Saturday, 6 April 2013

An Everyday Bag...

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 office.

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... well as in summer... has served me well throughout autumn... 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.


  1. That's one well-travelled bag! I don't think I've ever bought a bag new, I make totes out of curtains for holidays and use the latest second-hand buy the rest of the time.
    I agree about "it" bags, who wants to be a walking advert? I always assume the blessed things are fakes from Turkey or Thailand. xxxx

  2. What a fabulous collection of photos, and I never before noticed that your trusty bag is the co-star! A good buy, indeed : >

  3. Wow, it truly looks like an amazing bag that does indeed go with everything (and I am lusting after the grey winter coat in your going-to-work shot). What a nice change from black, too. I have one 'sort of' everyday-go-to bag, handmade in black leather by a Montreal artist, also with amazing hardware. I have been known to wear it very often - that's as far as I'll go! Black leather just isn't right for summer and spring (for me), and besides, I'm too much of a vintage handbag nut to not have a whole bunch of bags in my closet (lately, lots of tapestry and ethnic ones). I wish I could be like you and just have one glorious bag to throw my life into, I really do, but it's just not in my style genes, alas. (And a colleague actually commented on the state of your handbag? Cheeky!). :)

  4. Hi there-what a well travelled and perfectly gorgeous bag-you chose wisely as it is so versatile and stylish and as always you look lovely in all your outfits too! have a good weekend! xxx

  5. Great post!!! Your bag is lovely and really suits you and your life - can't ask for more than that. Gosh have to say I LOVE that shot of you in the grey coat and lacy tights - I'm coat obssessed and just re-discovered the joy of hosiery :-)
    I've always been a bag gal and as a teen and student, I resorted to vintage 'dolly bags' plus non descript satchels to haul my stuff about. Since then you can probably guess the phases in my life from the bags in my collection.

  6. Such a great bag!! I am a tote girl, too. I have to be out and about so much and I need something that can accommodate that... A small bag is like a luxury almost because I've carried big ones as a necessity for so long. Date night usually gets a small purse or clutch.
    Becky :)

  7. I prefer a BIG bag for everyday as well.
    Love the photos of your workhorse! Great bag!

  8. These are all great photos! I especially love the one with the grey cape. Always wonderful to have those favourite trusty staple items in your wardrobe. All the places and memories that bag would have been with you.

  9. I love this post and the bag!

    SSG xxx

  10. Stunning photos of you wearing that gorgeous bag, and I so loved seeing your clothes too! It's clearly a timeless treasure of a bag, and is causing me to wonder if I should rethink my bag habits - like you I have always tended to buy very cheap bags that fall apart quickly. I certainly can't afford a designer one but perhaps one day, one day!

  11. Like you, I tend to be very hard on handbags and because I'm in a wheelchair I'm limited as to the type of bag I can carry. I love the look of your everyday bag. It's proven to be versatile and stylish - what more can you ask for?

    Spashionista (Alicia)

  12. You have described my previous bag purchasing experiences as well. I don't care for a name so much as having a high quality, durable and high functioning bag that suits all of my needs. The only difference is that I do love a small-ish bag. Not tiny, but smaller than average.

    I love all of your pictures with your bag...and your travels. Such a lovely post.

  13. What an excellent jet-setting bag! Great outfits in these photos, it's definitely a versatile bag and looks to have served you well on many occasions.I used to make bags and now, I am a large handbag type of girl, especially love big leather bags. :) /Madison

  14. That's a lovely bag. I would love to be able to limit myself to one bag, sadly Im something of a bag addict.

  15. That is the perfect go-everywhere bag! Might I inquire about that coat in that first shot of you from behind going to work? It's fabulous!

  16. Wow, this is a really universal bag, matches with so many outfits and looks stylish.

  17. Personally I think your tote is divine in every aspect - the size, design and color. Perfect everyday bag. When I purchased big bags (totes) my hubby always teased me but when we traveled and he needed some space for his shades, caps, keys, books then he realised why big bags are my choice for everyday/travel bags! Good post :)


  18. a great hymn to your bag.I like the photo you chose to post in Pattie's

  19. Now that's a bag! Looks great in every photo, taking you through the seasons and across the planet. Of course the bag is an accessory to you, which makes it look even better.

  20. Great post about your fav bag. I'm a mixed bag on the subject. At the moment I prefer big pockets and no purse. But it depends on what I'm doing, where I'm going and how I'm getting there.

  21. That photo on Visible Monday pulled me in because it looks like a dream setting! I always forget to include a bag in my posts, but I always love my bags (purses in the US, so that word is more evocative for me). I pretty much use one at a time (serial monogamy), so I will get bored after a year or two and want a new one. And that's how I justify not buying an expensive purse!

  22. Great classic casual bag. You don't have to look close to see the quality, and like all your other things I've seen, looks great in so many environments. If anyone has a versitile wardrobe, it's you!

    I confess to being a shoe and handbag hoarder. No ... collector sounds better. When I was quite a lot heavier, I found that I could express myself more readily though accessories than with clothing. That lesson stuck, and I don't have just one every-day bag. I change bags often. (Side benefit: they automatically stay un-cluttered this way!)

    I don't need the "It" bag, but I must have one that will support the tablet and some other bulky things. But, luckily, technology makes it easier to smaller items with just as much usefulness.

  23. I can see why that bag has so much mileage! It's gorgeous and I love Micheal Kors handbags. I'm not a big bag girl either but when I find one I like I will wear it to the end!

  24. I just love that winter photo, but like the bag I too am waiting for spring to warm me up a bit! I'm always on the look out for the 'perfect' bag but am beginning to think that it doesn't exist.

  25. Handbags are definitely investment worthy! Love how versatile your bag is!


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