I come from a humble background, so things like designer bags and designer clothes were not things I grew up around. Every penny mattered in my household. I was taught not to be wasteful. As a teen in London and into my 20’s, I would often ask my  friends who were obsessed with designers, why they would buy expensive brand names when they couldn’t really afford them. I knew I was comfortable in my own skin with or without designers.


That was my view until I relocated to Lagos in 2008. It was my first time of living in Lagos and we had relocated to the ‘’Island’’ which was supposedly the most affluent part of Lagos. In my community, I was surrounded by ladies who rocked designers at work, church, school run and even for prayer meetings. For the first time in my adult life, I felt the pressure to belong. I spent the next summer holidays abroad looking for the biggest designer bag that I could afford that would match my new environment.


I eventually found a Gucci Bag thanks to my sister inlaw who knew someone that had access to real designer bags. It was big enough and noticeable and when I got back to Lagos, levels had changed. I started getting looks of approval with my new bag. Silently I had entered the big babes club. Some bold ladies would actually compliment me in the supermarket or out and about, ‘’Oh I love your bag’’ they would say. One of my managers had a similar bag to mine but in a smaller version, once she spotted my bag she never brought her bag to work again. A few years later when we had both left that company, I asked her why I didn’t see her bag again and she said, it wasn’t appropriate for a subordinate to have a bigger bag than her oga. We both laughed.


There was a shift in my life a few years later. I was seeking deeper purpose. I founded a movement called Raising Confident Girls. The discussions are always centred around building inner confidence in girls and it made me reflect on my own values. We can’t raise confident girls, if we are not inwardly confident. I started to appreciate that confidence is not superficial and not defined by the bags that I rocked. I didn’t need a designer bag to define me. At that stage I rebelled against my designer bag. I sent it back to London and left it in my brother inlaw’s loft. In fact, one day I packed 2 other designer bags and gave them to my house keeper to get rid of. She was shocked. ‘’I don’t want them I said’’. Just take one and give the other to your friend. Before I could even change my mind she had collected them and left the house. For 2 years I stopped carrying any sort of designer bag. I didn’t want to be associated with any label. I would just carry a small purse or paunch.


Things changed slowly. I had a grip of who I was. I was not defined by anything. This year my husband said he wanted to buy me a designer bag for work. After resisting it for a short while, I accepted the bag as a gift because my mindset had changed. I can carry a designer bag now and appreciate its beauty and value without attachment or without believing that the bag defines me.  That is growth and that is what I wanted to share with you. Can you identify?

Thanks for stopping by and please leave a comment about whether you have felt the pressure to belong and how you overcame it. Please subscribe.



  1. Well written Riri simply bare ….I am not my bag , not my clothes not my weave simply me .. I enjoyed reading that …

  2. Nice read! Fortunately I have never seen my bag as my identity. I can go around with designer or unknown name bags and feel cobfirdent.
    Thanks Riri for sharing

  3. I guess we all have to get to the place where we are truly confident not to be defined by the external things. Lovely write up

  4. Designers are not my thing.
    I seek inner peace
    A life free of hate
    A life where l can help the down trodden
    I ask for grace to help in a society that only sees wealth as the in thing
    My greatest fear is not to make heaven.
    I am here to help the helpless.

  5. Great post. I cherish you for being so real all the time. We all had that pressure at some point but maturity makes us get to the point of self acceptance. Can you imagine someone carrying a bag that you can’t afford and begging you to accommodate her? I believe confident people get their priorities right.

  6. Very true ma. People tend to define you based on your dressing and outward appearance.
    I remember my university days, I went to spend an holiday with my wealthy Aunty who lived in VGC in Ajah, Lagos. An Uncle got talking with her and asked her if she took me out to places for site seeing because I and my family lived in the Northern part of the country. My Aunty responded to my Uncle that I didn’t have clothes and there was no where she could take me to with the clothes I brought to her house.
    I felt really bad, because the clothes were not worn out or old fashioned, they were perfect to me, that statement began to affect my self esteem any time I went for an outing in Lagos, until my Mum and another Aunty talked me out of the low self esteem.

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