I’ve been assaulted by blaringly bright fuzzy poofs at the mall, on the METRO, and dangerously distracted by them while crossing the street—women are clipping these fun charms onto their purses, even their work bags. But now, purse charms are bigger and crazier than I’ve ever seen after living in DC for decades. (And I survived the burning neon and blinding gold trends of the 90s!)
I was crossing busy North Capitol street recently and saw a young Black woman who’d paired a gigantic (okay, so about the size of your open hand) poof charm with a small shoulder bag. The comic juxtaposition was also clever—I recommend you try it too if you’d like to put your own twist on things.
So, where do you find the most slick, goofy or poofy purse charms in DC?
Accessorize (Union Station, Pentagon City Mall)
I’ve said it a few times on this blog already, that Accessorize tops my list of places to find unique, fabulous and reasonably priced accent pieces. Year-round, they have big glossy capital letter key chains, adorable stuffed animals and other glittering knickknacks. I’ve picked up a sweet little unicorn (I picked the cute, sad Eeyore one with a bent horn) and a silver platform stiletto over the years. And yes, they also have poofs! They even have some soft, shredded rubber koosh ball poofs—another 90s throwback.
Charlotte Russe (Westfield Mall, Wheaton)
I have a secret love-obsession with shopping the little stores at what they used to call “Wheaton Plaza” for all the scandalous, punky gear you can find there. Charlotte Russe is more mainstream, but I never neglect to visit Charlotte Russe when I’m at Wheaton’s mall because this store has that rare on-trend-and-inexpensive-yet-well-enough-made knockout combination for clothes, especially jewelry. And I found out they have something special in the way of purse charms.
I do this strange thing where I feel (or, in this case, pet) all the purse charms and inspect the clips carefully to make sure they’re good before I buy them. Welp, never fear, because Charlotte Russe has purse charms the size, shape and color of that beloved hamster you lost as a kid. I was very tempted since they seem so primal… maybe one of these would be good paired with a big, black leather bag? Or, a tiny set of keys? These wild keychains will definitely make neighbors hop back when you go to unlock your door.
The Designer Shoe Warehouse has also got some cute, quality charms, and they’ve had them since the winter-time. A variety of colors and materials await you—and of course, you can walk home with a new purse to go with your new purse charm…
Francesca’s (Union Station, Dupont Circle, M Street, Pentagon City Mall, Bethesda)
This boutique chain has the trifecta of purse poofs: they feel luxuriously soft (no tatty, sticky fluff), with a clip and keyring so you can choose how to hook it onto your purse or keys. But be careful—I grabbed that fiery hot pink edged in fine black hairs from Francesca’s. Later, I found out it was made from real rabbit fur. Some of you may not mind that, but I wished I’d read the label more closely.
Of course, there’s always H&M. Last year, I grabbed a faux leather pink heart charm that exactly matched a BCBG bag I got from Marshall’s.
Tip: Work the extremes for a truly smart look. Exactly match your purse’s texture and color or capitalize on daring opposites.
Really, exotic purse charms are everywhere, and this season, they’re for every generation. Where did you find your favorite purse charm?