Nothing Else Like It: The Perfect Handbag

{choosing the right designer bag for you}

At HOM, we’re big advocates of spending responsibly and putting thought into what pieces are splurge-worthy versus what pieces can be purchased inexpensively.  There is no doubt that fashion has everything to do with taste and creativity and personality, and ultimately very little do to with money (example: Ms. Brittany Spears, who has more money than she’ll ever know what to do with, is not exactly at the top of our fashion icon list, bless her heart).

OK, with all of this said, we do have a special place in our hearts for the perfect handbag.  And, while there are many nice, affordable options out there, there is nothing quite like a top of the line, designer handbag.

balenciaga

The Balenciaga Arena Classic City Handbag

The beauty of splurging on a handbag, versus almost any other accessory or item of clothing, is that you can use it again and again for years without any issue.

I’ve carried my favorite bag, the Balenciaga Arena Classic City in black, for over five years.  It’s my go-to bag and I never feel that I’ve worn it out or that it’s over-exposed.  It goes with everything, it’s classic but edgy, it can be formal or dressed down.  It’s truly the perfect bag . . . for me.

Finding the perfect bag is individual, and takes a little bit of thought.  To help you in your search for the perfect designer bag, we’ve put together a checklist of questions to ask yourself, keeping in mind that this is a splurge purchase that will happen only once in a while:

1. Do you gravitate toward color or neutrals in your wardrobe?

If color, opt for a bag that is neutral so it can be worn with everything.  This white Proenza Schouler PS Medium Satchel is a beauty, as is this impeccable Givenchy Pandora tote.

The PS line of bags are beyond gorgeous, and they are available in a variety of colors and textures.  This white one is timeless, though, and will bring out your inner-style icon even if you’re off to brunch in sweats and a baseball cap.  (For a similar bag in a lower price point, we love this Longchamp Leather Satchel, too.)

PSGivenchy

We love the Givenchy  in particular because of its unusual structure.  While it’s a perfect neutral (black – though it comes in many other colors) that will go with everything, there is some interest or intrigue in its boxy, off-centered shape.

If your wardrobe is more neutral, you can be bolder about your bag choice.  We love this classy pink Chole Satchel for an evening out or a fancy lunch (or this similar Chloe bag in bright orange for an even brighter pop of color), this  amazing Ombre Bottega Veneta for something truly special, or this funky, leopard print Philip Lim Satchel that would work at the office and beyond.

ChloePhilip Lim

2. Do you really want that signature bag?

We’re all very familiar (too familiar, maybe) with the gold and brown Louis signature, the tan on darker tan “C” for Coach, and the linked “G” pattern of a Gucci bag.

At HOM, we’re not opposed to signature bags, but it has to be a dream bag, something truly special, and not a signature bag for the sake of signature.  Think long and hard about the signature – and go with something creative, eye-catching or unusual.

The Louis Vuitton collection with Murakami is a perfect example – so brilliant – and one of my all-time favorites.  It’s a nod to the signature to be sure, but it’s funky and one of a kind (in fact, we can’t even find these exceptional bags anymore, except on ebay or other resale outlet).

LV

We love this wild Prada bag for the same reason.  With its handles and key drop accessory it is unmistakably Prada, but it’s not a signature bag in the true sense.

3. Is the bag as functional as it is stylish?

St. Laurent

St. Laurent Duffle Bag

Spending big money on a bag makes more sense if it’s a bag you can use for work and play interchangeably.

While a huge tote that accommodates a laptop and files and a change of clothes need not double as a clutch for a night out, think about how many different uses you’ll get out of a bag before buying.

This St. Laurent Duffle bag is an excellent example of the dream work bag that would double as a perfect overnight bag (you can comfortably fit toiletries and a change of clothes).

4. What budget have you carved out for your designer bag?

Decide in advance a price range you are comfortable with and stick to it.  It’s easy to get lost in Barneys and find yourself contemplating the $2,500 Celine because it’s gorgeous and only $700 more than you budgeted, which isn’t that much in the scheme of things. Resist the urge.  Our level of comfort with how much we’ve spent plays a role in our feelings towards any purchase, and you don’t want to walk out of the store feeling regretful or unsatisfied.  That takes all the fun out!

5. What does your intuition tell you?

Every designer bag I’ve splurged on involved some level of reasoning and some level of intuition.  I saw the bag and immediately knew that it was right.  On occasions where I spent time debating, wasn’t sure, or just wasn’t in love with the bag, I regretted the purchase.  So, whether you are spending $300 or $3,000, if you don’t LOVE the bag in the store, you won’t love it ever.

We hope this helps in your hunt for the perfect bag!  Good luck!

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What bags are you loving at the moment?  Let us know in the comments below!

Sincerely,

Team HOM

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