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What's in a Bag? Specifically, What's in Love, Frank's Tote Bag?

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You know Frank—he's been writing about menswear, sales, television, new shops, the recession, Lisa Loeb, the Golden Girls and getting blasted for Racked for over a year. Well, we think it's time you got to know him and his quirky-irreverent views on life and fashion even better with his brand new column: Love, Frank. Taking the form of an open letter and always signed with love, Frank will rant about whatever style-related conundrum he encounters in a given week. So buckle your two-toned leather Moschino belts, folks, it's going to be ? Something.

Dear Pooh-poohers and Eschewers of Big Bags,

We realize those who manage to leave their homes without a bag enjoy freedoms we can only dream of: Stream-lined looks, ache-free shoulders, free hands and, we presume, a head clear of oft-manic monologues considering the filthy floors of trains, irresponsible bag-checkers and forgotten items that, had they not been forgotten, would certainly never have been used at all.

That said, we can't leave our houses without bags—the bigger the better.

Friends and strangers, incredulous, often ask: "What's in that thing?" And we're sick of answering. So here's exactly what's in that thing:

Obviously, an over-loaded wallet—currently a brown tartan Marc by Marc Jacobs birthday gift, a scuffed slut-red Blackberry and a set of keys. Less obviously but certainly within reason: Tissues, Orbit gum, usually the laptop in it's brown-striped case. Obviously to us: Antihistamines and Advils, a brush, Purell, a million-year-old travel hairspray refilled from the big guy more frequently than we care to admit, and this Red Door compact-mirror-thing that's actually shaped like Red Door's red door and showed up, mysteriously, in a Simon Spurr giftbag. All that stuff is in a pin-dotted LeSportSac pounch—because otherwise it'd just be floating around.

Then there's a snap-on purse light someone oh-so-funny presented to us tongue-firmly-planted in cheek (it's a tote bag, not a pocketbook). There are usually a few magazines—usually not super current: GQ, Vogue (for the articles!), New York, Nylon Guys. There's an iPod that hasn't been charged since the Bush Administration—it lives in a rep-striped case by J.Crew that was designed for a much-older generation version than our pretty-old iteration. There's a camera—more for sample sales and window displays than capturing any actual memories or sights. Along with the camera there are usually a half dozen renegade batteries—they might be spent, who knows?—floating about amongst $5 in pennies and dimes.

Gloves (tartan), an olive green umbrella (we don't wear black, why would we carry a black umbrella?), a cache of free Metro newspapers that we take every morning because we adore the hawker who always wishes us a nice day and sounds so genuine when she thanks us (if we run late and end up missing her we are actually almost disappointed). We never really read those papers but every so often we'll do the crossword over lunch—they make us feel smart the same way the ones in the Times make us feel illiterate and churlish.

A book—not that there's ever time to read—it was a Jonathan Franzen for like five years. Now there are two—a collection of '90s essays from Billboard and a collection of mostly-feminist essays on Barbie. Not shockingly at all, we haven't made much progress with either.

Kiehl's lip balm; 20 million business cards—one of which might even be our own; a flash drive shaped like a Dr. Marten's boot (best giftbag gift ever); a water bottle—or rather a Diet Coke bottle filled from the tap; fabric swatches; sunglasses (houndstooth, by Ralph Lauren); optical glasses (vintage); a checkbook (also for sample sales); one of those hand-warmers hunters use from Buckler's outdoor fashion show over a month ago (you never know); loose pens and markers and pencils as well as a pouch filled with additional pens and markers and pencils ? We could go one.

Well, we would go on, but we're afraid we're starting to appear clinical.

So, there's your answer. And, yes, we need all of it. Or, we might end up maybe needing some of it.

Admittedly, it is pretty satisfying when a scoffer needs a Band-Aid, an Emergen-C, breath strips, matches, a 2009 issue of VMAN or a condom from one of the safe sex fish bowls at all the bars (incidentally, also probably from 2009)—because—thanks to the bag—we got said scoffer covered.

How's that feel?


· Love, Frank [RNA]