Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Perfect Handbag...Part One

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.

Material Matters

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!

11 comments:

the iron chic said...

The only expensive designer item I've ever dreamed of having is a woven leather Bottega Veneta bag.
I'll never stop loving those....

Jennifer said...

I couldn't agree more. The designer bags I own, are of a timeless style that will always be "in".
You may pay a little more for a bag like this, but the craftmanship and materials make up for it.
Great post!

LceeL said...

I just LOVE that little Speedy. But it would never hold all my stuff. I know you don't know this about me, but I carry a bag. After Sienfeld, I call it a 'man bag'. It's about the size of a preacher's bible and as thick as two Sunday Missals. I carry over the shoulder, or with the little finger loop at the top of the bag. Just don't make any disparaging remarks .. 'cause I carry some tools in my bag and if I hit you with it it's going to hurt.

Lady Language said...

Iron Chic - I knew I was leaving out some good ones...very nice.

Jennifer - I think of a bag as an investment and if you find that perfect one, it's worth the splurge. But nowadays, there are a lot of nice affordable options for those without the cash to splurge.

Lou - The Speedy would be a nice choice for you :) I think any man that can carry bag is way cool in my book (and I'm not just saying that because of the tools)...

The Poet Laura-eate said...

As a writer, I'm bound to say that the perfect bag has to accommodate an A4 pad!

Other than that I like elegant, simple, monoblock colour, a bit of style detail, strong and roomy with at least three inside zip pockets is my ideal. Silver grey, black, chocolate or claret microfibre with silver hardware would be lush.

Lady Language said...

Poet - Thanks for your input. I will keep that description in mind as I begin my quest to find nice bags for my last post!

Linda said...

That's a very helpful post! I love buying purses, and sometimes it's hard to find a good one - especially since I'm no expert at it. A lot of times, I buy purses that catches my eye. That doesn't happen too frequently at stores like Macys or Bloomingdales because there are usually tons of them all at one place. So it's really hard to pick out one with the right design, color, material, shape, etc. So please keep up with this purse post! :)

Lady Language said...

Linda - I'm glad you found it useful - sometimes I feel as if I am just talking to the wall..ummm...the computer, but my commenters keep me going!

Linda said...

Don't worry, I'm a real person, not a wall! ;P I feel that way sometimes too though...LOL.

CastoCreations said...

I have become a bag snob in the last couple of years. The Purse Forum is FABULOUS for educating yourself and, as a participating member, becoming part of their marketplace where you can get amazing deals on used and fabulous purses. I got my Prada there for $400 (retail value $1200 or more) and LOVE it. I can't stand the idea of paying full price for any purse. Though I'm now reading a book called How Luxury Lost its Luster and it's quite revealing about the high end "designer" brands. I'm now more inclined to go off name and handmade as long as it is quality.

Lady Language said...

castocreations - Thanks for stopping by and for the great information. I respect women who can find the value in used goods and I will have to check out that book!