Tips for Buying a Handbag
I loved the article in The Wall Street Journal February 9-10, 2013, “Handbags: The Deciding Factor” talking about the psychology of buying “the handbag” and how women agonize about the decision afraid that as soon as they buy it they will find another one that they like better. “Will I love this bag no matter what?”
Following are some suggestions for weighing the pros and cons. The ten factors to consider are not prioritized in any order because each of you have different needs and priorities.
- First Impression: Did you immediately love it the second you saw it? Does it exude your personality? The best buys are usually from an immediate love.
- Size: Will everything that you need to carry with you fit easily in the bag? When will you carry the bag? Is it an everyday tote bag or a cute luncheon or evening purse? For special events I usually only carry my driver’s license, credit card, a little cash, a tissue, my phone, keys and lipstick and liner. Therefore the bag can be quite small. My everyday tote is another story and must hold lots.
- Shape: Do you mind digging deep in a bag to find stuff or would you prefer to see things when you open it? I prefer a shallow, but wide bag so the opening is large. Is the opening wide enough to easily access the contents? Does in have a zipper for security or is that important? Doe sit have the inside pockets you want?
- Weight: Do you have shoulder or back pain and need to keep it light? As I have matured, that is important for me. I like to take the stuffing out and pick up the bag. Since I put so many things in my bag, the empty bag should feel quite light. Heavy leather and/or metal hardware can add weight.
- Handles: How do you carry your bag? On your arm or hand or do you need for it to fit up on your shoulder. That is critical for me. I want handles that are narrow and are long enough that my forearm can fit through the straps and the bag can slide up to my shoulder. Short handles are fine for a luncheon or evening bag, but not my everyday bag. Fashion wise long shoulder straps are out.
- Durability and Quality: People who have experienced quality will recognize quality. There are all qualities of leather from fake leather to very soft Italian leather. Sometimes too soft of leather will not have the durability that your “go to” bag needs to survive the rough treatment it encounters. Sometimes a high quality man-made fabric is required for durability. Especially in the summer the bright colored bags look fabulous in fabrics.
- Fashion: Do you plan to carry this bag for years or two months? Does you selected bag need to have some longevity? Will it look dated next season? If you want it to last at least a couple of seasons then do not buy a “fad” shape or color.
- Brand: I find there are opposite opinions about buying a bag that obviously is a “brand” either with a large logo or logo fabric. The one extreme is that the brand is the most important factor in buying the bag and you will continue to buy the same label over and over. The “status” of the label is part of your own personal identity and love being tied to a label. The other extreme is the opinion that the “obvious label” is the reason to not buy the bag. You feel that your own personal identity should not be tied to any label. Exuding only an understated quality is important.
- Price: What is your budget for a handbag? Can you realistically afford an expensive bag? What is expensive for you? Handbags can range from $30 to $3000. For durability I think you need to spend more than $30 and plan to carry it for a longer time. What will be your cost-per-carrying? A $300 bag carried for a year creates a cost-per-carrying of less than a dollar per day.
- Color: If you want a neutral color of bag, I recommend selecting the color that is your predominate neutral of your wardrobe. Are most of your clothes and accessories black, grey, brown, tan, cream or white? Or a metallic color is popular now. For summer a bright color is fun. I love my turquoise bag with brown leather trim. It matches by wardrobe.
In the end your selection will be an emotional decision, but considering the ten factors to weigh the pros and cons will ensure that you will love the bag for a long time. It can be your best friend.