. I like to feel free.

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 6 years ago from California Gold Country Author

I like the way you think.

By now, if I started carrying a pocketbook again, I would surely leave it behind somewhere.

Thanks for reading.

Buffoon profile image

Buffoon 6 years ago

OMG, this was hilarious, and so very much apropos what I wrote about women's handbags! *g*

"Look in your purse now, Better yet, dump the contents on the floor and throw out everything you didn't even know was in there." I can see a few saying, "all right, I forgot about carrying a pacifier, but what if I get pregnant again?" *L*

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 6 years ago from California Gold Country Author

Thanks for visiting, Buffoon. As you might have seen in the comments women are usually totally against, or adamently for, the idea. I think we are right on this one, usually.

I really enjoyed your ideas on the subject.

Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 5 years ago from Jamaica

Reading this I feel so embarrassed. I tote around a handbag full of (1) a cologne (2)makeup (3)pens and notebook (4)hand sanitizer (5)nail clip (6)comb and brush (7) junk (8) junk (9)more junk.

The truth is when I put my lip gloss on I rarely touch up. I don't usually spray cologne on after I leave the house or do a manicure while on the road. The only thing in the purse I may really need is the hand sanitizer.

The first commenter seemed offended, but if you are diabetic or have some other ailment that needs constant attention by all means take your medication with you. Most women know their bodies well enough to know when they will need a it all comes down to common sense...when to carry a purse.

Thanks Rochelle, I really enjoyed reading this one.

One more thing, the Victorian women needed the hanky to drop at their feet so the gentlemen would pick it up and return it, then they would have a secret affair or something...saw that in a movie

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 5 years ago from California Gold Country Author

Thank you, Cardisa, for the comments.

If you are used to carrying a handbag, it's good to give the idea of purslessness some real thought before trying to go without one. Sometimes they are necessary.

Kelsey 4 years ago

ah this is wonderful! I am 21 and have NEVER carried a purse... I don't own a single one. It's good to know that there are others out there.

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 4 years ago from California Gold Country Author

I think you are very sensible. Yes, there are a few of us.

Rachelle Williams profile image

Rachelle Williams 4 years ago from Tempe, AZ

Interesting... I have a cute little Coach strap that I have started carrying around in place of a handbag, but ... I miss having my "stuff."

I guess I just need to get out of the mindset of needing a purse.

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 4 years ago from California Gold Country Author

Some people do need them-- these are just my (sometimes silly) reasons for not.

Rayne 4 years ago

I've recently switched to just carrying a wallet that is just big enough for my cards, money, lip balm and iphone. On occasions where I need something bigger, I can throw it into a bag. It dangles easily from my wrist and I love it. It's a bit hard to let go of all that crap I lugged around, but I'm mostly going to and from work, so I keep extra makeup and other "necessities" in my desk at the office.

I love not having that huge weight on me all the times. My husband is definitely on board with the no bag concept, so if I do need him to carry something for me, I'm sure he'll be willing to put it in his endless pockets.

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 4 years ago from California Gold Country Author

I applaud you for discovering your new freedom. Pockets are great-- especially if you husband has them.

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

Now...if all of my clothes had nice roomy pockets, I just might try this. When I think of what I use most...the keys, money, kleenix tissues, an occasional refresher with lipstick and sunglasses make the list. I carry a cell phone but rarely use it. If I wish to photograph anything, my camera is then added to the purse. I can see already that I will probably never be able to totally give it up unless my hubby can also carry some of my "stuff" in his pockets as well. Nice thought, however!

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 4 years ago from California Gold Country Author

I like pockets. As I probably already mentioned, it would be hard to adapt to a purse again. I'd be certain to leave it behind. Thanks again, Peggy.

Uninvited Writer profile image

Uninvited Writer 4 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

I carry a purse only when absolutely necessary or when I am wearing something that has no pockets. I would take one to work because I'd have my Kindle, my lunch, my keys and my wallet in there. In winter I have a ski jacket that has an inside pocket, I put my Kindle in there along with stuff I might need like my debit card.

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 4 years ago from California Gold Country Author

Thanks, UW. Yes, it's probably easier in Winter when you have a jacket pocket. Some travel vests with pockets are light enough to wear in summer, too.

