By: Kerri Winick, GalTime Beauty & Style Editor
Totes and clutches and hobos, oh my! Bagging the perfect handbag can be a job in itself! As much as I’d love a Kardashian-eque closet full of carryalls, my budget is more discount than designer. That’s why it’s important I choose a bag that does it all: holds the essentials, looks fabulous, and goes with most of my outfits. So, what are the secrets to snagging a bag that makes you feel like a million bucks? I found out from Megan Johnson, Lead Buyer of LuckyChic.com.
Durability: No matter what your budget is, make sure the bag is worth what you’re paying. Thoroughly inspect the material, seams and zippers. If you spot any signs of wear, tear, or weakness, Johnson says you can bet the bag won’t last for the long haul.
Size: Size does matter! Make sure the purse you pick can hold your favorite things, or at the very least, the bare essentials. If it’s a tight squeeze, it may not be worth the cash. Also, think about where you’ll tote the bag. For example, if you need one that will go from the office to the after party, steer clear of oversized options and small clutches. Instead, look for something that’s mid-size. Overall, Johnson says one of the most versatile options is a clutch that can double as a shoulder bag, with a spot to hide the strap inside.
Color: Look for something that will match your wardrobe and style. Otherwise, your bag may end up collecting dust. Buying a purse for the summer months? Johnson recommends steering clear of black. It’s too dark! Instead, go for brights and whites. A crisp white bag is effortlessly chic. (PS: If you have a tendency to spill, a white bag may not be for you!)
Functionality: Think about how secure your belongings will be. If you live in a busy city, Johnson suggests reaching for a zipper or button top bag. That way no one else can get their hands on your stuff!
Portability: Make sure the handbag is comfortable to tote around. Do you prefer to let it hang off your shoulder? In the crook of your arm? What about the length of the handles? Take some options for a test-drive and see what works best for you.
Quality: Handbags are like fine wine - the good ones get better with age! Johnson says that most designer versions are made of thin, Italian leather that starts to “lay” the way it should the more it’s knocked around. We’re not saying you have to run out and grab a Gucci, but a few extra dollars may mean the difference between a bag that lasts for one season, and one that lasts for years to come! How do you decide what you’re willing to pay? Do your fashion homework! Johnson suggests creating a “cheat sheet” that helps you figure out “cost per wear.” Simply divide the price of the item by the number of times you think you’ll use it.
Style: This year’s “it” bag could be next year’s Halloween costume! If you need something with staying power, avoid trendy bags with embellishments, fringe, or oversized hardware. Clean, classic styles work best.