Friday, 23 September 2011

The Alpha Opinion

Despite believing women should wear whatever they feel confident in, without trying to impress a man, I have decided to involve male friends in my fashion antics and gain their opinions on women’s trends and styles in a weekly post.

My little band of merry men is made up of a range of guys from different backgrounds and this week we were talking bag size. I didn’t even have to hold a gun to their heads to get through the conversations!

I wanted to know if their initial opinion of a woman is affected by whether she is carrying a mini-bag or an oversized tote or if they even notice she has a bag at all.

They were each shown this image of Cameron Diaz’s oversized Prada number and asked their opinions:

Exhibit A
(let me know if you think Exhibit A is just unnaturally large by the way and no woman has ever been seen holding a bag that big).

Our sportsman was the first to point out, “that’s not a handbag! It’s a fucking suitcase!” Followed by the scientist who agreed, “that looks ridiculously enormous”. For those who are now worrying that Exhibit A seemed standard size to them and were already questioning where the outer compartments were, never fear, our other men were more sympathetic. The musician decided it was “pretty big” but “not bad” and the businessman actually liked it!

They were then shown this image of Ashley Greene and asked which woman they would be more likely to go for based on their bags.

Exhibit B

I realise this is hardly a fair test; for starters it’s affected by whether the man is a blondes or brunettes kind of guy! Of course, the scientist was quick to point out how I could standardise my variables and improve the investigation but you soon find yourself saying, “no you cannot have both of them” at the mention of identical twins to a guy.

My scientist and sportsman agreed the smaller bag looked better, even compared to Eva Longoria’s attempt at medium size:

Despite seeing the positives in Exhibit A (“I could fit my decks in there!”), the musician still preferred the smaller bag. He wasn’t as sure as the sportsman though who decided a woman with a bigger bag is an “attention seeker or they dont feel adequete and have to make up for it somehow”. I did point out women don’t really have the same issue over package size as those men who feel they have to compensate with ridiculously large, turbo powered cars but he maintained they were still looking for something to hide behind. What do you think?

On the other hand, our businessman actually preferred the larger bag; “there is intrigue for me...what’s in the bag? That’s what is going through my head!” The music man was also interested to find out what was inside but, unfortunately for them, I don’t think it’s lingerie, an Xbox or a curry.

So, in conclusion, it seems they do notice what is on your arm and can be affected by size. The practical man cannot see the need for a big bag nor understand our female ‘just-in-case’ syndrome, which hits us when it comes to packing luggage. To them, a woman with a big bag signals one who has to rely on material goods. Then you get your inquisitive guy who has no problem with bag size and would even consider a big bag to add intrigue; never reveal the contents though or the mystery is over!

Judith Leiber bags from Harrods (just to keep your attention)

Of course, the size of your handbag actually shouldn’t matter; it’s how you wear it. One of our panel still said that a large bag could be stylish and I certainly have no intention of downsizing! How else will I create a barrier between myself and that daily tube passenger who has never heard of showering?

It was just interesting to hear about fashion from a male perspective and I know they secretly enjoyed the excuse to talk handbags! One even proudly admitted, “I’ve often been told I’d make a great gay person”.

Anyway, I would love to know your opinion on this pilot post. Do you think it’s worth asking my panel further questions? Are there any fashion topics you would like a man’s perspective on?



  1. Oh Fi! This is pure awesomeness!!! HAHAHA You're brilliant! This is so refreshing to read. Those guys are hilarious, but at least they're being truthful regarding their feelings. Personally I feel if a guy loves you, he'll put up with ANY bag you're carrying. HAHA Definitely do more like this! I think it will incite some lively discussion. Maybe, do one on SHOES. I think though they will prefer the higher heels than shorter ones, BUT who knows. All you can do is ask. Have an awesome weekend my friend! :D
    SassyUptownChic xoxo Kim

  2. Thanks for your lovely comment in my blog
    That post is awesome and congrats to you that thought of asking men what do they think about bags. My boyfriend has the same opinion but I don't always hear his opinions about styling ;)
    This is girly thing!

  3. hehe, this is funny. The truth is that I can understand why some men would go for the smaller bag, in the sense that wha the heck would any woman need to pack so many things she needs a "suitcase", is she that needy? she must be a controlling freak and so on... My man doesnt like my bigger bags, thinks the small ones are cuter... but then he always expects me to carry his wallet, shades, phone... *sigh*

  4. This is such a wonderful post and great idea! It's always fun to have a straight males perspective, which can sometimes be very enlightening. What a huge fucking bag! With that said, it might be more reasonable to judge the lady by the contents of her purse; which we can not do without being somehow intimate with the person, (and we obviously aren't) thus making judging her fully unreasonable -in my opinion. In other words; the bag can't represent all on its own and then there that phrase, "don't judge a book by its cover."

    This really is a fun post Fi, and I really can't wait until the next one.

  5. Thanks for all the comments my lovelys. I shall reply to each and everyone but it is great to know the post was of interest and generated opinions!

    Fi xx

  6. How interesting.... maybe men think that the less we carry the less we spend so they feel less intimidated. Poor guys, how wrong they are :)
    Nice post.