Earlier today I was rummaging through my current bag for my house keys (something that ends up taking about a billion years every time I do it) and after finding them in the absolute last tiny pocket, I was left contemplating why we stuff our bags to the brim with all sorts of objects we may or may not need. What is this obsession we have with carrying our whole house along with us during the day?
And it was precisely this musing on the necessity of handbags that lead me to write today’s post on how to choose the right one for you. Big, small and anywhere in between, there’s no denying bags have become part of our daily wardrobe, as pretty but also functional pieces.
To begin with, before buying a new bag I advise you to take out all your old ones and dust them off, give them a good wipe or even a conditioning treatment if they’re real leather, and see if they need any repairs. You may have forgotten you have some of them, or thought they’re dull and boring, when in reality all they needed was a bit of tlc. If they’re past the point of repairing/polishing, throw them out, and if you have any needs that aren’t being covered in the bag department after these prep steps, then consider the following:
What is your style? You hear me talking a lot about style on this blog, because finding yours is quintessential to building a harmonious, well crafted wardrobe. If your style is romantic and feminine, with ruffles, pastel colours and dainty shoes, but you fall head over heels with a striking, uber-modern, bright coloured bag, it’s very likely that you won’t be able to pair it with much from your existing items. And then you’ll either not wear it, or you’ll start buying clothes to go with the bag, and then of course new shoes to go with the clothes, and new accessories to go with the new outfits and… you get my drift. Buying random pieces that don’t fit your style will only lead to a confused, non-descript look and a cluttered wardrobe.
Secondly, consider your lifestyle. What are your daily activities? Do you lead a hectic life with multiple daily meetings and events, or is it more or less quiet and linear? Are you a stay at home mom, a waitress, a student, a doctor or a marketing director? Do you need to carry a lot of files with you, or your kids’ toys, a make-up kit or your laptop with you? These questions all help you get a better picture of what needs your bag will cover, which also makes browsing through shops easier and faster.
Another thing to consider is that bags will draw attention to them, so their size in relation to yours, as well as where they hit on your body will matter. If you’re quite top heavy, choosing a tiny bag that hits at your waist or right at your underarm will only draw attention to that part of your body- choose a medium or large sized bag with a longer strap. The same for bottom heavy ladies, choose a bag that hits at your waist if possible, to draw attention to the smallest part of your body. For petite women I suggest small to medium sized bags, an XXL one will just drown you- and viceversa for tall women. A medium sized bag is always flattering on the majority of people.
The next thing to consider is the purpose of your bag. Will you be wearing it as a day to day workhorse or are you looking for a fancy party clutch? Are you going to need a large structured bag that can house all the belongings you need on a daily basis, with a crisp, professional design and well designed compartments? Or are you looking for a smaller, fun, trendy bag that will probably have a sole compartment but a crazy cool, eye catching design? Each of these have a place in your wardrobe, make sure you don’t fall in the trap of buying multiples of one kind and none of the other.
And last but not least, quality quality quality! This is so important- always make sure your bag is made of good materials, whether it’s leather, vegan leather, silk, beads or tapestry. The finishes have to be impeccable, there shouldn’t be any glue around the edges or seams coming undone, and for printed bags, the pattern should not be disrupted by the seams going accross it. Your bag should be sturdy enough to carry you through any number of occasions, and since there are plenty of pretty but flimsy bags on the market, you need to pay attention to the details. Vintage shopping is always a great alternative too, since items made a few decades ago usually have a better quality than present ones. And thrifting/ vintage shopping is also great if you want a leather bag, since you won’t be encouraging the addition of new ones to the market.
My lovelies, I hope today’s post has been useful for you, and that you are now better equipped on your hunt for a great bag. Please let me know what you look for in a bag and if your bags are an item of fashion or more of a functional piece in your wardrobes.