As a bag enthusiast, well it’s more like an obsession. I have put together a list of 5 things to consider when choosing to invest in a bag. Have a read, and then go and bag that purchase.
This is really important, do not spend more money then you have. I like to think about cost per wear when I am deciding on a bag. If I know that I am going to wear it a lot, then I will probably spend more. Trend versus a classic piece also comes into play here. A PVC clear bag for example, is something I might only wear for one season, so I would rather spend £20 in the high-street on it. A timeless black bag on the other hand, I would be happy to put down some real cash for as I will wear it for many years.
Not everyone has the budget to buy designer pieces, but if there is that one item that you are crazy in love with, try looking on second hand sites or in vintage shops. It has become more a thing now, for the super brands to re-release old styles like the Dior saddle bag or they have core styles that they have sold for 50 plus years like the Chanel small flap bag.
What are you using the bag for?
This is very important, because this dictates what size, and what shape the bag is. Whether you want just a top handle, a cross body or shoulder strap and what type of fastening you need. Here is an example, if you are looking for a work bag. Do you need it big enough to fit a book in, for your commute, or will you want to be able to carry your office laptop in it occasionally. If you are going to carry your laptop in the bag you will need a larger bag with a cross body strap to distribute the weight. If you are commuting in London for example, you will probably appreciate a small inside open pocket where you have easy access to grab your oyster or contactless card.
How often you are going to wear the bag?
How often you are going to wear the handbag affects the colour and material of the product. It you are going to wear the bag everyday, a good hard wearing leather will mean that you will see less wear and tear over a period of time. If you do not want a leather bag, still go for a sturdy vegan leather (PVC) or for fabric bags in a strong canvas style.
I have been burnt on more than one occasion by buying a soft buttery leather bag, and it has been ruined in months, or seen a fabric bag rip after continuous wear. Save delicate materials like softer leather, light fabrics and suede for bags that you only want to wear a few times a year.
Think about the season or the country that you are wearing the bag in as well, a raffia bag is great for a hot beachy holiday but when it’s wet and rainy in the UK, the bag will not fair well.
As the season’s come and go, so do the colour of bags. In the summer I love an off-white number or a light caramel hue, but in winter I gravitate towards wine and navies, which complement my seasonal wardrobe. There are however, some core colours like black, brown and greys that are perfect all year round. So consider whether if the bag is more of a summer or winter colour and does that match when you want to wear it.
What is your size and body shape?
Something that I have learnt along the way is that size really does matter. I am only 5ft 3 inches, and if I wear a big bag, the bag actually ends up wearing me. It can be awkward to carry as well and this is just not stylish. Getting the size right can really elevate your outfit and really complement your style making you look effortless cool. You body shape can really come into play as well, for example as someone who has large hips, if I have a shoulder bag, I need to make sure that it hangs above my hips (difficult at only 5ft 3 inches) because otherwise the bag really sticks out from my body, but if you have small hips this is not really a consideration.
Finally, how long do you want to have the bag for?
This comes mostly into play if you are buying a designer bag. I have a revolving designer bag collection, so when I am deciding about making a designer purchase, in the back of my mind I am thinking is this going to be a forever handbag, or am I going to wear it for a year or two and want to sell. If you think that you might want to sell it in the future, have a look on sites like Ebay or Vestaire Collective to see how much money you could make or styles that sell well, and be informed before you place that order. I would only buy a bag where I might love it now, but maybe not in a year or two, if I know that I can make upwards of 50% of the selling price back. I can then use the money towards its replacement, hence the revolving collection. For super brands like Chanel or Hermes, where the selling prices increase almost every year, you can actually make money on your purchase, what a result.
I hope you have found this interesting and real food for thought! No what your budget, make sure that you are buying bags that work for you!