This week Jill of Everything Just So asked us to contribute to the How I Wear My... series she runs with Adrienne of The Rich Life On a Budget with the topic being how we wear our everyday bags. I'm not and never will be one of those women who has to have or even likes the latest "it" bag. I always have and always will find that kind of thing quite vulgar. But for a long time I was someone who, when putting together an outfit, paid a lot of attention to choosing shoes and clothes and little, if any, to choosing bags.
In fact I used to spend very little money on bags, usually buying one a year from the high street which I would use until it was so trashed, scuffed and dirty that the sheer embarrassment of carrying it around any more would force me to throw it out and buy a new one. Then I found I was replacing them more often. Whether it was the pace of London life, or a dramatic decline in the quality of the average high street bag, or as I suspect, a combination of both, I found I was having to replace my handbag far more often than annually. Some bags I bought lasted barely a month before a strap broke or a trimming fell off in some irreparable fashion.
It was only after a work colleague mentioned the sorry state of my last high street bag purchase that I thought it was time to rethink my bag buying habits. Not only were my cheap handbags letting my otherwise carefully put together outfits down, they were also making me look unprofessional and probably costing me the same amount annually as buying a single, more expensive, higher quality bag.
So I resolved a few years back to stop buying and tossing several high street handbags a year and instead buy better and buy less. To me an expensive handbag has to be a Trojan of a workhorse to justify the expense and an item that I expect to have for years rather than just a few months. It needs to work with a host of outfits and be able to successfully accessorise the full gamut from casual to dressy. It needs to be tough enough to survive being dragged around gritty, grimy London and an owner that doesn't want to be precious with it. It has to be roomy enough to carry half my life around with me if I have to and yet light enough to take with me whilst travelling abroad.
I am not a small handbag gal, I like my bags BIG! So the tote is my everyday bag of choice regardless of whatever bag type happens to be trendy. As a busy woman on the run who often leaves the house early and comes home late at night, my bag has to both work hard and be able to fit my day's worth of essentials. Not for me tiny bags that just hold your phone, keys and wallet. I need
something to be able to stuff in my gloves, hat and scarf in winter, some spare knitwear to deal with the
changeable UK weather or office air conditioning, a bottle of water, a snack, documents from work, a
camera, a magazine or book to read on the tube, and sometimes even a pair of heels
to change into.
Most style guides I've read recommend you have at least
two everyday bags in classic colours to see you through a large range of outfit
choices, one in black and one in a more neutral colour. I've found this
to be fairly sound advice. There are times when a black bag can look
too harsh against an outfit, especially when you are wearing lighter
shades or lots of colour. So I was on the lookout for a neutral tan or
brown bag. I got this Michael by Michael Kors one because I liked the
gold hardware and it had some tassel action going on, but not too much
that it would make the bag too casual (i.e. festival chic) for the
Jill asked us to show us not just the bag but how we wear it. It made me
realise just how frequently this bag has been featured in outfit posts on this blog. I've had this bag coming up to two years now and it is still going pretty strong bar a bit of fraying on the braided straps.
So here is how I wear my bag...
I've worn this bag to work...
...on my days off...
It's travelled with me to Penang...
...and to Australia (including to the beach)...
It's been to France...
...and to Spain.
It looks great in the spring...
...as well as in summer...
...it has served me well throughout autumn...
...as well as in winter.
Now it's just waiting for spring again!
I got more than my money's worth out of my trusty Michael Kors bag and it's still got life in it yet. The money I saved by not replacing my handbag quite so often went towards buying a new black tote by Marc Jacobs this year, which is nicely filling the "black handbag" gap that I had for years in my wardrobe.
Linking up to Visible Monday over at Not Yet Dead Style, Monday Bloom at DC In Style and Monday Mingle.