Bag It Up – Weighing the Options

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I buy a new handbag about once every two years. Aside from a couple of clutches for evenings out or special events that I’ve either bought or made for myself, I carry the same bag day in and day out, trash it to hell and then buy a new one when the current one starts to look ragged.  After receiving a birthday gift card to Nordstrom, I decided it was about time to turn in my old Kate Spade bag I bought at the KS Outlet in 2010, and opt in for a fresh spring bag that could be a neutral color to carry me into Fall.  These are the bags I fell in love with while shopping last night.  One of the bags was in my price range, and added in with my gift card I wouldn’t be spending too much of my own additional money.  The other four were out of my price range, all of them being twice as much.  I was a good girl and bought the one in my price range, but couldn’t stop thinking of all the others I saw last night.

I was daydreaming about these bags so much that I posed this question to myself today on Facebook:

“I’ve always said I’m not a label whore, and for the most part I’m not. But after shopping for a new bag last night I’m wondering if maybe when it comes to certain items I sort of am. Found a great Steve Madden bag in my budget I really like, but still keep ‘daydreaming’ about the See by Chloe bag I found that was twice as much. Why? Is it that much better of a bag, or is it because I’d rather have that label? Important life questions to ponder here folks, while I’m at swim lessons.” 

The post garnered some interesting, well thought out responses and it has me thinking.  Since I do only buy a new bag once every couple of years, and I’m really hard on my bags, should I invest in something a bit more expensive if the quality is better?  It’s something I was going to talk about next week in my Pieces Worth Investing In post on Accessories, but let me ask it now.

Just how worthwhile are investment bags that are not really going to be treasured and kept safe, only to be used on occasion, but used everyday?  Does it make more sense to buy cheap because it’s going to get beaten up anyhow, or because it will be used everyday, should I get the best I can reasonably afford so that it will last a bit longer?

Mandy, my handbag expert friend (she worked in the business for years), and I exchanged texts for about twenty minutes today discussing this and weighing the options.  Before she makes her call and tells me to go big or go little, she asked to see the options, so here they are.  All bags are in a beautiful neutral color, all are functional, and all, except for #2 are a functional satchel bag with a crossbody handle to sling around on my shoulder when need be.

So what do you guys think, go big or go small?

Bags – #1 Rebecca Minkoff $495, #2 Steve Madden $198; #3 See by Chloe $495; #4 Marc by Marc Jacobs $428; #5 See by Chloe $495

p.s. here’s a bag that I would really never, ever buy because it’s way out of my price range and it’s so not practical, but ain’t it pretty?  Combines my love of bows, ombre and pink!



Andrea Howe

Andrea is the founder of For The Love Of, a lifestyle blog dedicated to approachable, modern living. She writes about style, her love of DIY, and living a healthier life through wholesome, nutritious cooking. She is also a regular contributor at Babble. Get in touch: Facebook, Twitter You can find Andrea on Instagram @andreavhowe and @gwynethmademedoit

  • Melissa says:

    Last night I went to a spring boutique where one of the vendors was Miche handbags (core of purse alway the same but you swap out the shells). I’ve been a coach girl for about 12 years and always bought at the outfits. It wasn’t that I liked to have the brand name, but I truly loved the designs, patterns, materials, etc. I have to love the bag first, then the designer.

    That said, my BFF bought me a MK purse this summer as my “push gift.” (she’s the best!). The bag was $350. I’ve never spent that much IN MY LIFE. But I looked at the other styles and just kept being drawn back to that one. It was neutral – olive green. I’m glad I went for that. I love it. It’s my little splurge amongst all the baby crap I have to bring along. I feel like a lady vs mom when I use that going out.

    Follow your heart and don’t live with the regret!

  • Melissa says:

    Oh. With the Miche designs – ya it’s a cool concept. But I would rather love one than just like many

  • Mary says:

    I already shared how I feel on FB. Just wanted to say, I LOVE #3…the scallop detail and especially the color, so pretty! Do you think #2 will be practical once the baby comes and you have to carry a diaper bag too? At least with any of the crossbody bags you could throw it in a bigger diaper bag or wear it across you chest and the diaper bag on your shoulder. It would be more versatile. The bag I just got (via Shopbop.com with 20% off for friends and family) has room to carry a 1-2 diapers and some wipes for a quick trip out.

  • Jill says:

    My purse is a freebie I got from Ulta three years ago. It’s roomy and black and I hate it. But the idea of spending money on me is so foreign to me. I need a new purse and I love your options #3 and #5. I’m going to follow your lead and invest in something similar to those in color and design.

    And I think because you’re using it for two years or so, and if you have the resources, you should get what you love!

  • Kate says:

    I have two “daily” handbags that I use regularly. Both were “splurges” in terms of price. Both are larger and practical for a momma who no longer carries a diaper bag but needs a few things stashed to hold off boredom or a diaper explosion. Neither is in a practical color but since I mostly wear neutrals – my bag is often my “pop” of color.

    I got a good firm talking to when my Midwestern, thrifty mother heard what I paid for just one of my bags. But she has now had four different bags in the time I’ve carried my two and she doesn’t like her bag nearly as much as I love mine.

    It’s a daily. It needs to hold up. Splurge.

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