Your bag is like the cherry on top of the sundae of your outfit. Basically, it can make or break it.
I believe in owning a fabulous bag. It is, in my professional opinion, the most important element of any look (except possibly your winter coat). If you are one of the millions of people who DO NOT switch their bag everyday, then it is DEFINITELY the most important element. This means that you should not only absolutely love it, but it should be completely functional. Before choosing your IT bag, ask yourself what you use it for. Do you carry a laptop? Do you lug around file folders? Are you constantly carrying all of your children’s random things? Also, what type of strap works for you? Typically there are three options: Hands-free cross body style, over-the-shoulder and shorter straps that ONLY go over your forearm. Owning a bag that is specifically functional for your life will make you love your it even more.
Another very important thing about choosing your IT bag is understanding cost per wear. Basically, how often are you going to wear it? If you never switch your bag out, spend more. If you use different bags everyday, spend less. No matter what the answer, it should still be quality. The bag in the picture above is the biggest splurge I have every made. It is a Christian Louboutin, but of course I got it on sale at Saks. Still, it is WAY more then I have ever spent on one item. And guess what, it is my best purchase ever. Why you ask? Because it is not only completely functional for my life, but it goes with everything I own and is totally my style.
This bag was also a splurge, but I still got it on sale at Nordstrom Rack. It is Jimmy Choo and it is awesome. The camel color is one of my favorite neutrals because it goes with everything. It is a pretty simple style so it will be timeless. The truth is that expensive bags are truly just better. The wear and tear is WAY less then even middle priced bags going for anywhere from $250-$500. Choosing a price-point is very personal and I certainly understand that. Some of you reading this right now are saying, “That’s middle priced!!???!!!”, and the answer is yes. “Normal” bag prices can range from $30 all the way up to $5K. Prices go way beyond that, but that is the typical range.
The bag above is from one of my favorite mid-range designers, Rebecca Minkoff. The best part is that you can find her at almost any discount designer store so I never pay full price. Are you recognizing a pattern yet? I strongly encourage you to ONLY buy a bag at a discount store like TJ Maxx, Nordstrom Rack and Off 5th. There is typically a fabulous selection and you can almost always get a good quality leather bag for half the price. I implore you not to buy fake leather, it looks fake! There is no need to spend full price on bags unless you are buying something like Chanel. You want the quality without the crazy price tag.
As for nighttime, there are two types of bags that work for everything. The first is a larger leather clutch (or even smaller cross body style) for dinner or date night. You want something that is a little dressed up, but not some sparkly, crystal clutch. Using your daytime bag will lessen the look. It will instantly take something fabulous and drag it down to boring.
The second style is for evening. Think small, sophisticated, sassy, classic and fabulous. I would stay away from leather. Satin is the usual option, but can end up looking a little tacky. Don’t buy the typical clutches in the “evening bag” section, it lessens your entire look into some cheap frock. There are so many fantastic options now for nighttime just like this sparkly, hard case option from Aldo. Plastic clutches are really in right now (I swear they are cooler then that sounds), but I think they are more of a fad so don’t invest too much. All I ask it that you keep it fun and modern. Be sure to make sure it actually fits your stuff and doesn’t just look cool. And, make sure it adds to your outfit, it should not be an after thought, it is part of your entire look!!
All of the styles above are great options based on what most ladies need in their wardrobe. Owning a basic black bucket bag is good for your every day bag, but beware, there are no pocket dividers in them. If you typically lose things in your bag, this might not be the best option for you. The bottom right luggage color bag is awesome because it has two handle options, over the shoulder AND cross body. There are a lot of designers doing this right now, yea! We should also not forget that having a stylish weekend getaway bag should be part of your repertoire. A great bag completes your outfit. Why would you put on something fabulous and then grab for the closest bag and ruin all that effort? You won’t (now:).