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Fashion-File

What's inside your bag?

Decades ago, handbags morphed from simple satchels to bona fide fashion statements.

While style bloggers wax poetic about the latest trendy leathers, logos and colours, no one talks about what’s  inside that expensive tote.

But since that’s essentially a purse’s purpose, it is worth discussion.

Over the years, I’ve discovered these are some of the niftiest essentials to have on hand, and so they are always in my bag:

  • Secrid Cardprotector — Instead of a bulky wallet, this sleek aluminum case holds four to six ID/credit cards and protects against identity theft. Available at Lake House store downtown Kelowna.
  • Fisher Space Pen — Yes, this instrument was actually designed to write in space. While you may not be an astronaut, the ultra-compact pen writes smoothly even upside down. Available at House of Knives in Orchard Park mall.
  • Victorinix Swiss Army nail clipper 580 — Hands-down the handiest gadget ever created for a woman. This tiny device holds a portable nail clipper, nail file, scissors, tweezers and a toothpick. Note it also has a small knife, so don’t try to take it through airport security or you will lose it (like I did). Also at House of Knives.
  • Hand sanitizers — Fight those germs! The tiny bottles from Bath and Body Works fit perfectly in your purse and come in every imaginable yummy scent.
  • Folding hairbrush — Pocket brushes including a mirror are available through Amazon.
  • Stain removal pen — If you’re sloppy like I am, having one handy will save a lot of clothes.
  • Foldable tote — Ensure you always have a reusable bag at the ready. 
  • Portable reading glasses — Because you never know when you, or someone with you, is going to need them to read the menu or the minuscule writing on those pill bottles.
  • Lip balm — Nothing worse than having chapped lips with nothing on hand for relief. My new favourite balm is Agave Lip Mask by Bite Beauty. All their products are made with food grade ingredients so you don’t ingest chemicals licking your lips. Comes in clear or various tints at Sephora.
  • Blotting tissues — Instead of carrying a bulky, pressed powder compact, these thin papers blot away any shine on the face instantly. Many types at Sephora and Shoppers Drug Mart. 

Also very practical to always carry spare Band-aids, bobby pins and a hair elastic.

I keep all these items handy in my purse organizer from ChameleonInserts.com.

Their organizers include four narrow pockets that are perfectly made to hold the Space Pen, Swiss Army knife, lip balm and Tide pen.

What are the most useful items you always carry in your bag?



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About the Author

Marla is best known for her 19-year career in the local charitable sector as a fund development and marketing manager with the Okanagan Regional Library, United Way, UBC Okanagan, and Kelowna Community Resources. 

In 2014, Marla and her husband decided to take a break from the work world, and, four years, later they are still enjoying Okanagan summers, winters in Mexico, and extensive travel. 

Marla has had a life-long passion for fashion, designing her own graduation dress and formal gown for the 1990 Miss Interior competition before age 20.

In 2014, she was named one of nine Style Ambassadors for a year-long marketing campaign at Orchard Park Mall. Her motto is “Life is short...you might as well go through it looking good."

If you have a style question or topic you’d like Marla to cover in this column, contact her at [email protected]



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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