Tips for Buying Handbags
What do you want your handbag to say about you?
The first thing is to calculate your budget. Handbags can range from $20 to $20,000. There's no cap on how much a bag can cost. It's a challenge and an adventure for you to explore what the market has to offer and there's a lot out there! Don't let that one bag discourage you from finding something even more exceptional. The more knowledge you have on what’s available, the better equipped you are to make the right decision.
Handbags need to look good, but they should also serve a purpose. The second thing you need to ask yourself is the bag’s function. If the bag is for everyday use like an office handbag, then you want to choose one that's big enough and is equipped with many pockets to carry all your documents, laptops, and everything you may need. A subtle colored, structurally and modestly designed bag with sleek lines work best with suits. Evening bags are smaller so it doesn't overshadow your dress and it is used to hold only lipsticks, mirrors and cell phones. Hence, clutches in boxed or rectangular shapes that have complimentary color and embellishments to your outfit are preferred. Once you're set on your budget and the purpose of the bag, you can now have some fun in picking the right material with the right style to match all your preferences.
The most common materials for handbags are genuine leather, synthetics or man-made material, and canvas. The decision depends on how long you want the bag to last. If you don't like to change bags often, then you want to choose a leather handbag that won't break or tear after a few months. Leather can vary by their origin, such as calfskin and lambskin. Cowhides are more durable because it comes from full-grown cows. But the most durable is called full-grain because it’s taken from the top section of the hide and it has not been processed through sanding or buffing. What you get is the most pure, natural and top quality leather that's the most breathable and durable. The bag doesn't wear out, it will develop a natural sheen to its original color, and it becomes even more unique over time. But full-grain can be expensive, so your next choice is top-grain which has a greater resistance to stains. Nubuck is an example of top-grain with a silky velvet-like surface. The down side of a leather bag is that it requires a lot of care, and serious maintenance can sometimes cost up to half as much of what you paid for the bag.
On the other hand, synthetics, polyurethane or PVC are mimics of leather. They can be molded into any shapes and styles while retaining the look and feel of a leather bag. The biggest factor in these man-made materials is the price—they are significantly cheaper than a handbag made of leather. Another factor would be your health; these man-made materials are more lightweight compared to leather. We put a lot of weight on our shoulders, so to prevent extensive damage, you might want to consider a synthetic bag that's lighter to start with. These materials require little or no maintenance because they are much cheaper and easier to clean. If you take care of them, they will last a long time.
There are too many styles to list when it comes to handbag. The hobo style is the most basic; it is a medium to large shoulder bag made with soft materials that gives the bag a crescent shape droop. It offers you a touch of fashion with the benefit of carrying all your necessities and even items like clothing, a bottle of water, etc. As mentioned before, a clutch is a great bag for going out to a party or an event. But they also come in large sizes that you can use daily. Another style is the converter bag that comes with a detachable strap. It can be worn as a regular shoulder bag or cross the body like a messenger bag. These bags are a great value because you get two bags for the price of one.
The last thing you need to remember is that you want a handbag that reflects your personality. The most practical and easy to match colors are black, gray, tan, and brown. But there are many new innovations in both design and style that can bring a hint of life to your handbag. There's a big trend toward vintage items, with some bags made of a leather that's specially made to have a slightly worn appearance. Embossed leather transforms your plain leather into beautiful stamped patterns. Glazed, metallic, and patent leather leaves a glossy and polished finish. Perforated materials produce a pattern made with tiny dotted holes. If you’re the adventurous types, handbags made of silk, satin, alligator or snake skin will bring an exotic touch to your wardrobe.
Finally, a lot of time, you will be faced with some questions that could become overwhelming. But you have to remember, the bag doesn't choose you, you choose the bag. Here are some examples:
Designer vs. Non-Designer: if you want a designer bag and your budget allows you to, then that's what you should get. But if your budget is a bit tight, then you might want to ask yourself if the reward is worth the expenditure. Currently, the trend is moving away from the "It Bag", a high priced designer handbag that becomes the best seller. An example would be Louis Vuitton's iconic Speedy bag. The recession has moved the hype of "It Bag" away from all the showy logos to a bag that's low-key and has a lot of personality and individuality. Every bag has a designer behind it. If you like a design then that's all that matters.
Originals vs. Knock-Offs: the truth is, there are a lot of rip-offs out there. But you shouldn’t let this fact get to you because there’s no guarantee that your bag is going to be one of a kind. If the bag looks good and it serves the function you need, then that’s the one. Unless that person is a connoisseur of bags, then most of the time, people will not notice the difference.