Katy Johnson and her Vintage Coach Crossbody

We’re back today with a fresh installment of PursePeople, our series featuring real people, real bags and real stories. Today we meet Katy Johnson, a freelance creative hailing from New York, New York, where she still resides today. Katy’s well-loved vintage Coach bag caught our eye not only because vintage Coach has been trending big time but because she wears it oh so well. We chatted about how this bag came into Katy’s life, becoming a constant companion for a decade. Read the full feature below!

Name: Katy Johnson
Occupation: Freelance Video Editor/Project Coordinator
Resides in: New York, NY
Bag: Vintage Coach Crossbody

The Bag

I remember one Sunday in the summer before high school, my mother took me on a special trip to the Grand Bazaar NYC, which I didn’t know at the time is the oldest flea market in New York City. The market, which most all Sundays of the year sets up in the yard of a public school on the Upper West Side, was established in 1982 by a group of parents to raise money for their children’s schools. I have always loved flea markets, yard sales, and thrift shops, so I had my eye out for something special that day, but I didn’t know exactly what. My mom had taken us there with something specific in mind to buy for our apartment, but I remember that she didn’t find what she was looking for.

On our way out of the market, we passed a vendor with vintage clothes and accessories. At the time, the most experience I had with the concept of “vintage” revolved around begging my parents to let me borrow their old clothes. However, going into my first year of high school, I had an innate desire to begin exploring self-expression through my clothes and started to understand what it could feel like to curate my own wardrobe, albeit on an extreme, non-existent budget.

So, my mom and I looked around this bustling tent of vintage finds, and then I spotted this well-loved caramel brown leather Coach bag. I tend to ascribe feelings to inanimate objects, so I’m sure that I decided the bag was somehow calling out to me, in desperate need of a good home. I think my mom paid $65 for the bag, which at the time, would have been a lot for my mom to afford, but part of me thinks that she knew I would have it forever. My mom always had her own collection of Coach bags that I absolutely coveted, and I always admired and tried to emulate her style. In this way, finding the bag felt a little like destiny, and was a nod towards my soon-to-be, young adulthood.

A Forever Companion

I love its simple silhouette, its durability, and its adaptability; how it transforms with me as my style transforms. As someone who is constantly anxious about misplacing things, I love how generously it can hold so many, or so few of my belongings, and how it does so in such a secure way with its signature turn-lock clasp. I especially appreciated how forgiving it was through my teen years when I would drop it on the ground, or scrape it against a boulder in the park while getting up to teenage antics with my friends. I love how it remains as forgiving as ever, even ten years into owning it.

I love using this bag most in the fall. My go-to outfit is to pair the bag’s muted brown tone against opaque black tights, a flared mini skirt, a cropped cardigan, my tried and true sterling silver rings, and my dad’s old oversized denim Marlboro jacket, which features a worn-in brown leather collar. I love accessorizing with a soft, oversized scarf to shield against a breeze, or that can be tied loosely around the strap of the bag as a bonus accessory.

A Trusty Carryall

I always have some variation of a rusty red lipstick in my bag, something that I can spruce myself up with in a restaurant bathroom or on the subway, and I like a lip product that can be used as a blush too. I keep a small comb with me usually for the same reason; just in case I want to freshen up. And I always try to keep a pen in my bag. I learned that from my dad. You never know when you might need one.

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