Violet Black 4 years ago

Interesting perspective. For me the purse attachment seems to be mainly psychological. For most of my life so far I've lived in either a dorm or with my family, so the sense that "my important stuff is HERE and it isn't going anywhere until I decide otherwise" is important to me. It also provides something to fiddle with when someone is trying to eye-contact me for a prolonged period of time and something to occupy me if I end up stranded somewhere like a waiting room or a social gathering. I'm a hobbyist writer/artist, and the sensation that "I could at least be doing concept sketches for Story X if I had my stuff with me instead of standing here picking my nails while I wait for Friend/Relative/Driver Y to finish telling Acquaintance Z her life story!" is truly maddening. I am the kind of person who is literally at risk of kicking a dent in the wall from that kind of frustration.

Also, most of my clothes lack pockets for some reason. X_X

But I get the feeling my psychology is unambiguously abnormal, and most women do not have the same problems.

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 4 years ago from California Gold Country Author

If it saves your sanity it IS important.

And, no, not abnormal. After all, don't you see more women "carrying" than not? I think us purseless ladies are the odd ones.

vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

This is a fascinating and well-written hub. Probably 50% of women in Peru use purses, maybe even less. That has influenced me so that I often leave home without one. It's liberating because crime and pickpocketing is a serious problem here and without a purse no one can rob me. I'd never given it much thought before, but society does mold us to think we need a purse. (and yes, my husband does store his things in my purse when I carry it!) This was very thought provoking. Thanks so much!

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 4 years ago from California Gold Country Author

Thank you for commenting, vespawoolf. Interesting to know that many women in Peru go purseless. The pickpocket problem is another good reason.

Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

Hi Rochelle. I seldom take a purse anywhere. I did not go cold turkey but kept eliminating what I thought I needed until I discovered I really didn't. Now I buy slacks with pockets and in a pinch use the Grandma Pouch (my bra). It really is a freedom not to carry a purse and all the stuff in it. As a minimalist, I have discovered I don't need all the things society tells me I must have.

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 4 years ago from California Gold Country Author

I had a feeling that you were a sensible person, Hyphenbird. (Now I should plug my hub about "What's in Your Bra" . . . but I won't.

Pockets are good, and I have found some travel clothes that have hidden ones, even better. I appreciate the read and the comment.

Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

I really will go read that Hub! Hope I am not late for work. lol

AMFredenburg profile image

AMFredenburg 3 years ago from Southwestern New Hampshire

I love this article! I carry a handbag at times, but love just tucking my wallet and car keys in a deep pocket and heading out the door. I've actually thought of designing a line of clothing for myself just so I could incorporate pockets so I could ditch the handbag for good. Voting up, tweeting and facebooking.

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 3 years ago from California Gold Country Author

Thank you for commenting and sharing, AMFredenburg.

If you look up some of the companies that sell travel supplies and clothes you will find clothing with lots of pockets, some are even hidden or zippered. I have a lightweight travel vest (that doesn't look like a tactical safari item) which is just perfect for shopping. It has a secure, convenient place for cards, cash and receipts.

Designing your own is a good idea, because you can include pockets in the size and location that work best for you.

AMFredenburg profile image

AMFredenburg 3 years ago from Southwestern New Hampshire

That's a great idea; thanks!

Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas

This is a fantastic article and I love it! No one agrees with you more than I do. I haven't carried a purse since 2004. That's when I took a job that would require me to be able to move around a lot and I didn't want to have to haul a bunch of emergency 'stuff' around with me and keep track of it.

Prior to 2004 I had already gone to a fanny pac so that I could have my hands free to deal with my baby/toddler. Before that I had carried the traditionally expected suitcase with everything to furnish a small apartment in it -- as you articulated so well.

I love the freedom of not having to remember where I put my purse and of having 2 hands to shop with, or whatever I need them for. Everything I need is in my pockets and it's not much.

There are so many cool bags out there, but alas, what would I do with them? Not carrying a purse helps a person be more organized and practical, I think, and it saves a lot of money one would usually spend on fashionable bags.

You know, maybe that's the reason people tend to ask me for directions at the grocery store -- they think if I'm not carrying a purse I must work there! ;)

Voted up and awesome!

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Rochelle Frank 3 years ago from California Gold Country Author

Glad to see how well you understand this concept. Getting rid of unneeded things in our life just makes it simpler. Thank you for the comments and votes, Au fait.

Winter VanTassel 3 years ago

I hate carrying a bag. All it does is get in the way. But sometimes I have to carry a small one if I'm wearing something with small or no pockets. All that I carry are my keys, chapstick, debit card, and phone. These all used to fit in either my pockets (if they were big enough - my shorts pockets never were) or my bra, but ever since I got an iPhone, I can't do that, because it's too big to fit in my pockets/bra! I also find it a bit unclassy to pull stuff out of my boobs in public sometimes. So I can see why many women would carry at least a small bag, because women's clothing is tighter fitting than men's, and we don't have enough room in our pockets which is really quite a shame.

