Finding the perfect handbag is a lot like finding the perfect partner. Before you think me a fool, let me explain. When you meet your match, there is instant chemistry and you know they are the one. Well, the same can be said for a handbag that you just have to have! There is instant infatuation and you can’t live without it. I’ve had this experience lately, but more on that later.
There are several requirements that this handbag must have before you decide to “settle” down with it. It has to satisfy several litmus tests, if you will. The first is size. Does it fit everything you need to get through a typical day? Does is feel OK even if it is at full capacity? Can you comfortably wear it on your shoulder for long periods of time? If you have to habit of stuffing your bag to within and inch of it’s full capacity, look for a bag that you can’t do this with. There is nothing more unattractive than a handbag this is too full. Another tip is to feel how heavy the bag is when it is completely empty. If it’s already heavy you might want to take a pass and keep on looking.
The next thing to consider in this all important coupling is the color of the bag. I personally treat handbags as accessories, meaning that I change mine constantly. If you are going to stick to one bag for the whole season, I would stick with black or brown. If you are looking for a way to turn up your color quotient, choose a bag in a fun spring color. Try to stick with a color that will coordinate with most of what you wear. Handbags are a fun and safe way to jazz up your look a little, without worrying about what size you wear, or weather it will make you look fat!
On the size note, consider the scale of the bag. In other words, if you are a petite person, don’t choose a huge oversized handbag. It will overcome you and all people will notice is the bag. Conversely, if you are a larger woman, do not carry a tiny bag, again think scale when choosing. Of course, this rule does not apply the evening or cocktail bags, where the point is not to notice them much.
Another factor in determining compatibility is what material your bag will be. Most people choose leather for its great look and durability. If you are sticking with one bag I highly recommend leather. If you want to be more adventurous, there are a lot of manufacturers/ designers that are coming out with Vegan (non leather) alternatives, very durable straw or synthetic materials. Remember, you want a long and stable relationship with this bag, so stick with a material you can relate to!
Now, think of the all important “style” of the bag. Do you like a slouchy boho kind of bag with just one strap, or do you prefer a more structured look like the revered Birkin style? Is a backpack style the only thing your back can handle, or do you like a briefcase style with room for all of your high tech gadgets? Handbags are very personal territory, so only you can determine what works for you.
Lastly, how much should spend on this all important decision? Remember that this bag should elevate your look, not bring it down. I am not advocating buying a bag with the same price tag as a small economy car (they ARE out there, believe me), but you should spend enough to for a good looking, quality bag that you love carrying around with you.
I recently fell in love with a bag. I’m ashamed to say that I am quite fickle when it comes to handbags. Luckily, I am quite committed to my husband/ partner of 13 years. I saw this bag and couldn’t get it out of my mind. I thought about it a lot. It was a beautiful patent leather (a very IN look, by the way) tote, with just the right amount of space inside. Let me mention it had a hefty price tag to match it’s beauty. I had used the bag as a prop at a packing program I did at Bloomingdale’s, and it was love at first sight. What did I do? I went back and bought it! I now carry it proudly (you may see me around the village with it), and every time I carry that handbag, it makes my outfit and me look better! That’s the beauty of a perfect match!
Another fashion note: My favorite student fashion show is happening today, Friday April 27th. The Academy of Art University student fashion show is being held at 601 Brannan Street @ 5th St. in San Francisco. There are two shows open to the public at 3:00 p.m. today, Friday and another tomorrow, Saturday, at 3:00 p.m. also. The show for industry is at 7 p.m. tonight by invitation only. Guests of honor include: fashion designer Zac Posen, Yves Saint Laurent friend and muse Loulou de la Falaise, and fashion editor of The Washington Post, Robin Givhan. For more information logon to www.academyart.edu.