I always bring my bijou Hermes Kelly bag with me when attending cocktail parties and sit-down lunches in West London. My phone, umbrella, card holder, and a small umbrella fit inside, along with my phone, which is in a bright, high-visibility yellow.
It allows me to swan about stylishly for a few enchanted hours, unhindered by daily life. This is as though I did not have school drop-off before or Pilates right after. My sought-after top-handle Kelly is not ‘ludicrous capacious’.
Due to the hit TV series Succession, which chronicles the lives of the super-rich Roy family, this phrase has been making the rounds on social media.
When Shiv Roy’s husband Tom describes a Burberry bag a party guest is carrying, he uses it snobbishly.
Speaking to cousin Greg, who brought his date Bridget to his billionaire uncle Logan Roy’s birthday party, Tom mocks the size of the girl’s ostentatious, boxy handbag and jokes that she must be carrying ‘flat shoes for the subway’ inside it.
The proportion of Burberry’s clothing makes her look like someone who needs to take the subway rather than someone who is super rich. As a result, bulky bags have come under fire as the ultimate fashion faux-pas.
But true fashion insiders will attest that big is fine — as long as it’s for daytime. Bags this season were big at all of the hottest catwalk labels, from Bottega Veneta to Balenciaga.
But you must go small for social events. So the real power move is to employ several designer bags.
Start large, keeping one inside the other like Russian dolls. Each outer shell is shed as the day goes on. Then you’ll be ready to face any event that comes your way — including an encounter with Logan Roy.
I am 5ft 9in, and so I can get away with carrying something quite commodious. And go as big as you can is my motto — in life as well as in handbags.
At the moment, I am using a perforated leather Fendi tote with Tortoise shell handles, but anything weatherproof and roomy is good. A large brown embossed Louis Vuitton is another favorite.
If your budget won’t stretch to either of those, Market or & Other Stories on the High Street do great roomy totes at more purse-friendly prices.
There is no doubt that the Vuitton and Fendi dimensions are at least 40 cm in diameter, and I’d wager they are even larger than Bridget’s lambasted Burberry.
My bags are often ribbed gently too. People sometimes joke that I must have tucked them away in one of my large bags whenever they disappear from social media. I have repeatedly been asked to lend my bag by those same friends.
There are snacks for my kids inside the big bag, a half-eaten protein bar for me, and a book (I’m confident I’ll find a moment to read).
No flat shoes to change into for me, though, as at my height they’re all I wear.
The next largest bag inside my Fendi is a men’s wash bag from Louis Vuitton. Among the things I store here are hand sanitizer, tissues, sunglasses, hand cream, Rescue Remedy spray, and my Airproofs.
Recently, I added a Travel-sized Pantene dry shampoo, as well as leather gloves.
The next handbag in my arsenal, such as the Hermes Kelly, is decorative, most likely expensive — and matches the day’s outfit.
Those that feature a lot of buttons or zips, a bright color, or beautiful embroidery will inevitably be the most fiddly to make. As a result, these types of bags often end up on sale because they look totally impractical.
A tiny black Chanel card-holder is hidden inside the Kelly (or any other bag of the day).
Designers’ ranges often contain inexpensive items, but these are undoubtedly the most useful. Since my wallet is so old, its leather has softened beautifully and widened to a larger size than it used to be.
It has various slots for my driving license, store loyalty cards, debit and credit cards.
This means I’m never that annoying person fumbling through the Tube turnstile looking for a card to tap. Everyone else just wants to catch a train.
And yes, in London, absolutely everyone uses the Underground to get around the capital, so there’s no point sneering at it like Tom in Succession.
My local stop serves celebrities as well as lesser mortals. I view it as a blessing that I’ve never been forced to ‘ride the subway’ during my visits to New York City. Use a big bag as a deterrent to would-
be muggers if you find yourself riding one of those.
While Bridget in Succession owned and carried a Capacious bag, it was against high society’s golden rule to check it (with your coat carefully folded inside) in the cloakroom if it was too large. And remember never to take the outer bag into the inner circle.