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 3 years ago from California Gold Country Author

Small bags are sometimes necessary, but it sounds like have caught the spirit of the purseless philosophy. The idea is to carry no more than you really need. For me, pockets in a piece of clothing I'm planing to by, is a high priority.

mary615 profile image

mary615 3 years ago from Florida

If women's pants were made like men's, we wouldn't need to carry purses! I put necessary items in my jean's pockets and leave my purse at home. We've had so many purse snatchers in our area, a lot of gals are no longer using them.

Great Hub. Voted UP and shared.

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA

Loved your hub, but I'll probably still carry a purse. I've downsized to a very small model with a shoulder strap, but I really do need it to hold my wallet, keys, pocket sized camera, cell phone, comb, tissues and a few Aleve. If I had a few large pockets, this would all fit, but I'd feel pretty bulky! I'd rather have it stashed in my purse.

I've noticed that, like you, my granddaughters and their mothers seldom carry a purse...but they are forever losing their cell phones, debit cards or loose money! And YUCK when there is an unanticipated sneeze or two!

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 3 years ago from California Gold Country Author

Thank you, Mary615. I've found a few clothing items on travel supply sites that are handy. I like my lightweight vest that has two pockets that snap and one zippered pocket for shopping. I appreciate the share.

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Rochelle Frank 3 years ago from California Gold Country Author

Thanks for commenting, Stephanie. My cell phone has a short lanyard with a clip on the end. It goes in a pocket and clips to a belt loop. The keys have a carabiner clip, too. My wallet is slim, and I don't like to have my cards and cash in anything that can be separated from me. Purselessness isn't for everyone. You have to do what works best for you.

Imogen French profile image

Imogen French 3 years ago from Southwest England

I do find handbags quite annoying, however I don't think I could manage without one. I find carrying a purse, mobile phone, car keys and all the other little necessities in my pockets a bit awkward. Also, when out with my (all male) family, somehow I always seem to end up carrying all their stuff in my bag "Mum, can you just put my phone and my wallet in your bag so I don't lose it." I really think men should have their own bags! :)

Thanks for an amusing article.

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 3 years ago from California Gold Country Author

I agree, Imogen French. If we are the only ones with a bag, we are left holding it. Thanks for the comment.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas

You have a lot of excellent lines in this essay, but this is my favorite,"Usually I pay no attention to other customers, so people naturally assume I am a salesperson."

I love this essay. Very funny and still to the point.

I quit carrying a purse that held sufficient furnishings for a small apartment back in 2004. :) Before that I had used a fanny pack so that my hands would be free for my daughter who was small way back in the late 80s. I decided that even a fanny pack was too much.

I started driving a city bus in 2004, and there were times when I needed to get off the bus if only to stretch my legs for 2-3 minutes, the only time available. (I no longer drive a bus, just so anyone who cares will know.) I didn't want to have to keep track of a purse.

I still don't carry a purse and it drives some people crazy for some reason -- have no idea why they care. I love the freedom of purselessness! Really enjoyed reading this!!

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 2 years ago from California Gold Country Author

Thank you for your very kind comments. It seems that you also understand the concept of purselessness. We really need much less than we think we do.

PortaPocketGal profile image

PortaPocketGal 2 years ago

I haven't carried a purse in 7 years ...and don't miss it. What I DO use are my hands-free PortaPocket carrying cases... often 2-3 each day. they are often under my clothes so you'd never know. But helps me keep my ID, cash, cards, etc always handy (not to mention tampons, lipstick+ too)! I have one I wear over my outfit at my hip for my iPhone for easy access. Makes sense; solves problems. Uber comfy. See what I mean? Cheers to you, Rochelle....I applaud you for finding your FREEDOM!!

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 2 years ago from California Gold Country Author

This looks very similar to what I currently use.

Sarah 2 years ago

Fantastic article, I was beginning to feel like I'm the only one who doesn't carry a handbag or purse! I've been handbag-free for nearly two years. I never liked carrying a handbag around but always figured it was necessary. But then I figured... if guys can handle it, so can I. I want my hands and arms free. Sure, a lot of our clothes don't have the deep pockets that menswear has, but I've always still managed.

