Lifestyle & Culture

Tips for Picking a Handbag

Everywhere I look I seem to be bombarded with the idea of getting a new handbag. Especially with spring/summer around the corner, I’m having an itch to add some pop of colour to my neutral bag collection to liven things up a bit. But the more I look, the tougher my decision making gets. Not to mention, the variety of styles, colour, and sizes available isn’t making this task any easier.

Trying to search for a perfect handbag that includes not only style and elegance, but also speaks functional, fun, and feminine, is equivalent to looking for a needle in a haystack. It’s kind of hard isn’t it to find that whole package in just ‘one’ handbag?

What do you do when you are presented with such a vast assortment? What are some general rule of thumbs to follow?

1. Style & Functionality/Utility. Namely, this step should determine the purpose of buying a new handbag. Whether it’s to add to your existing collection of handbags or making a first time purchase, it’s important to understand the utility of a handbag before buying it. For example, you could be buying a handbag for work, for school, for everyday casual wear, for a specific season (i.e. spring/summer/fall/winter), or for a specific event. Whatever the occassion is, this step should help you determine the functionality of the handbag and as a result the type of style you are looking for. Make sense? Here are a few examples by H&M, Mango, Michael Kors, American Apparel and My Bag to keep you on track.

2. Colour. Colour. Colour. Imagine the whole world being black and white. It would be beautiful. It would be classic. It would most definitely be something out of an antique film. However, life in colour is way prettier, vibrant and it’s the first characteristic that people notice when shopping for anything really. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder as they say! And a handbag that makes a statement will stand out on its own. Personally, I try to choose a colour that is not excessively overwhelming, but can compliment any outfit all year round. Shades of nude pinks, mint, blacks and gray tones, whiskey or caramel brown, beige or bone are great colours to play it safe with. If you are feeling more adventurous, why not opt for a bold plum-purple, teal, cobalt blue, red, hot pinks or black and white stripes instead. For those that are willing to take the plunge in the deep end, I have listed a few colourful, chic and flirtacious pieces by Designer Kate Spade as examples.

3. Price Point. When it comes to certain things in my wardrobe I can be a rather impulsive buyer, but when it comes to handbags I like to take my time and do my homework. If you’re set on buying a handbag, no matter what the price point then be my guest, Bob’s your uncle. However, if you are working with a specific budget in mind, then treat it like an investment. I always say treat it the same as if no different to buying a car. You’re going to want to shop around for some quotes and try to find a deal that is visually appealing, functional and fits into your budget.

4. Size. I used to be a victim of carrying everything in my bag. I was living with what I like to call the “What If” disease. Basically meaning, what if I need this lipstick? What if I need a book to read on the way? What if I need this lotion? All these “What Ifs” added up to a surmountable pile of stuff which ended up weighing my bag like a ton of bricks and eventually giving me shoulder and back pain. The ironic part was that I barely used half of the materials I carried. So point being, thoroughly go through your bag before getting a new one and try to minimize the amount that you carry. Carry only bare essentials and things that you need on a daily basis. Take into account that the bigger the bag you get, the more likely you are to fill it up and vice versa. Secondly, if you are just as petite and short like I am, getting a mid-size to a small compact bag (i.e. satchels, crossbody’s, shoulder bags) is your best bet. Avoid getting bigger bags (i.e. totes) as they tend to make us “shorties” look even shorter.

Big vs. Small

5. Designer versus Non-Designer. Essentially this step is a combination of taking into consideration personal preference, style, budget and whether or not you are a brand name buyer. To begin with if you are not, then ignore the rest of this information and skip to the next step. If however you are, then life just got more difficult for you. What’s harder than choosing a handbag with style, colour and functionality? Answer: it’s choosing a designer handbag with style, colour and functionality. When it comes to options the sky is the limit and if so is the budget then I need not say more. Try to narrow it down by designers whose styles you naturally gravitate to. Try not to allure to a brand name for the sake of a brand name. Instead learn about the designer, the products and what appeals to you about a specific brand, which will make your case stronger when making a final decision.

6. Don’t stress. Have fun! This is the most important step of all. I cannot stress enough (pun intended) how important it is to have fun while shopping. I know it can get pretty challenging sometimes to find an item that suits your needs. We have all been there, including me. But it’s not rocket science and it most definitely is not the end of the world. The majority of people these days forget the simple pleasure and enjoyment that results from shopping, but mostly they forget to take that time for themselves. Try to relax. Do it at your own pace (especially if you cannot stand the shopping malls for more than an hour or two or less). Have patience (plenty of it). It’s truly a virtue. Whatever you are hunting for will turn up at some point, and it will be meant to be. Last but not least, have fun with it! Make a day out of it. Round up a girl’s day out if you will. Lower your finding expectations and you just might be surprised!

What are some tips that you use when shopping for a bag? I’d love to hear feedback from others!

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