Form vs. Function

My Change Purse

I have this really ugly and very “vagina-esque” change purse (see above). It’s really not the coolest or trendiest looking thing in the world, but you know what… it works. It works real well! It opens easily (by gently pinching it on the sides where the slit ends) and it closes securely, keeping a good chunk of change tidily in your pocket. My Dad always had one of these, and I got mine because I think he put one in my Christmas stocking one year, or something like that. I guess I just took this type of change purse for granted… that is, untill I brought one back with me to Italy.

I can’t even begin to tell you what a hit this simple little change purse has been! I have had Italian friends, co-workers, nameless cashiers at supermarkets and stores, and just about anybody else who has ever seen the thing, ask me what it is, how it works, and where I got it. It’s amazing! This little (and unsightly) change purse is making waves in my little Italian social circle.

When I tell all of my Italian friends that this change purse is “proudly made in the USA”, they are usually a bit disappointed (they won’t be getting their hands on one until I go back to the States for a Christmas or summertime visit), but they don’t really seem all that surprised. You see, something so functional and so damn ugly could only come from the USA.

America makes a lot of highly functional, practical, and usually affordable products. These American products though, are often a bit plain-looking or even downright ugly. Italy, on the other hand, is known for good-looking, trendy, sexily designed products. However, these Italian creations are usually completely unpractical and/or a big strain on the wallet.

The best example I can think of at the moment is shoes. American shoes may look a little shoddy and “Frankensteiny” as I have been told by some Italians, but they are comfortable, slip and skid proof, and affordable. Italian shoes are sleek, cool, and fashionable, but they will make your feet bleed, they cost a ton, and you’ll most likely end up falling on your ass while walking into some chic restaurant.

practical and functional







fashionable and trendy












Italians prefer the form and Americans prefer the function.

Are there any “middle ground” products in these two countries which combine both form and function, you ask me. Yes, I’m sure there are, but that works against the point I’m trying to make here, and this is my blog so…

P.S. In the picture at the top of the post, my cheap American change purse is sitting on my ridiculously expensive (and cool) Italian Prada wallet. I am such a hybrid!


11 thoughts on “Form vs. Function

  1. I totally got one of those change purses every single year in my stocking for, like, the first 10 years of my life. I found a million of those in my closet when I moved to Syracuse for college! If only I knew how valuable they were back then. My collection could have bought Alto Cinco for our gang one Sunday night!!

    • I feel the same way about selling almost all of my Ninja Turtle figurines for, like, ten cents each at a garage sale when I was younger! If I’d held on to them, I could have made a fortune on eBay… enough to buy you those hair extensions that you wanted so badly back in college! 😉

  2. My great grandfather carried one of these his whole life, and I ended up inheriting about a dozen of them filled with coins from around the globe. I always thought they were cool but haven’t ever carried one myself… at least not yet 🙂

  3. Ah…form and function, Great article. I beleive Ted Bundy had one of these change purses in his pocket when he was finally captured.

  4. HEY G- Why didn’t you post the crafty name your Italian friends gave to your pocket pal? YOU KNOW – your “P.B”…I DARE YOU. I like my blue Nana style change purse with the silver balls at the top…

  5. The only time I’ve ever seen one of these purses was when I was doing my year abroad down in Urbino – my French flatmate had one.

    Definitely agree with you on Italian shoes, they *are* ridiculous. I mostly live in Converse!

  6. Pingback: Sorry, I’m weak « A Change Of Underwear

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