This morning I was on the subway and the woman who sat down next to me had what was, in my opinion, the perfect handbag. She had her headphones on and was reading a book. Also, she did not look that friendly. I really wanted to ask her where she got her bag, but then a number of thoughts crossed my mind: "It is probably from 4 years ago and I can't get it anyway," and, "She won't tell me 'cause she wants to be the only one with the perfect bag," and also, "She will think I'm crazy for even speaking to her as it breaks the NYC subway 'no talking to strangers' rule." By the time I had pondered all of these thoughts, she had gotten off the train and my perfect bag was gone. What is the etiquette for asking strangers where they got their bag, shoes, etc.?
Glamorous Girlfriend (aka AS)
Dear Glamorous Girlfriend,
You absolutely should not let anything get in between you and your perfect handbag! Ha, just joking. The truth is, this is a tough one. First of all, she's wearing headphones, which is code for don't bother me. Secondly, you're on the subway, which as you mentioned is not the ideal venue for striking up conversation with your fellow public transport comrade. But my rule of thumb for getting label information off of a stranger or semi-stranger should hold true in this scenario as well.
Flattery gets you everywhere.
True, it is hard to tell someone their handbag "suits" them when bags don't flatter us as much as our actual clothing does, however this rule can be altered for the situation.
Approach number 1: "Excuse me, that's literally the coolest bag I've seen in a long time."
Approach number 2: "Wow, that bag is hot. Is it [INSERT NAME OF MOST EXPENSIVE DESIGNER HERE]?"
Approach number 3: "What an original bag, where'd you get it?" Note here that the "word" original will hopefully insinuate to her that you wouldn't even dream of replicating her unique take on the world, you are merely gathering journalistic evidence of stylish New Yorkers.
Accompany these statements with a little wave to grab her attention, and repeat as/if necessary.
Can you tell that I want you to approach her? Show her you like her bag. When it comes down to it, I think we girls need to spend less time giving each other the up and down, and more time giving each other props. So even if she doesn't divulge the bag maker despite your best efforts, you will make her day.
Anyway, I'm sure we can get our heads together (and our online search skills) and find that bag for you.
Write to me! Ok, ok, up until now I haven't really responded to my comments in this open-forum manner. But from now on I will, mos def.