If this is your first time reading my blog, you should catch up on how I feel about expensive, designer clothing. The same goes for designer purses. I won’t pay big money for a name. I’ll pay for good design, quality and something I really love or enjoy using. A bag that makes me feel happy and confident and that doesn’t feel out of place with my overall look. I am very picky when it comes to purses and I realized this post requires three parts. The first part, featured herein, will help you identify quality and timeless style. The second part will further educate you on the different handbag shapes and what works well for your body type and style. And finally, the third post will include must-haves for your closet and my affordable choices to assist in your quest.
Study The Classic Icons
Many bags on the market reference the iconic classics of yesteryear. Hermes has some of the most steadfast and clean design influences found in the Kelly, Birkin, Bolide and more casual Le Trim. Other tried and true silhouettes include the Louis Vuitton Speedy and the classic Chanel single flap shoulder bag. If you must have the real deal, plan on saving your dollars and scour the vintage online stores, thrift shops and ebay. Modern day classics from Coach, Celine, Burberry, Gucci, Marc Jacobs , Furla, Fendi and Prada are also worth studying. Although quite expensive in their own right, they command a lesser price than the icons and provide a good reference. Sites like the Bag Snob and PurseBlog are solely dedicated to the subject of bag obsessing and are good resources for tracking the trends and identifying the real deal. Study the icons and look for the style translation in newer, less expensive bags.
In today’s market, many budget bags use affordable, durable PVC that can look as good as real leather. Other alternatives include nylon and canvas. The key is to choose a material that feels supple and has a substantial look. Very thin leather or plastic will cheapen the look of any bag no matter the price. Texture often makes a bag look more expensive so keep an eye out for quilted, crocodile and snake skin finishes that are tasteful. Consider durability if you opt for real leather over synthetic. Lambskin is soft, tears easily and often shows more abrasions whereas cowhide is tougher with a rough texture.
The Finishing Touches
Hardware is equally as important and makes a big difference in the overall bag aesthetic. Choose low luster trims - brushed, antique or brass gold instead of bright gold and shiny gunmetal instead of a white silver. The stitching should be uniform and not coming apart.
In order to spot quality and good design in affordable pieces, you need to understand the classics and learn what material and finishes are used on the expensive handbags. Stay tuned next week for Part Two!