How To Buy Your First Handbag
Buying your first handbag? Don’t know where to begin? I get this question all the time and it is important you know these simple steps before you step into Nordstrom and spend a fortune on the bag you will be identified with ofr the next year. Think about that… the bag you pick up will be at your side, on your wrist, or over your shoulder for the next year or more. Now that’s a staple! This handbag will last longer than most of your relationships. Just putting it in perspective… stop crying. Okay so where to start…
Handbags on a Budget:
This is important and I don’t want you to go in debt over a handbag. But notice how I didn’t say “silly” handbag or “another” handbag? That’s because it’s not silly nor is it frivolous so think of your handbag as the thing that will put the icing on the cake at a job interview or that social one up on the girl next to you that the guy you like is looking at. Okay that last one was a bit below the belt but seriously purses are serious business! In today’s society if you are carrying around a holey garbage bag people will answer your question for directions as follows “No I don’t have any change.” To avoid this determine your budget and get a great bag within it.
You wouldn’t buy a Judith Leiber and expect it to hold your office papers, nor would you wear the Alexander Wang Diego textured-leather bucket bag to your black tie gala, so it is best to asses what the purpose you need this bag for. If this is your first designer handbag then I bet you want to wear it everyday at every occasion and while I disagree with this statement from the very fabric of my soul I think you are half correct and here’s why. One bag cannot do everything. To solve this you have to divide your activities into three basic categories and then go from there.
Click Page 2 for Daywear Below
Handbag for Everyday Wear
Then there is the Evening category. A clutch either large or petite, foldable or pill sized, this bag will hold your lipstick, credit cards, and phone. If you are arguing with me at this point then ask yourself why. Do your really need that clunky wallet that requires it’s own seat on a plane? Or all those receipts? Are you filing your tax return while your date is going tinkle? Look at everything you “need” and hear my voice in your head analyzing it… “you don’t need it.”
Lastly the necessary Workout bag. This is really the last bag you have to move over to the designer category, if ever, and here’s why. My Prada deer skin bag has a lamb skin lining. I know posh right? But that can’t touch sweaty laundry! OMG it’s a sin! So this category is last and least.
If you are like 90% of people and require a daywear bag as your first designer handbag then think about what you will carry in it and pick your size accordingly. Do Not, I Repeat Do Not get a long shoulder strap bag. I know that is the one thing you “Need” on your bag while wiping up your child’s vomit or picking your nose you need both hands – NO. Just no don’t do it. I know this is your first designer handbag but it is imperative that people on Fifth won’t say oh look at Anne (as in Raggedy) and her first bag. This can be avoided by getting a bag that is a satchel style (small handles) or an over the shoulder tote with a removeable shoulder strap. That removable strap is a game changer and turns you from dated to chic is a matter of seconds.Straps aside the next thing is…
The Color of Your Handbag
Color, what color works with your natural style is a good place to start but if you don’t know what fundamentally reflects your soul (or whatever) then just shoot for a black or brown bag as it is a standard color that works with most of your clothes. Most designer won’t make a black bag that is nondescript so don’t worry about getting something that won’t stand out or turns out to be more basic than you hoped for.
What to Avoid
Superfluous details are also a good thing to avoid. When there is too much going on, the designer is trying to trick people into thinking the brand or particular bag is a good choice. The key thing to remember is that any bag that is worth your hard earned money will be made with care and you can tell this quite easily by looking closely at the seams and the hardware. If it plasticy feeling you are probably looking at 3-6 months of wear after which point the bag will look so distraught that you’ll have to get a new one. However, by that same logic, don’t think that because you are paying more that the bag is indestructible. When I sold handbags I loved this question “Is this thang made er gold?” I use the hill-billy slang because that is always how it came across. Anyway no just because a D E S I G N E R handbag is expensive doesn’t mean it is made of Ariel’s hair, it simply means it was made in accordance with the government’s laws and adheres to their standards all while being sewn by artisans of an appropriate age. You are getting a bag that takes hours and hours to produce, you are getting a piece of art.
Click Page 3 for Designer Handbag Brands
I suppose that last thing to mention is the brands that are great for your first designer handbag. Here are all the brands you have likely heard of and should fit relatively well into your budget (moderately priced handbags):
- Kate Spade,
- MK Michael Kors,
- Miu Miu
- Marc by Marc Jacobs,
- Diane von Furstenberg.
These are all great options and most of these lines have handbags that are $1000.00 and under. They all make great options for a first designer handbag. Keep in mind that some of these brands listed above can be made in China and though they may be well made, they will be glued instead of sewn, may use patent leather instead of full grain leather, or may have inexpensive lining instead of leather lining. So it is important to look at the labels and find an experienced sales person to guide you through the buying process.
Here are some names that you may not have heard of before or that I didn’t include because the price point might be sightly – WAY over your budget depending –
Luxury Designer Handbags
- Alexander McQueen,
- Alexander Wang,
- Bottega Veneta,
- Burberry Prorsum,
- Christian Dior,
- Christian Louboutin,
- Dolce & Gabbana,
- Jean Paul Gaultier,
- Jimmy Choo,
- Louis Vuitton,
- Michael Kors Collection,
- Nancy Gonzalez,
- Roger Vivier,
- Salvatore Ferragamo
- Yves Saint Laurent,
- Zac Posen,
and so many more.
It is important to fo online to Saks, or another large department store and take a look at their assortment before heading into the store and making your rounds.
Buying your first designer handbag shouldn’t take more than a day if you are in a large city. Once you know your budget there are a thousand places that want to take your money, so take a full day and go from store to store and keep pics on your smart phone of the bags you like, but make sure to put the bags you love on hold so they don’t get sold.
Last thing: I know this may seem strange but if you haven’t purchased a designer handbag before you’re probably not going to know this but handbags are just like Ikea furniture. You would never buy the chair a thousand people have sat on before so why would you buy the bag a thousand people have tugged at, grabbed, or sneezed on? Ask for a new one when you decide on the final bag, and look over it carefully. Regardless of how much your handbag is these are mass produced and can have obvious errors in the stitching, handles, finishings, or hardware so be sure it is perfect before you walk out of the store.
Also never get pushed into a sale, this is why you need to take a full day to decide because you have to try it on in front of the mirror and really determine if it is the right bag for you. A second opinion is great if you can drag a friend along just make sure she or he isn’t also looking for a bag themselves otherwise you’ll never find them or they’ll be more focused on the bags than you.
I hope this handbag shopping guide has helped you out. If you are an experienced handbag shopper then please include your shopping tips in the comments below for the newbies.