9 Tips For Finding The Right Handbag
These 9 tips for finding the right handbag will help you to make an educated purchase. Profit from my fashion expertise, make your style choices intentional and take your personal style to the next level with a handbag that is just perfect for you and your lifestyle.
I get often asked for the best insider tips for finding the right handbag. Of course I am more than happy to help you to find a prefect one. After all, I love bags – and especially practical bags that carry well but also look amazing. A great bag sets the entire mood to your outfit and helps you to elevate your look to the next level. Just like shoes and other accessories, a bag can make or break your outfit.
In this blog article I am giving you 9 tips for finding the right handbag. I have carefully considered the following aspects of different types of bags and will explain each in detail later so keep on reading.
Things To Consider When Buying A Bag
Finding The Right Handbag For You
I wrote you this handy style guide to help you to choose your ideal bag. These tips will help you to find a loyal workhorse that you can enjoy for years to come. Get more out of your wardrobe by learning to accessorize like a personal stylist. Here we begin with the most practical accessory in your wardrobe: Handbag.
You will notice that most advice is written with business and work bags in mind but some style tips will apply to all types of bags.
Read also: What does your bag tell about you?
My Bag Shopping Tips For You
1. Purpose Of Your Bag
Where are you going to use the bag? Does the style and the overall feel of the bag support the intended purpose of it? Is it elegant and professional? Or is it too young or too ladylike?
Would it look business-as-usual if you were to carry this bag right out of this store wearing what you are wearing today? You want a bag that works well with your current style but is also versatile enough for an elevated style update.
2. Size Of Your Bag
What are you going to carry in your bag on a daily basis? Does it all fit in nicely and are you able to find things easily? What about your water bottle, phone charger and reading glasses? If you are in doubt, make a test: See if the current content of your bag actually fits in the one you are planning to buy.
If you struggle to fit everything in your dream bag, think about downgrading your stuff, but in a realistic way. Chances are you don’t need to carry all that stuff with you every single day. I used be guilty of carrying too much with me, and feel now more liberated when I chose to carry just the essentials with me.
If your office is paperless and you don’t have to bring your laptop home, you might just survive with a small cross body satchel. The bags were massive 15 years ago, and looking back, I wonder what on earth we were carrying in them. One thing is for sure: Nobody misses carrying a huge amount of files around town!
3. Ergonomics Of Your Bag
How do you want to carry your bag? Are you carrying the bag on your arm, across your body or on your back? Choosing the right type of strap is more important the heavier the bag’s contents are because comfort must come first. If you are driving or cycling, you are probably able to carry a bigger bag than if you were to commute by public transport or walking.
What’s the weight of the bag when it’s empty and when it’s full? Does it feel too heavy for you to carry around in your every day life? Do the straps cut into your shoulders? And will it still feel comfortable after 30 minutes? These ergonomic factors are really important to consider because you want to be able to feel good at all times.
4. Material Of Your Bag
Ask yourself: Does the material of your bag need to be rain-proof or heavy-duty? Do you prefer leather, canvas or synthetic? What are the care instructions? How much maintenance you are willing to put in your handbag? Suede and buttery soft leathers are more porous and absorbent, hence more prone to staining and scratches. A more durable option would be saffiano leather, that is a textured leather finished with a wax treatment.
And thinking further, does the material match your ethical values? You might find that some brands are not aligned with your values and then it’s definitely best to skip those. With a guilty conscience you won’t enjoy your purchase as much as you’d like, no matter how fashionable the style is. In my professional opinion your personal brand must be consistent throughout your values. It increases your authenticity and enhances your self-respect.
The good news is that nowadays there is something for everyone. There are also brands that tan their leather in an ecological way, use 100% vegan materials or just make so good quality that one bag will last a lifetime, which will make it more ecological than any other choice of material or manufacturing method. For the latter choice I do give a price tag warning though!
