A few theories on small, hard things that go pop in the night:

Bag Theory No. 1: It stands to reason that large people should not invest in small bags. It's a question of proportion, and fashion, as everyone knows, is all about proportion. This is sound rather than discriminatory advice. To illustrate the point, picture a large woman in a white rabbit jacket or, for that matter, a large man in a small hat. Does the word dorky come to mind? Suffice it to say that women of substance need bags of substance.

Bag Theory No. 2. Timid, fearful people need not apply either. To hold a small hard bag effectively, one must grasp it by the handle with authority. Look confident, even smug. Do not be tempted to hook it over your arm, unless you are balancing a plate of canapes. And never clutch your bag with two hands, as a squirrel would a small nut.

Bag Theory No. 3: Sooner or later everything gets smaller. Underwear. Men. The universe. The diminishing scale of fashion, determined by a shrinking minority of designers who hold the majority of worldwide handbag licenses (along with the profits), dictates that complementing accessories must conform. This means yours. Sycophantic fashion editors are routinely rewarded for spreading such rumors.

Bag Theory No. 4: The world would be a safer place if more women (keeping in mind height and weight) carried their stuff in a small bag. Statistics show that one out of three hairdos is toppled by large, wrecking-ball bags entering movie theaters after the show has begun. Women who insist on carrying their makeup mirrors, gym shoes and stereo components with them should show some consideration. Or read more fashion magazines.

Bag Theory No. 5: Have you ever wondered why Queen Elizabeth carries a small handbag? To hold her comb, of course. There you have it: The most progressive theory in support of small, hard bags holds that, like the queen, women can actually get by on very little. A comb. A credit card. A passport. What more do they need?