Buying a Purse that Looks Great AND Works for You

October 12, 2010


Picture via Luxury Insider

How many times have you spotted a great bag, tried it on at the store, LOVED it with all of your stylistic heart, bought it, brought it home and come to find out that it really doesn’t WORK.

This is beyond the clasp being sketchy or loose threads.  (Though if that is the case you are buying bad bags, my friend.)  No, I’m talking about the first time you have an arm full of bags and packages, the purse on your shoulder and you need to reach for your keys one-handedly and CAN’T because of how the bag is constructed.

Ask me how I know.

Here are some tips to tattoo to your brain for the next time you are out bag shopping so we can ALL avoid the frustration and trip back to the store for the return.  (‘Cause why would you keep a bag that doesn’t work?)

  • Do a dry-fit with your items from your current purse.  This doesn’t mean every last candy wrapper piece of paper, but at the very least your largest items and for sure your keys and cell phone.
  • Reach for your keys or cell phone.  Put the purse on your shoulder or however you usually wear it.  Hold a bunch of packages or things in your other hand so that it’s not usable.  Try to reach for your keys and phone.  If you can’t get it, give the purse an air-kiss and move along.

Purse on shoulder
There is no way you can reach to the bottom of this purse one-handed – though it is lovely.

  • Consider the materials.  Chain link straps and detailing are a great look this season, but they add weight – especially if it’s well-made.  Leather and suede are heavy, too.  That dry run up above is good for size but also for a test run on if the piece will be comfortable for you.  Can you schlep it with you for a whole day or errands and not need physical therapy at the end of the day?
  • Know repair options.  Life happens.  Let’s say you have a toddler who loves a good ballpoint pen and thinks your leather purse strap is the best scribble surface ever.  Are you stuck with a pre-K design collaboration with Louis Vuitton that’s not quite Stephen Sprouse?  Maybe not.  Check and see if straps are replaceable and if there are proven cleaning products that could work.
  • Don’t expect the bag to change you.  Purse habits are pretty ingrained and unlikely to change all that much.  Don’t expect purchasing a bag is going to make any significant changes to how you live your day to day life.  It’s an accessory, not Jungian therapy.

Bags can be a sizable investment – shop for form and function.   No one needs a pretty bag that doesn’t work.  Save that closet space for something else.

What else?  Any other stories of bag-woe we need to hear about?  Do some designers do this better than others?

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One Response to “Buying a Purse that Looks Great AND Works for You”

  1. Felicia Sullivan Says:

    Fantastic tips, Pam!!! xo