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Purseless and Proud: Why You Should Stop Carrying a Handbag

Rochelle Frank wrote humorous bits for her college newspaper many years ago. Her funny observations have continued in print and online.

Do you really need everything that's in your purse? Consider going purse-free!

Do you really need everything that's in your purse? Consider going purse-free!

Purses Leads to Misconception

Shopping in a department store, people often mistake me for a salesperson. Individuals ask me where the restroom is, or they will inquire about where to find the designer potpourri simmer-pots. Most seem rather annoyed when I tell them that I sincerely have no idea.

Usually I pay no attention to other shoppers, and I don't intentionally make eye contact with other customers, so people naturally assume I am a salesperson. But perhaps the kinder explanation for their misperception is that, unlike most customers, I don't carry a purse. Since I am purse-free, they think I must be an employee.

Going Purse-Free Is Liberating!

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 a store dressing room. I laugh at purse-snatchers, or I would if I ever saw one.

I like hands-free shopping, unencumbered by any kind of unnecessary luggage. Why does anyone want to carry around all that extra weight?

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

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

This philosophy has served me well, and not just in retail stores. For instance, at unlimited buffets, I don't have to carry a heavy bag back and forth with me between the table and the food stations or worry about leaving my bag unattended on a chair.

I'm Not Anti-Purse

It's not that I have anything against purses. I actually have a strange fascination with handbags. I often browse a store's purse department to marvel at 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.

Why Do Women Feel Compelled to Carry a Handbag?

1. It's Tradition

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 disposable paper tissues hadn't been invented). She might also carry 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, lightweight pouches that dangled effortlessly from the wrist. They did not weigh much since they were usually made of cloth and the contents were limited.Today's handbags have evolved and in some cases are large enough to contain all of the essentials to furnish a small apartment.

2. The Men Are to Blame

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.

3. The Fashion Conspiracy

The fashion industry has shamelessly promoted the idea that women actually need purses, especially expensive ones. They play on our fears of being caught without all of those items we never use.

They insist that our costumes are incomplete without a distinctive handbag. Perhaps we should have one covered with Swarovski 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.

The Challenge

I challenge you women to free yourself from handbags.

Look in your purse right now and decide what you can toss. Better yet, dump the contents on the floor and discard everything you didn't even know was in there. You will probably discover that you have been toting several pounds of heavy and unnecessary stuff.

  • 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?
  • 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 might need your medical insurance information, write it on your hand, or consider a tasteful tattoo.

Do the Royals Need 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 available for them, 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.

Why I Decided to Go Purseless

When I was a substitute teacher, I found there was no good way to securely stash a purse in an unfamiliar classroom. Also, if you are trying to find a good hiding place, it's likely that a lot of people will see where it is. The ultimate fear is forgetting where the hiding place is.

Another sub thought she had a good idea: She locked her purse in the trunk of her car and only took her keys and a notebook 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.

A Look to the Future

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.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: Where do you carry your keys, money and ID without a purse?

Answer: I like pockets. When I buy clothes I look for items with zippered pockets. My keys have a carabiner clip that attaches to a belt or belt loop. I also sometimes use a stretchy “joggers belt” that lies flat for cards, etc.

Question: What happens if you get something caught in your teeth from a food sample at the store?

Answer: Maybe use a toothpick? I don't think you need a handbag. Toothpicks often come with the sample.


Patty Inglish MS from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on August 01, 2018:

I pinned this article and hope others will enjoy it as much as I.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on July 31, 2018:

Appreciated, Patty. As I have already mentioned, good quality clothes with pockets can be found, but you have to look for them.

Patty Inglish MS from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on July 31, 2018:

I stopped carrying a purse when it became too dangerous to take it into the restaurant where I worked - too much junk in it and people could find it and steal the stuff. Just one incident of losing an inexpensive item stopped my purse-carrying. Now, if it won't fit into a pocket, I don't need to carry it. Otherwise, a study box in my car trunk is ideal for necessary items.

I always wear good slacks with deep pockets and I know how to break a wrist when I sense a pickpocket (which I also was trained to detect). I could have broken a wrist once in a store, but shouted bloody loudly and the manager came running and apprehended the would-be crook.

My 90-year-old aunt always wore a trench coat wit her wallet concealed in an inside pocket. I suppose at that age, hot weather in a coat did not bother her!

What I really don't understand is the giant brand-name purses that cost over $1,500.00.

Great article!

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on July 31, 2018:

I have my own home made version of this, but might like yours better. (I just ordered).

PortaPocketGal on July 31, 2018:

Made my own solution after a mishap of sorts. No purses for me... I'm with you on being LIBERATED!! Pockets in clothing are often useless. Especially in women's clothes...and even more now so with the ubiquity of cell phones...

Many moons ago I was at the gym and my (spare) tampon fell out (of my useless pants pocket) in the middle of a set. It rolled across the room and sat in the middle of free weights area. GAH!! Didn't notice for 10 min, and I was the only female there. Ugh. Soooo embarrasing. BUT it also inspired me to create. So I fixed my own problem, and now haven't relied on a purse or pockets in clothes since 2008. Patent issued on my little problem-solver in 2010 and now I just use my PortaPocket wearables every day. I'm good to go, and won't leave home without 'em! I'm so over the clothing designers who can't understand the needs of half the population. I'll just rely on good old fashioned practicality and common sense, instead. :) xox

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on July 30, 2018:

Sounds like you have it figured out.

