The Bag Lady

Becoming an entertainment reporter was something I’d always dreamed of doing, but snagging the illustrious title of “The Bag Lady” along with it, well, uh, not so much. 

I used to feel bad about it (not the reporter part); the full-on, card-carrying bag lady part. At one point, my bag-ness was so out of control; when I walked into work it fully looked like I’d just made a Publix run (to stock up for hurricane season.) 

It’s not just me, though. Believe me, I’m in good company. On any given day of the week, you can find a bevy of Channel 7 beauties (reporters and anchors alike, mainly of the female persuasion) coming and going from the WSVN studios with bags. A lot of bags. A copious amount of bags. Did I mention bags? 

Clothing bags, make-up bags, shoe bags, lunch bags… the list goes on. It takes a village to get and stay camera-ready and for the most part, each talent (that’s what they call on-air people in television) is responsible for his or her own beautification. Which involves getting “stuff” to and from the studio. Hence, all those bags and trust me, that kind of schlepping is never easy. It can even render one handless. For example…

The last time I saw Vivian Gonzalez, our super-smart and sexy morning weather girl, (who by the way, weighs one hundred pounds soaking wet,) she was so bogged down with bags, she couldn’t even wave at me. I was coming and she was going. It was a typical shift change at work. I couldn’t wave, either. Yup, I was bogged down with bags, too. Instead, I just nodded my head in her direction like a happy puppy. She returned the happy puppy gesture. Speaking of…

If you’re a house dog, a term for TV talent that works inside the studio, you can set your bags down and go about your day. If you’re an alley cat, the TV term for a street reporter, the bags go with you (to your live location.) If you’re a sky bird, that’s a TV journalist who travels a lot, well, baggage is just a way of life. It just so happens, I’m all three. A.K.A.,”The Bag Lady.” 

Early on in my career, it was a disaster trying to figure out what bag to carry when and where. I mean, how was I supposed to know that I needed something strong enough to throw on the floor of a live truck, chic enough to walk into a TV studio and classy enough to show off in Hollywood?

My bag mistakes weren’t made without trying though. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve enjoyed a lot of great purses in my time, but a pocket book and a work bag are two different beasts altogether. One is about fashion, the other is about function and it’s almost impossible to find both. Whether it was big, cheap, expensive or small, I tried them all, but alas, most would break, bulge, wear easily or just plain embarrass me with their inadequacies.

At one point, I was so fed up with trying to find the perfect work purse, I’d actually carry an over-rated designer clutch and pair it with plastic. Yes, Publix plastic bags. Needless to say, my stylist would be horrified when I’d show up for a dinner date or a work event toting my grocery sacks. Don’t worry, I’d conceal them in my car or camouflage them in a corner, but it was definitely my dirty little secret. I wasn’t just half haute couture, half hillbilly, I was officially “The Bag Lady.”

Inevitably, my stylist (who was convinced I needed bag therapy) would escort me around town to all the purse places she could think of, insisting I choose a work bag. I’d moan and groan, ring my hands together and refuse (rightfully so) to let go of my hard earned dough. Why would I? I mean, nothing lasted and I do mean NOTHING and at least I could recycle a shopping bag. I can’t believe I’m about to admit this, but my bag-like look continued for a few years, until recently. 

About eight months ago, I ran into Carol Phillips (stylist/personal shopper extraordinaire) at Saks Fifth Avenue in Bal Harbour.  The woman has impeccable taste and dresses exquisitely. I came face to face with her on my way to do a fashion story for Deco Drive and yes, she saw me with my grocery bags. My face turned beet red. Yup, I was finally busted. Carol eyed me suspiciously and asked: “Have you ever tried a Reed Krakoff satchel?” The rest is fashion history. 

Reed Krakoff knows how to make a great bag, because he’s had a lot of experience doing it. He’s not just a New York fashion designer. He used to be the creative director for Coach and before that, he worked with the likes of Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger. In 2010, he went off on his own to launch his personal luxury line called, what else? Reed Krakoff. 

His bags are dashing, durable and simply delicious. I’m seduced by the range of rich colors he uses. His bags are modern, but at the same time classic and sophisticated. What’s more, the leathers he uses are strong enough for a man, but made for a woman (one who beats up her bag because of her busy life!)

Carol sold me my first Reed satchel, my second and my third. All during seasonal sales. Sure, I’m a die hard fashionista, but I’m one on a budget. Although, American Express would probably disagree with that statement.

My newest Reed is called “Fighter.” Imagine? It’s like we were meant to be together. I’m telling you, that bag knows me, it gets me, it’s there for me. It doesn’t bulge, it doesn’t break and it always looks beautiful.
With bronze hardware and pockets-a-plenty, I’ve finally given up all things plastic and put my work beautification stuff (and then some) in a proper bag. It just took me awhile to find the right one.

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