Accessories mean everything to me. Shoes, jewelry, and bags are my favorite thing to shop for but I’m always appalled by the price…well, probably more so the small paycheck that doesn’t work with the price. No matter what though, I’ve learned to sling an adorable and stylish bag on my arm and continue on my day as if I make triple digits. Once you learn the basics, it’s actually pretty easy. I can walk through a H&M, Forever 21, even a Target and walk out with a handbag that makes everyone’s eyes pop. But don’t worry, I’ll share my insider knowledge on how to wow everyone without you having to spend an entire paycheck.
Go Faux, Not Fake
It is possible to purchase a good quality fake leather bag. The thing is, you want simulated leather, not fabric that has been printed to look like leather. The same goes for hardware and, if you feel the need, fur. First things first, if it feels cheap it looks cheap. If that isn’t enough evidence, just take a look at the details. Shiny metals look terrible, fabric that has had the leather look emboss on the front, or tacky little details like cheap fur or too many decorations on the front. Your first instinct will tell you if it’s trashy or classy; go with your instincts.
The easiest way to make a bag look expensive is having a structure bag. Good quality leather and canvas bag have a natural stiffness to them. When I’m searching for a bag, I try to mimic the structural effect with lower price bags. If they can stand up easily on their own, usually they look a lot more expensive than they really are, especially compared to slouchy inexpensive bags. Another plus: they hold more, easier to get items out of it, and look incredible on your arm.
Avoid Shabby Stores
Think first about the location you are about to go to. Zara, Forever 21, T J Maxx focuses on current trends. Fashion stores that push a lot of marketing into their fashion sales and focus on trying to showcase the latest trends will try to have a few pieces that are worth your time. There are some places that you should know aren’t worth it – let’s just toss Wal-Mart out there as an example. If the store doesn’t seem to have any focus on the current trends, it’s doubtful you will be able to pick up a bag off the shelf that is stylish and cute.
Wait it Out
I always end up getting the itch…I feel like every bag I own is worthless and suddenly I become desperate for a new one. This clearly is the worst time to shop. If you are trying to find the perfect bag, you need to make sure to do it with the perfect balance of when you want it and when you need it. This way you will avoid scavenging around and picking up the first bag that resembles the idea of a good buy.
No, I’m not kidding. Even if you plan on spending less than forty dollars, a true fashionista prepares for the challenge ahead. Look at the trends or current styles to see exactly what you want. After this, it’s time to online window shop. Search around, check out a few sites, and see if there is anything that catches your eye. This way, whenever you actually go shopping for the bag, you have an idea of what you want (just don’t get stuck on a bag you see online)!
Don’t Counterfeit It
I know, we all want to buy Louis Vuitton and Prada bags on a daily basis, but unfortunately that can’t always happen. No matter how much you want the trendiest designer bag, never purchase a counterfeit. Not only is horrible for the fashion industry and involves a lot of unethical labor, it also is just plain tacky. If you can’t afford the label, don’t try pulling off the look.
Shun Online Shopping
When you are trying to shop cheap but look for something nice, viewing a 2×3 picture online is not the right way to execute it. You need to be able to see the bag’s construction, fabric, and overall look. That can only be accomplished in person. For everyone that’s addicted to online shopping, time to head out the door and join the real world. It’s the only way to execute the job and bag the prize (I know, so witty!)
Remember to Splurge
It is always worth saving up to splurge on something you will use all the time. After all, if you use that leather studded bag on a daily basis, shouldn’t you invest in a bag that will last? I wait it out until I find a great sale – Kate Spade has amazing sales on their bags and Nordstrom Rack sometimes features designer bags that are definitely cheaper than if you bought it from the brand. Find your favorite designer brand and stalk them. Sign up for their emails in case they have sales, see which websites they are featured on in case they go on sale there (Hautelook, Gilt, Outnet) and hope that one day that amazing bag appears with a beautiful 50% tag with it.
For those addicted to bags, there’s always a solution. Patience and the desire always leads to owning the best looking purses. Add the tips and tidbits I mentioned and finding the perfect bag will be easier than ever. After all, don’t we all deserve to look a little more fabulous without breaking the bank?