Wednesday, March 5, 2008

How to store that paper you exchange for clothes and shoes

I got a new wallet yesterday, and I'm pretty excited about it.

For years I used one of those "magic" flip wallets from J.Crew. It's a very fun wallet, and before long I got really good at putting money in the middle, closing it, then reopening it to reveal the money transferred underneath the straps. Magic! It was also great because I didn't need to take my NYU ID out of the wallet to get into the academic buildings, I could just flash the inside of my wallet. And it's very small and compact, so I could even fit it into my back pocket if I so chose. But at the end of last summer, as I prepared to go study abroad in Prague, I knew it was time for something new.

See, the thing about the flip wallet is that it only fits things of a very specific size: nothing wider than a dollar bill. I knew that Czech money was bigger, and so was the money of many of the countries I planned to visit. Plus, while I was fine with never using change in America and just collecting it in a little jar on my desk, in Prague you can buy a beer with a 20 kc coin, so they're well worth carrying around. I went to Target, got a very practical navy blue wallet with tons of places for coins and id cards and tickets and whatnot, and very happily carried it around Europe.

But I never really fell in love with it, because it was too practical. Whenever I got compliments on it, I would suspiciously say, "Really? You don't think this is an old lady pocketbook? Because I sort of do." Plus, it's huge, so I can barely button the clutch I like to use when I go out. Ever since coming back to America I've been looking for a wallet that was somewhere in between the Children's Toy wallet and the Running a Household wallet.

Enter this little number. It has the slightly reserved navy blue exterior, but then shiny gold polka dots! And inside, it has a nice little coin pocket, but it's super bling-y solid gold! It's very soft fake leather, and I think it's going to fit great in my smaller purses.

Speaking of smaller purses, I've been on the lookout for a better going-out bag. The ideal bag is on the small side (big enough for your wallet, cell phone, keys, lip gloss and not much else), cute enough to make you happy just by looking at it, and, most importantly, has a shoulder strap. I love clutches, but I hate carrying them. And when I want to dance, I either have to leave the purse on the bar, hid it inside my coat, or hold it and dance that much more awkwardly. If I had a purse with a shoulder strap, I could just throw it around my neck and dance all I want, leaving both hands free for being spun around by some random dude.

I like this one from Urban Outfitters. Ignore the sullen, bitch-faced model-- what do you think of the bag? It's called the Coast to Coast Camera Bag, and it has that "I found it at a garage sale" look that some people like. It's box-like, so I'm worried that it would sort of hurt if I was dancing around and it banged against my hip. But wearing it would make me feel like an old-timey (but not too old-timey) photographer or journalist-- can't you see Joan Didion wearing this (not that she's old-timey, but still)?

Target doesn't have a photo of this on a model, but the "Cross-body bag" could fit what I'm looking for. It's really plain and simple and kind of cheap looking in that Target way, but it'll go with every outfit and I'll only use it in dark places, anyway.

If anyone has some good recommendations for going out bags, hit me up in the comments. I obviously need some guidance.

Deux Lux Polka-dot wallet, $9.99 from Urban Outfitters. It's sold out online, but maybe you can find it in stores.
J.Crew Leather Magic Wallet, $28
Coast to Coast Camera bag, $34, from Urban Outfitters
Xhilaration Cross-body bag, $9.99, from Target

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