Old articles: Vera Bradley

Vera Bradley craze hits the campus

Posted: 5/1/06

I have a Java Blue brush and pencil case, which can also double as a clutch if I want it to. I also have a New Hope small cosmetic bag, but I use it as a wallet. My tote is in Bermuda Blue. I really like the new Petal Pink, so I might get a large cosmetic bag in that color. Some of us prefer to match everything, but not me. I like to mix and match.

By "us" I mean the consumers of the Vera Bradley designs. The Vera Bradley company is most known for its quilted handbags and accessories for women. The patterns are often colorful and distinctive. The product line goes well beyond handbags, though. Exploring their Web site, I found curling iron covers, stationary products, bedding, tableware and more.

My friend Erin swore you could fit a small person in the large duffel travel bag, so we once made our friend Alicia- who stands at 5-feet tall and 100 pounds soaking wet- get inside. We couldn't zip it up, but she definitely could fit in it.

Owning a Vera Bradley automatically puts you in a kinship with anyone else who also owns one. I find myself talking to other Vera Bradley carriers all the time. We talk about the latest patterns and designs, where we got it, and who else we know has what. The next thing we know, we have a new acquaintance, another member of what my friend Kara calls "The Cult of Vera Bradley."

Some people just have a bag or a backpack but others are fanatical. I once talked to a girl who told me she had the Citrus, the Nantucket Red, the Nantucket Navy and the Apple Green backpack, wallet, pencil case, cosmetic case and eyeglass case. Only, she could not find her red eyeglass case to go with the red backpack, etc. she was wearing the day I met her, so she said, "I am not taking my glasses off today."

I thought that was a little fanatical but such is the way with some in the cult.

Though the price of a Vera Bradley bag doesn't reach the prices of high fashion designer bags like Louis Vuitton or Herm├Ęs, they're considerably expensive for cotton bags. Still, the quality of the product is good and the most practical thing about them is that they're washable, so they last a long time.

This brings us to the final aspect of the cult: the retired patterns. For serious Vera Bradley lovers, the retired patterns are often the Holy Grail of the product line. Some patterns are quite tasteful, like Seaport Navy, or vibrant, like French Yellow. Some patterns, though, are best left in retirement, like Chanticleer. This pattern is black with chickens across the top and eggs, eggs, eggs. Ugh. Still, I see them everywhere. I don't really talk to those Vera Bradley people though. Just kidding. Sort of.

If you are interested in joining the cult of Vera Bradley, you can go to www.verabradley.com for more information about the products and a store locator. In the Bangor area, Vera Bradley is sold at Patrick's Hallmark on Broadway, Lamey-Wellehan and My Maine Bag.
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