Trendzilla

Hobo purses vs. satchels

Consider the hobo: rootless, short on walking-around money—and yet with the spark to create the knapsack that inspired the purse du jour, the hobo-style purse. I hate the hobo purse. Ever tried to rummage through your wife's late at night—when she's passed out and you gotta have $40 right now? (Me neither.) But there is the reason they call it a hobo—besides humble origins and that underslung, sometimes half-crescent-y shape: the hobo doesn't work. Not for you, not for anyone. (Tramps sometimes do. But as of this writing, the tramp lobby has not succeeded in either creating a purse or having one named for it. It's hard out here for a tramp.)

A hobo—the purse, at least—has it made: slouching through life on the slenderest of arms, trinkets and gewgaws piling up all around. But none of its owners can find anything in it, which is why your wife loses her keys all the time—and perhaps explains why hobos are hobos: they can't find anything either, and it's hard to hold down a job when you're looking for your ID.

Fortunately for the hobo—if not the hobo purse—the next big trend in bags is upon us: the satchel, inspired by that blocky thing a doctor or Will Swaim might carry, with a fold-over flap top and outside pockets that are big enough to use. Not unlike the better publishers/M.D.s, it's neat, orderly and ready to give you good drugs whenever you need 'em. (Not really.) And it is just in time to save the hobo from himself.

The prime example of this new shape—if by prime, we mean expensive—is Fendi's latest offering, with two big buckles and gold chain detailing along the handles—like a Michael Jackson with higher resale value. Yes, the Fendi is probably the one, and you'll pay through the nose for it—still a pittance, when you consider it weighs more than Nicole Richie, and she's much more expensive. But now you know what it looks like, it's like that new Saturn, and you'll see it everywhere. So go to a swap meet, or that issue of Lucky with Amanda Peet on the cover, or Santee Alley, or the trunk of a '76 Caprice parked behind that house on North Main in Santa Ana—and get something inspired by Fendi, before they change that law and outlaw inspiration. Your inner hobo will thank you.

 
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