The Bag with the Tag – My Introduction to the Coach Handbag

When I settled into my first real job and home in the outskirts of Chicago, a whole new world stood before me. I procured a position at a very progressive human resource company firm. Tons of young professionals, tons of “Lincoln Park Trixies” (ever heard that one?) enduring a long commute from the city for the love of their jobs in this employment utopia. Finally, tons of Coach purses with their dangling, leather tags.

What was the big deal with these bags? Briefcases, purses, wallets.  Black, brown and even navy blue. They must have been “something,” because it seemed that EVERYONE had one. So I too, had to have one. But the prices on these things? Honestly, I didn’t get it. Soon I fell victim to the call of conformity. I HAD to have a Coach purse.

It was to be a gift from my parents for Christmas. While out shopping, a simple, black, leather version caught my eye (at the outlet, no less) and I still remember the shock on my mother’s face as she glanced at the price tag.

“$79 for a tiny, black purse?”

“Yes, Mom. I have to have it.”

“OK. Well, that will have to be it for you for Christmas this year.”

“While we’re at it Mom, can I get the matching wallet too?” (gag.)


I got the bag. I got the wallet and the little, dangling tag on the outside to prove it.

Fast forward a few weeks . . .

Proudly sporting my new Coach purse, I head-off to go shopping for some updated office attire with a girlfriend from work. Did I mention her Coach was much bigger than mine? Bag envy never dies. We spend some time trying on suits in a very reputable and pricey boutique near our workplace. When we decide on our purchases, I proudly place my treasured bag onto the counter to retrieve my wallet (match-ing!). Suddenly, and as if to intentinally burst my happy little bubble, the cashier grabs at the small, leathery, Coach tag on my purse and says, “Take that tacky thing off. We know that you paid a lot for it.”


I left the store feeling like a total naieve, newby and a cliche. I took the tag off my beloved bag. No – I took everything out of that bag, packed it away and never used it again. Sorry Mom and Dad.

The moral of this painful recollection? Never fall victim to a fashion trend for the sake of belonging, for you can no longer use the word “fashion” to describe it. Most importantly, whatever you do, if you ever buy a Coach purse, take that dangling, little tag off immediately. We know that you paid a lot for it.

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