I've been rather vocal over the past 5 years about giving up high heels, and this year I've given up on hand bags too. As I've become more aware of the sexism that silently drips into everything we believe and see, I've got crosser. I got cross that women are taught to wear shoes that cause pain, and keep them vulnerable as they hobble down the street. Women are taught that these shoes make us 'sexier' and that they feel more 'empowering'. We're taught that part of beauty is pain. There are still jobs that make women wear heels (Airport staff are one that spring to mind but there are others). We're told they're professional. Sod that. They're bad for us, and they hurt. And they keep us fragile; likely to fall, likely to go slow. I'm chucking out the heels. I deserve to be as free, comfortable and safe as men.
Bags. Women carry bags, often with a Mary Poppin's amount of belongings, just in case. Our possessions are heavy and many. The world teaches us that to look glamorous, or expensive, we should carry a shoulder bag. Often with a thin and delicate strap. Sensible back packs are for men, the gym or school kids. I'm over the pain of carrying a one-shouldered bag. Even wearing it crossed over my chest gave my back pain. I'm so over pain.
I've been wearing a small and smart back pack only since January now, and by gosh I notice the difference. Style still matters to me, it can be fun and exciting. I'm just over it making my body suffer.
So with my new gorgeous but practical bag requirements firmly in my mind, I happily accepted a bag to review from Knomo, a bag company that launched in 2004, and make stylish but uber practical and long lasting bags. Now, I've never had a £129 backpack before, although I have had expensive handbags, and it definitely felt like a luxury item when it arrived. As ever, although I received this to review, I have no obligation to say anything specific about it.....you know the drill.
Here I am, nonchalant and pondering, at Southbank before heading in to the awards ceremony for the Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction. Less than a week after the London terror attack at London bridge, enjoying the culture that London has to offer, felt vaguely political. The dresscode was technically 'Cocktail' but I'm always someone who bends most fashion rules. So I donned a Collectif anchor-print dress, and a leather jacket (what is this weather recently?!) and my new Knomo bag. It's smaller than my current backpack, and definitely dressy enough to be worn somewhere a little fancier.
Being an event sponsored by Baileys, I was rather excited to get myself a cheeky Baileys. If you watch the video at about 0:23 you will see a rather excited Ree grabbing for a drink as soon as I enter the room! Ha!
Why was I at a fiction awards?? Good question. The fabulous Ella Masters, my blogging pal, had been commissioned to paint each of the short-listed books. How bleedin' exciting hey?!
My Knomo bag was the Mini Beauchamp in Navy, and if you love pockets, you'll love the bag's interior.
For someone with READ MORE tattooed to their knuckles, I'm embarrassed about how little I read these days. My phone and connectivity to the online world have just replaced reading fiction for me, and attending a celebration of fiction hightened my sadness. Luckily I was given two of the shortlisted novels in the my goody bag (well I was given one, but Ella already has all of the books, so I got hers too!) so hopefully I can start to develop a reading habit again.
At least with my new back pack I can carry my books on the go, without causing my body bother. Because style really isn't worth suffering for.