Having grown up with a mother whose "purse" (it'd more accurately be dubbed "black hole with straps") was cluttered with makeup kits, unpaid bills, half-eaten packs of peanut butter crackers, infinite credit cards, and anything else she could shove into its overflowing abyss, I'm pretty minimalist when it comes to handbags. So what you're about to see is, as far as I can tell, the bare minimum that a busy New Yorker who leaves her house at 8 and doesn't return til 11 can carry (embarrassingly unsightly wallet excluded).
First of all, this is my bag:
It's a vintage Italian leather purse that a dear friend from Milan once generously gave to me. I love it more than any bag ever! (For other great handbag finds, peruse our Guides to Really BIG Bags and the Best Bags Under $250.)
Inside you'll find my on-the-go makeup kit. I love the Escama Studio Chica Rosa clutch ($39), hand crocheted in Brazil from 100% recycled materials, which I use to carry the basic cosmetics that help me transition from office to out at the end of the day.
My essentials consist of Great Lash mascara ($4.49) and bronzer ($7.49) by Maybelline, pressed shimmer blush ($38) and eye shadow ($24 – mine's bronze, but it comes in 11 varieties) by Becca, tinted moisturizer with SPF 20 from Shiseido ($36), and some tinted lip gloss (not sure who makes mine, but I'm only using it because my beloved NARS ran out).
I love vintage 1960s shades. I got mine at the Chelsea Flea Market in Manhattan–and while they didn't photograph well, they look an awful lot like these. For other vintage-inspired shades for cheap, check out 80spurple.com .
Flip-Flops. You think I'm kidding, but I'm not. Carrying an alternative to heels keeps my feet happy when I'm walking to and from the train, which ends up being quite a lot of walking. And since they're Switch Flops ($37), I can change the straps from gold to silver to and funky colorful pattern as needed. I usually keep them in a plastic bag and stuff them in my purse.