Now, if you blow up the scan of the book, you can see that it says "By all means, match the color of your shoes and bag if you're under 30. After that, prepare to age 10 years..."
This caused me to choke on my ever-present cup of coffee for 2 reasons:
1. I didn't think this was optional when you were getting dressed up. If you're wearing black dress shoes you should have a black bag, silver shoes/silver bag, cream shoes/cream bag, etc. The exception to this rule in my view was if you were wearing an evening gown/cocktail dress with a bag that matched the evening gown and neutral shoes.
2. I'm about to turn 30 and I would like to not age myself 10 years. Particularly given that my debaters assume that I'm 10 years older anyway...I'd like to do what I can to counter that image, not encourage it.
I sat down and thought about this for a while (not too long...I don't want to give people the impression that I ruminated about this pressing fashion question for like hours or anything). It seems like the #1 takeaway is that rules are going away. (Generally I like rules--A LOT--but I guess it's good that when it comes to clothes we have more leeway.) The fact that a noted fashion-lady says it's passe and old fashioned to match your shoes and bag at least means that we don't always HAVE to match.
Rules are being replaced by personal style. I think if your personal style is vintage-y or very formal, then you can match your shoes and bag. You won't look old, you'll look like yourself.
You should allow yourself to be flexible. So instead of running out to buy yellow shoes to match my yellow purse (which I hardly ever wear because I couldn't figure out what to do with it), I can pick up the silver hardware on the bag with a pair of silver flats and a silver belt. Not super "matchy-matchy" (and thus old-looking), but contains elements that tie them together so it doesn't look like you turned off your lights before you got dressed.
Finally, you should do what makes you happy. If it makes you happy that your purse matches your shoes, then tell Ines de la Fressange to shove it (maybe just inside your head, that would probably be a weird thing to say out loud). Conversely, if (like my adorable letter writer did yesterday) you grabbed a purse and shoes and realized midway through the day that they don't match, don't sweat it. It probably looks cute anyway, and you're probably the only person who noticed that they weren't a perfect match. Or, if someone noticed, they probably thought "oh, how fashion forward of her! Non-matching accessories is the new awesome." Frankly I'm usually too worried about not spilling stuff all over my outfit to judge others' clothes (unless they're a serious trainwreck which Adorable Letter Writer NEVER is).