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If the lipstick won't fit in your Yasmena, pass it to your pack-man


Yasmena bags are the lilliputian offspring of wallets and wristlets, meant to alleviate the burden of more capacious handbags while keeping life's little necessities in the palm of one's hand. Carrie Bradshaw wore one in the episode of Sex in the City in which she broke up with Aidan; Dame Edna likes them because they don't distract from her sparkly evening frocks. Edie Falco told Randolph Duke not to bother designing a handbag to go with her Emmy gown, she preferred her Yasmena.

So, imagine our delight at hearing that Yasmena bags would soon grace the aisles of San Antonio Stein Marts. Better yet, two samples arrived, cute-as-hell, on my desk: one soft-leather "clam," or folding-style, in pearl, and one silver-beaded "single," or pocket-style.

The Yasmena's claim to fame is its handles, which loop around the wrist and allow the bag to be carried on top of the hand or in the palm. A small loop at the bottom of the bag attaches to the middle finger as an anchor. Carried so, the Yasmena discretely goes everywhere with you - no more arm-pit bag or crossing-guard-style straps on the dance floor.

My intention was to have my handbag companion, the Gesticulator, try out the clam style, while I modeled the single. The night in question called for feminine supplies and, not quite understanding the parameters of the Yasmena, I found myself unprepared with anything short enough to fit in the bag's pocket. I lent the bag to the Swan.

The Gesticulator carried a credit card, driver's license, cell phone, two longish lip glosses wedged in sideways, two keys, and $5. No longer a wafer-thin clam, her Yasmena looked lumpy and awkward. With the added girth, the finger loop pulled the Gesticulator's hand into a contorted claw.

"This is not elegant," she sighed.

Later, when the Gesticulator let her hands do the talking, I noticed heads bobbing and weaving, as though expecting the Yasmena to chunk them in the head.

The Swan faired better, fitting a credit card, two keys, and a cell phone in her Yasmena, which looked simple and pretty on her dainty hand. Of course, her lip gloss was too long, so I carried it, along with a wad of cash and a couple of pieces of gum she didn't want to have to extract from the bottom of the bag.

In the end, we decided the Yasmena is a great idea if you also possess the Zoolander cell phone and the appropriate-size lip gloss. Otherwise, like all tiny bags before it, the Yasmena is for whatever doesn't fit in your boyfriend-lover-husband-partner's pockets.

By Susan Pagani


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