Selecting the right handbag for yourself is hard enough, and it's even harder when you are buying a handbag as a gift. Women have strong and distinct needs and desires when it comes to our 'carry-all'. Some of us (myself included) have a tendency for the larger, 'life on my shoulder' style of bag. Then of course there are the 'economisers' amongst us who tease us with their ability to choose the most petite and refined little designer handbag and fit everything they need within it.
Whatever your pre-disposition (and lets face it, that disposition can change with the occasion and your mood!) it is always important to have a handbag that you love. If you aren’t ‘in love’ with your handbag then you’ve lost a very important aspect of carrying your bag. Our bags say a lot about who we are, how we live, and what we value.
Knowing that a quality designer handbag is somewhat of an investment purchase, here’s a few things to consider when you are shopping for this special item. Whether it’s a gift for yourself, or someone close the same principles apply:
- Occasion – is this an everyday handbag or do you have a specific use in mind? If it has a specific function then this has to come first. In particular handbags for work and travel have some unique functional aspects that have to be considered from the outset, like the ability to fit paperwork, and secure closing mechanisms.
- Size – how big is too big and how small is too small? Can you economise? Do you want to economise on what you carry with you? Define the bare minimum you need and work up from there. Keep in mind your purpose above.
- Style – a great handbag should ‘suit’ you. Its style should be a match with yours. Obviously no bag will match every outfit, but what is your overall look? Take a look in your wardrobe and try and think of 3 words that best define your style – those 3 words should also apply to your handbag – especially if your designer purchase is to be your everyday carry-all.
- Comfort – does it sit comfortably? Can you carry it hands free or will you constantly be pulling a strap onto your shoulder. Its hard to carry on loving something that brings us daily pain, so ensure that your handbag goes beyond looking great and delivers on the 'comfort carrying' stakes too!
- Bling – big bling, no bling or something in between? What is the right balance for you in terms of bag accessories and add ons? Are you of the 'bare is better' school, are are you the 'queen of bling'? Consider this question in light of your intended usage for your handbag - generally speaking the later into the evening you intend to carry it, the more bling it can carry!
- Uniqueness – it's all very well to have a designer handbag but if everyone has one the same and you see it everywhere, then it really won’t say that much about YOU. Make sure you choose a handbag that looks and feels distinctively you. Hunt out new and 'up and coming' designers who will be making on a smaller scale, but will still deliver a truly 'individual' look.
- Integrity – while of course the 'style' of your handbag says a lot about you, so does its ‘story’ – Where was it made? Who designed it? Was it ‘crafted’ or ‘manufactured’? There is nothing as special as being able to tell the story of your bag when a 'green-eyed friend' compliments you on your great taste!
- Quality & Price – buying a leather designer classic not only gives you years of pleasure, but also gets better with age. If you add up the cost of all those cheaper options that you would need to buy each season, then the number is probably not that far off the cost of something truly special that will really last you. Quality is not just about the look either - its the feel. High quality materials such as leather and rich fabrics have a certain 'touch' to them that I feel just can be imitated. There is also a lot to be said for the emotional satisfaction of carrying a stunning, quality handbag.
- Functional 'Must Haves' – do you have a specific functional requirement (for example a dedicated mobile phone holder) that is a 'must' in any handbag? If you do, then don’t compromise on it! It will drive you insane every time you go for that special function and its just not there….if it’s a must have, then you must have it!
Handbags, along with shoes have a power over women, even if your own man doesn't understand! Don’t fight it, go with it! Make your designer handbag selection a considered one and you will have a divine love affair with it right up to the inevitable day when it must go to 'handbag heaven'. But don't despair when that day comes - when one door closes another one opens and you get to enjoy this lovely 'handbag courting ritual' again.