5. Color of The Bag
Remember that your ideal bag doesn’t have to be black, brown or taupe. There’s a myriad of really cool colors out there and just need to pick one that you love the most. I would still advice your to think if a very light color bag is really practical for your lifestyle. It would be a real shame to stain your beautiful bag too soon. On the bright side there are sustainable bag spas that will make your bag look like brand new again!
I love red bags because that way I can wear a bright color without sacrificing my trusted neutral color palette in clothing. Wearing a signature color is a great opportunity to inject some personality and memorability into your style! At the moment, I am dreaming of something purple and perhaps a printed bag would be nice for spring time.
6. Details of The Bag
Look carefully at the details of the bag. How the lining, the stitching, the straps, the hardware and other finishing touches, are made gives you a good impression of the overall quality of the bag. There are huge differences in how bags are made and learning to recognize good quality is the first step in elevating your style.
Avoid anything that is sloppily made and that feels flimsy. Sometimes you see the straps already fraying in the shop, or the bottom of the bag sagging in an ugly way even when empty. Those details will annoy you in a long run and you will experience buyers remorse. And even worse, the bag could just break and be no use at all. Let’s avoid all this misery by steering clear of lousy quality to begin with.
Look for a bag that wear nicely and is easy to open and close, even with just one hand. I have one beautiful bag that wrecks my manicure every time I reach out for my keys, which then makes me avoid wearing it too often. That’s of course a shame, because it’s a really pretty bag, just not very practical.
7. Compatibility With Your Wardrobe
Ask yourself: Does the bag go nicely with your current coats, shoes and work clothes? Do you need to buy new items because you want to buy this particular bag? Sometimes a bag is worth the hassle, but very often you end up using a bag that fits better with your clothes, and the nice new bag is left unused in it’s dustbag.
A good rule of thumb is that a new item should go with at least 3 other items in your wardrobe. But for practicality’s sake, for a work bag this number is definitely higher: 1/3 of your wardrobe should work with it, or at least your favorite coat, shoes and a week worth of workwear. Settle for nothing less, and you’ll get more out of your new bag.
8. The Bag Brand
For many people brands are not a priority, but I know that for many people they are very important, hence this chapter. A brand represents a lifestyle, belonging and a dream, and those aspects of any brand you buy into, should be aligned with your personal values.
Sometimes brand image and value increases rapidly or crash lands as a result of a scandal. I see this happening a lot in social media and it’s not only a bad thing. It’s important that the public is aware of things that happen behind the screens, so they can make an educated purchase. Perhaps you too feel like it’s time to abandon brands that are no longer aligned with your values and current personal brand.
Your taste in brands can also change. You may have loved a bag when you were a student, but not necessarily anymore now that you are an adult business professional. These changes in life and taste are normal and getting out of a style rut can be a refreshing experience. Keep your eyes open for new brands and do your research on their quality and image.
9. Your Realistic Budget
Whichever bag style you are buying, keep your realistic budget in mind. There is no point going into debt because of a handbag, or fashion in general. Expensive doesn’t always equal good quality. There are several expensive brands out there whose quality leaves a lot to hope.
The emerging popularity of online fashion libraries, designer bag rental sites and pre-loved e-commerce have given normal people an affordable access to luxury goods. Rocking a designer bag is no longer a privilege of the rich and famous. Technically almost anyone can have one, so stay cool when envying other people’s arm candies. Either they are very savvy shoppers or they are eating pot noodles every night.
It’s also notable that some designer bags will keep (or even increase) their re-sell value so you might be able to get a nice ROI (return on investment) for your beloved bag. For this type of bag hustling you need a clear head and deep knowledge of fashion houses producing these bags. Not any designed bag will give you a decent ROI, in fact most will lose their value like any other bag. But with good knowledge of the niche, you might be able to ace it!
I hope you enjoyed these 9 tips for finding the right handbag. Share your best bag shopping tips and favorite bag brands in the comments below. Happy handbag shopping!
This post was originally published in February 2020 and updated on 31st January 2024.