So yes, I just use pockets. In my pockets I have my phone, lip balm, breath mints and a tiny card holder with my cards and sometimes a little cash. Sometimes my motorbike key and a tissue too. If I need to bring a tampon with me, I make sure I wear pants or a jacket with a hidden or secure pocket on that day. Times where I wish I had a bag or other item does happen but very rarely. Not enough to justify carrying around a bag/purse all the time.

Feels good, man. Feels like freedom. :D

And thanks to the commenter who mentioned PortaPockets! I've never seen them before, they look like they'll come in handy.

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 2 years ago from California Gold Country Author

Sounds like you have discovered the true meaning of "Women's Liberation"-- hands free. Congratulations!

I usually do not allow links which promote products such as as the one you saw but I do sometimes use a similar product which is usually called a joggers belt-- and has a stretchy zippered pouch for necessities. It is a useful idea.

Wyn 2 years ago

Good Article. I promote the NO PURSE lifestyle. Why in the world would I want to carry a piece of luggage around anywhere on my shoulder? I did the exact same thing you stated in the article. I dumped it out and decided what was important and what wasn't.

Important.. ID, Debit Card, Few dollars in cash.

That's it.

The rest stays home!!!

I carry a small wallet with a magnetic clip on it. It's really a money clip for men. I got it at Staples. I stick it to my bra strap when I'm in public. HANDS FREE IS FOR ME.

Kudos on this article.

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 2 years ago from California Gold Country Author

Thanks for the comment, Wyn, It sounds like you have implemented the concept down to the very basics.

kennyk 2 years ago

I carry a purse. I call it a purse because it contains my wallet, phablet, pens/paper, and other oddznendz I find I commonly need when out and about. It's not big, it's just a fanny pack that converts to shoulder//messenger style.

I find this is easier than wearing cargo pants fulla gear. Very rarely do I ever go out without it. It's my essential bag. The idea of woman carrying a purse that keeps her arm pinned and useless is absurd, why would any woman carry such a ridiculous assessory, or "assessory" bag.

I can see that some purses limit use because of the idiotic way they are designed, but the idea of a person, male or female carrying their everyday gear we tote around in the auto, or whatever isn't for a lot of people. Some of us use bikes and public transport, so we don't have that luxury, nor do we want to "drive" everywhere just to use our autos as a "safe".

Driving an SUV just so you don't have to carry your wallet//phone, etc, into a store you could have walked to or biked to, etc, is so common of civilized norms and customs.

In the future, this article will highlight that absurdity, that purses became vehicles, so large that they were powered by fossil fuels and parked outside in giant "parking" arenas, and the bigger and more fancy, and expensive, highlighted that person class and social distinction, while the peasants carried theirs on their person!

This article goes from seeming like a logical rant to the deduction that women(people) that carry purses are living by the constraints of our ignorant past to the sudden wonderful revelation that our auto are our purses! That even when technology has stripped us of all personal rights and our entire existence can be stored "in the cloud" some people, stupidly will still choose to live as neanderthals and carry essentials on their person.

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 2 years ago from California Gold Country Author

I love your elaborate response, and I especially appreciate your minimalist pak-- this is something I do when traveling.

At the moment we are preparing for a possible evacuation due to local forest wildfire, and I usually have my 'must have' items ready to go.

Mhon 22 months ago

Some People are like Who Cares if its a Fake I agree, but at the same time disagree. The Reason are bseauce. Some Fakes are Made very Poorly Look really sloppy, but then again some fakes look really good can barely tell the defference. All I'm saying is that.. If you are going to buy a Fake get one that's not sloppy Not 2 noticable. [: Also, The fakes are a really good buy 2, but sometimes people sell them saying there real it turns out 2 be a fake. That's was I hate.. So watch out! [:

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Rochelle Frank 22 months ago from California Gold Country Author

Thanks for your thoughts. I guess I will not be getting a fake, since i wouldn't spend money on a designer type of bag... and actually have not bought any kind of handbag in years.

Budi 21 months ago

i got an authentic coach purse- and super cute to boot- at a rammuge sale this weekend for ONE DOLLAR!!! yeah for me when i bought it I figured it was just a knock off but it is a real coach purse seen it on ebay today bidding is already over 100 dollars and the buy it now price is over 200 i dont know if the chick broke up with an ex and wanted to get rid of it or what- but I LOVE IT

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Rochelle Frank 21 months ago from California Gold Country Author

What a deal! And if you decide not to carry it, you can always put it on eBay.

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