How to Choose a Handbag

Trends come and go. But a good handbag can stay with you for many years to come and can be passed down through generations. While I do look for quality over quantity of the items I purchase, it is rare for me to champion the idea of spending unrealistic amounts of money on fashion related goodies. However, handbags are one of the exceptions that I would not hesitate to splurge on. I truly believe that a beautifully made handbag can make an ordinary outfit extraordinary and will add value to your wardrobe.

But, that doesn’t mean that all pricy handbags are well made or all reasonably priced bags aren’t worth our while. It is all about finding the proper match that will suit individual needs and lifestyles. But, it can also be overwhelming, especially when oh-so-bright colors, trends-of-the-season, well-known brand-names and half off sales are trying to entice you with their undeniable charm. So, here are a few basic guidelines that will aid you in finding your perfect handbag companion.

Occasion counts:

When shopping for handbags, the very first thing to be mindful of is the occasion. Your needs will determine the type and the size of the bag. Whether it be for a wedding, date night, work, school or say … even hiking. Most of us instinctively know that carrying a big backpack to a wedding may not be the best thing to do. But, when it comes to no-so-stark situations where the lines between comfort and ease, and trendy and fashionable gets blurry, it is not easy to know what the occasion calls for. In fact, it is surprising to see the amount of occasions where I see ‘being fashionable,’ gets mistaken with unsuitable or underprepared for the occasion, and I myself have been guilty of this during my early university days. So, speaking of unsuitable, university students carrying expensive totes with fashionable thin straps comes to mind. If it’s a couple of thin books and your lunch, then a tote would be ideal. But, most days we are in school eight to ten hours, and carry around many books that are insanely heavy!girl-backpack

So, it is so important to consider the amount of books and things that you need throughout the day to function when deciding on a bag. While we all want to look good, it is also important to feel good and be prepared for the occasion. If you are a student, who goes from one class to the next, carrying a huge load of books throughout the day, it maybe better to get a backpack instead. As a student myself not too long ago, I can assure you that your shoulders would be thankful and your hands will be free. I promises, you will get addicted to your backpack. Bottom line, shop for occasion and comfort.

Strap length:

It’s always better to look for bags that have both, a top handle and, an adjustable and removable shoulder strap. The strap can completely transform a bag from day to night and from work to play.

redWeight of the bag:

It is important to be mindful of the weight of the bag when you are in the lookout for your next bag. Regardless of the size, heavy bags tends to weigh you down even before adding your essentials. Why spend money on a bag that you might not use often and be comfortable with? Go for the lighter version.IMG_20160718_081150

Size and Space:

Make sure your bag is large enough for all your essentials without bursting out of its’ seams. When you stuff too much in a bag it tends to lose its’ shape, looks bulky and makes you look unorganized and unprepared, as if you woke up in the morning, stuffed your ‘things’ in the bag in a hurry, and ran out of the house. Besides, a well-treated bag will last a long time. The secret to longevity of your bag does depend on your understanding of its strengths and limitations, regardless of its’ designer label or lack thereof.

When you are spending your hard earned money on buying a solid bag, why not enjoy it for a while. Treat your handbags well and you will be happy that you did!

Make a statement:

Most of us tend to gravitate towards neutral colors such as black, white, beige or grey when it comes to handbags. True, those colors tends to work well with most outfits. But, it never hurts to venture out of the norm ones in while and add a pop of color. Bright colors can instantly glam up your most basic outfit and lift up your mood! But, if you are still a bit weary of straying too far from the comfort of neutrals, the leopard print or patterned bags are also a great alternatives.

Exotic-Chained-Leather-Handbag-for-Women (2)
Photo credit: Creative Commons

 

Experiment:

I am a girl who likes to play it safe. I used to be all about totes in neutrals, because I usually tend to carry a lot of ‘things’ in my bag. But, recently, I seem to be gravitating towards satchels, cross-body bags, and clutches. At first I was cautious, and was so worried about where to put all my ‘things,’ but now I realize that carrying smaller bags are better suited to my lifestyle and I feel much lighter! Also, when I am only carrying the essentials for the day/occasion it helps me to focus better and declutter. Plus, changing the size and the type of your handbag can add so much character to your outfit and it will definitely be a part of discovering your inner fashion diva! Fashion is all about stepping outside of your comfort zone and having fun. Be daring!

Research:

Research! Research!! Research!! That is my go to mantra. I love researching online and reading user reviews on products before I buy anything. IMG_20160718_082837

 

There is a wealth of information online from the very people who are using the product and why not tap into it. Online research is also a great price comparison tool and it will definitely save you money. Use what is available to you to make informed decisions about your purchases.

Recycle:

I am a great promoter of recycling of products. I do not see the need to throw away or horde things, when I know there are people out there who can use it. And likewise, when I shop at the Salvation Army store near where I live, (trust me, that is often) I am ever so grateful for the people who have donated so many amazing things. Especially when it comes to handbags, secondhand can be a great, low-cost alternative that is healthy for the environment. Happy recycling, my friends!

 

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