By Andrea Karim on 2 February 2007 (Updated 10 June 2007) 3 comments

Like many Wise Bread bloggers, I love Target for a number of reasons. I love their sales racks, where you can find perfectly good wool skirts for $4.99. I adore that they carry clothing sizes that fit women like me, women who could be featured in a remake of Sir Mix-a-lot's "Baby Got Back". Target has brought style to the masses, and for that, they will always be a favorite of mine.

The only problem with shopping at Target is that everyone else shops there, too. Thus, you are bound to run into people who are wearing the EXACT same thing that you are, or carrying the same handbag. The latter is my current problem.

Now, this might be further proof that I have yet to conquer my vanity, but I like to stand out a little bit. Shopping at Target and other large chain stores can make this difficult, because they sell so much stuff.

So, when I'm slummin' it with a $21.99 Target handbag, and I frequently am, I want to avoid standing in line at the grocery store sporting the same bag as the three women in line in front of me. I can't help it - it's not a snob thing (yes, it is), it's a woman thing (a snobby woman thing).

In fact, when I went to Target a couple of weeks ago, I picked out a black fake leather hobo-style handbag that I thought was particularly nice - not overly wrought, not to young and whippersnappery, no garish patterns; accents included some braided leather straps threaded through oversized rivets with tassles at the ends. As I was walking out of the store, I saw not one, but two women in the parking lot with the same purse.

I gazed down at my new purchase. I could return it. It's easy enough to return stuff at Target, right? But I actually liked this bag quite a bit. So I decided to personalize it.

I was very crafty as a kid, making my own jewelry and clothes. My hot glue-scalded hands were a constant reminder that I marched to the beat of my own fashion drummer. Now that I'm old and lazy and not particularly creative, I don't even have the supplies to totally make over this handbag. Gone are the days of painting a self-portrait on my backpack. No, I was going to have to find something really easy.

I walked back in to Target and immediately found what I was looking for - a long black scarf with multi-colored polka dots. Polyester. Cheap. I purchased it and drove home.

Once home, I got to work immediately (don't you love how fashion can spur you into action? I do). The idea was really simple. I removed the long braided strappy things with a pair of sharp scissors and threaded the scarf through the purse's rivets instead. I tried tying the scarf in a variety of styles before settling on one.

I LIKE it. It feels so French, or at least my idea of French - the real French may or may not tolerate polyester scarves.

Now, this isn't revolutionary, not by a long shot. But it's a bag that will probably last me 6 months or so (if you do the math, that's $2.33 per month of use). I can change the scarf out for others if I want, or remove it all together and hang bunches of cheap charms from each rivet (I might do this). So far, no one has recognized the bag, but lots of people have complimented it.

That is, unless I run into someone who is carrying the same handbag AND wearing the same scarf. Then I'll be forced to do something more creative.

I'll be doing later blog posts about pimpin' your purse, so I don't want to spoil anything, but other ideas for personalizing or customizing your handbag include hanging charms from it (charms can be bought cheap at craft stores, or go to Good Will and buy old earrings), covering it with old brooches, dying it a new color, and more.

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Guest's picture

Have you checked out ebags.com yet?  I'm not a purse girl at all, and I LOVE the website. 

Will Chen's picture

I just want to say I love the mods you made on the purse.  =)

Jessica Okon's picture

Love what you did to the bag & I'm looking forward to further crafty posts from you! Have you seen these sites where you can "rent" an expensive purse. No pun intended, but that's not my bag.