Accessories

Style Myths: Perfect Handbag

Happy day, reader dear!

With the advent of a new It Bag each season to season, we hear the word perfect thrown around a lot! It seems odd to me that something “perfect” should change so quickly, but, what do I know about handbags? Well… I’ve been a handbag fan for years, and have been paying close attention to them since I was a girl. And you know what?

I spent years looking for the perfect handbag. I don’t literally mean years wandering the Earth in pursuit of the perfect bag, but I might have had a wee obsession. Pretty much anywhere I went that had anything vaguely resembling a handbag, I would look. This led to some amusing, and some incredibly practical purchases, and quite a bit (Oh, let’s just say a lot!) of wasted money. It wasn’t until much later that I thought to spend  time thinking about what I thought made a handbag “perfect.” Let me make something clear; I despise (No, despise is not too strong a word.) the tyranny of “perfect.” There is only one perfect, and it’s not found on this Earth. I prefer: Ideal-for-you-now. It’s part of the same struggle I have with the what-every-woman-MUST-own lists in a another post. At some point I discovered that there is no perfect handbag, or even ideal, but there is the handbag that best works for at this point in my life, and for particular occasions.

So in the interest of helping you find your ideal-for-you-now, here are a variety of questions to ask yourself before exchanging your cold hard cash (or handing over your credit card) for a new bag… As usual, if you find this post useful, please feel free to Pin or share on social media!

Know Thyself Questions

What is your life like? Do you need a bag that is easy to clean? (If so, that cute suede hobo may not be such a good idea…) Where will it live at home or work? On the floor? In a drawer? In a coat closet? On the dining room table where spills happen?

What do you want this bag for? Everyday? A special event like a wedding? Travel?

How much do you like to carry around with you daily? Are you the kitchen sink woman, or a  phone, credit card, and lipstick woman? Or are you  somewhere in between? (If kitchen sink describes you, please know that you will spend more time and money at the doctor’s office later!)

Do you want a bag du jour (the latest trend), or one that will stand the test of time?

Do you want to change bags often, or have one that goes with “everything”? Note: There is no bag that goes with everything! (Read more about that myth, here.) There are bags that go with your everyday everything…

How much do you have to spend? How much do you want to spend? (These are two very different questions!) Are you willing to spend more than you want to get what you love? Note: I would NEVER suggest you spend more than you have, even to get what you love.

What size and shape bags are best for your personality, body shape, and scale?

Is brand important to you? Do you like carrying a recognizable bag? Do you like logos? Or do you prefer to go stealth? Be honest here…  It is a pity to spend a fortune on a bag just to find out you don’t want to be advertising for a particular company. AND it’s okay to want a bag with someone else’s initials if that makes you happy!

Know Your Bags Questions

Do you prefer a shoulder strap? How long? A cross body? Maybe a handheld satchel is more your speed. Or do you want it to be convertible to handle all these options? Some women prefer a wristlet or clutch. If you are wondering what bags you might be missing in your bag wardrobe, read more here!

How much structure do you want? Soft and squishy, or more structured? What shapes do you like best? Soft and rounded? More angular? Taller than wide (North/South) or wider than tall (East/West)? Frequently there is a connection between angularity and structure, but lately there are structured round bags everywhere, and square squishy totes, so be sure to keep your structure and shape preferences defined.

What materials do you prefer? Fabric and PVC (even when called Vegan Leather) are, for the most part, less long wearing than leather. If you have issues with leather bags, expect to replace yours more frequently.

Do you have a hardware preference? Is it serious? I have seen a woman reject her (otherwise) ideal bag because the hardware was silver colored and she only wears gold.

What colors do you like best? What goes with the majority of your outfits? Do you want a bag that blends with, or stands out from your outfit? Hint: A black or camel handbag stands out like a sore thumb on many women; a handbag in the same color as your hair goes with all your outfits, because you wear your hair wherever you go! For why I consider a Colored Bag a Style Staple, read more here.

If this seems like an awful lot of questions to ask before heading to the shops or to your computer, take a moment to think about what else you could do with the $25-$2,500 (or more!) you might spend on a handbag. (Movie? Family vacation?) Taking the time to think through what your ideal bag looks/feels/smells/carries like is well worth the time it will save you shopping. Think of it as the shopping equivalent of Measure Twice, Cut Once. Since most women carry a bag every day, and most everywhere, it makes sense to find one you love AND that works for you!

Do you have a favorite bag? Or did you, but it is no longer right for your life? I’d love to hear about it… Please share your experience in the comments below!

Stylishly yours,

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