I like some of the clothes from companies that sell travel accessories.

Though a little pricey, the clothing (even women's) often has hidden or zippered pockets.

kathy on July 30, 2018:

I do not carry a purse and love it!! I use pockets - unfortunately, pockets in women's slacks and jeans are so shallow. I have moved to either buy my jeans in men's section and/or I go to the young men's area and buy a comparable size for me. They have bigger pockets. One one side I carry a kleenex, comb, and very small nail clipper, file, scissors combo. On the other side, I have money (bills and some coins), a slim wallet with my name in it and that's it. I do have a very small wallet kept in my car in a secret place with all pertinent info re. me if I need it. I love it!!!

Jean Bakula from New Jersey on June 28, 2018:


What a funny article! And when you mentioned Thoreau, I had to rethink my love affair with handbags. After all, "Beware of ventures which require new clothes!"

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on January 10, 2015:

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

Budi on January 10, 2015:

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

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on December 30, 2014:

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.

Mhon on December 30, 2014:

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! [:

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on September 05, 2014:

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.

kennyk on September 05, 2014:

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 (author) from California Gold Country on September 01, 2014:

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

Wyn on August 31, 2014:

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 (author) from California Gold Country on August 19, 2014:

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.

Sarah on August 19, 2014:

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 (author) from California Gold Country on July 27, 2014:

This looks very similar to what I currently use.

PortaPocketGal on July 26, 2014:

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 (author) from California Gold Country on July 20, 2014:

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.

C E Clark from North Texas on July 20, 2014:

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 (author) from California Gold Country on August 25, 2013:

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

Imogen French from Southwest England on August 25, 2013:

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 (author) from California Gold Country on August 25, 2013:

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.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on August 25, 2013:

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.

Stephanie Henkel from USA on August 25, 2013:

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!

Mary Hyatt from Florida on August 24, 2013:

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.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on May 19, 2013:

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.

Winter VanTassel on May 18, 2013:

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 (author) from California Gold Country on April 07, 2013:

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.

C E Clark from North Texas on April 06, 2013:

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!

Aldene Fredenburg from Southwestern New Hampshire on February 16, 2013:

That's a great idea; thanks!

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on February 16, 2013:

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.

Aldene Fredenburg from Southwestern New Hampshire on February 15, 2013:

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.

Brenda Barnes from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on October 21, 2012:

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

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on October 20, 2012:

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.

Brenda Barnes from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on October 20, 2012:

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 (author) from California Gold Country on September 27, 2012:

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

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on September 27, 2012:

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 (author) from California Gold Country on April 15, 2012:

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.

Violet Black on April 14, 2012:

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 (author) from California Gold Country on April 10, 2012:

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.

Susan Keeping from Kitchener, Ontario on February 15, 2012:

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 (author) from California Gold Country on February 14, 2012:

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.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on February 14, 2012:

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 (author) from California Gold Country on February 07, 2012:

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

Rayne on February 07, 2012:

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 (author) from California Gold Country on December 12, 2011:

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

Rachelle Williams from Tempe, AZ on December 12, 2011:

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 (author) from California Gold Country on November 30, 2011:

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

Kelsey on November 29, 2011:

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 (author) from California Gold Country on July 05, 2011:

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.

Carolee Samuda from Jamaica on July 04, 2011:

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 (author) from California Gold Country on April 23, 2010:

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.

Buffoon on April 22, 2010:

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 (author) from California Gold Country on December 25, 2009:

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.

ReuVera from USA on December 25, 2009:

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 (author) from California Gold Country on September 14, 2009:

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.

BkCreative from Brooklyn, New York City on September 14, 2009:

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 (author) from California Gold Country on May 06, 2009:

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

Lisa HW from Massachusetts on April 10, 2009:

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 (author) from California Gold Country on March 29, 2009:

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.

sym on March 28, 2009:

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 (author) from California Gold Country on February 24, 2009:

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.

Sheila from The Other Bangor on February 24, 2009:

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 (author) from California Gold Country on February 24, 2009:

I think you have completely understood my theory, Frieda.

Frieda Babbley from Saint Louis, MO on February 24, 2009:

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 (author) from California Gold Country on February 24, 2009:

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

Thanks for the comments.

LondonGirl from London on February 24, 2009:

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 (author) from California Gold Country on November 24, 2008:

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<

Em Writes from Upstate NY on November 24, 2008:

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.

Sterling Sage from California on November 24, 2008:

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

sunforged from on November 24, 2008:

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

countrywomen from Washington, USA on November 23, 2008:

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

trish1048 on November 23, 2008:

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!

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on November 22, 2008:

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.

Christoph Reilly from St. Louis on November 21, 2008:

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 (author) from California Gold Country on November 21, 2008:

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

dineane from North Carolina on November 21, 2008:

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 (author) from California Gold Country on November 21, 2008:

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.

Zsuzsy Bee from Ontario/Canada on November 21, 2008:

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

Em Writes from Upstate NY on November 21, 2008:

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

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on July 22, 2008:

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.

Maylinda Arons on July 13, 2008:

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 (author) from California Gold Country on June 13, 2008:

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.

SweetiePie from Southern California, USA on June 13, 2008:

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.

Roberta Kyle from Central New Jersey on June 05, 2008:

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.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on June 05, 2008:

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.

Donna Campbell Smith from Central North Carolina on June 05, 2008:

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.

Cindy on June 05, 2008:

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.