We’ve all been there. “Ooh! What a beautiful bag!” you think. And it probably is. But then you get it home, and start transferring the stuff from your old bag to the new one (something that I find to be a particularly festive activity). But then, reality sets in.
The bag looked great in the store/on the website. It looked like it was about the right size, and it’s a style that I’ve had before, and liked. But it’s just…not right. Maybe it’s a little dressier than I realized, or the lining looks weird, or my stuff just doesn’t fit quite right.
Choosing a bag can be serious business – but it should always be fun, too! Knowing where to start, however, can be challenging; I searched for “handbags” online and I got 638 million results.
In my decades of hunting for just the right bag, I’ve made more of those “not-quite-right” purchases than I can count. But I’ve learned to make a more objective assessment by asking myself these five questions, and 90% of the time, I end up with just the right bag. The other 10% of the time? Well, what fun would it be if we never ever gave in to those “gotta have it” impulse purchases? And solid return policies, like ours?
While there are many things to consider (decisions, decisions!) when choosing that “just-right” bag, here are five to get you started:
5 Questions to Ask To Make Sure You Choose a Bag You’ll Love
- When am I planning to use this? For example, if you need a bag to go to more formal events (weddings, holiday parties, etc.) you probably want a smaller bag, and maybe one with a little extra bling – think pretty clasps or metal straps. If it’s an everyday bag, you likely want a bag that’s easy to take care of, and maybe one that won’t show every little speck of dirt.
- How hard am I on my bags? Tell the truth – your bag will know anyway! If you’re the kind of person who never sets your bag on the floor, cleans it out religiously, and maintains it, then you can probably go for whatever fabric/material you want. If, like me (ahem), you’re a bit more casual in your habits, then you need something a bit hardier. If it’s leather, think about choosing a bag with metal feet to protect the bottom, for example. Or if it’s one of our awesome Watercolors line of Neoprene resort totes (yes, shameless plug!), the sturdy CORDURA® bottom pretty much ensures that, with proper care, your bag will look great for years.
- Do I want a bag that I can use for multiple occasions? If you want a bag that can go from your office to cocktail hour, consider getting different straps. Many bag styles easily go from workday to weekend, or picnic to soiree.
- What are my must-haves in a bag? For example, is an open top a nonstarter? What about outside pockets? I used to travel frequently for work. On those trips, I always chose a bag that had zippered outside pockets so I didn’t find myself preparing to board a flight and digging frantically through my bag’s main compartment for my boarding pass (or my phone, which contained my mobile boarding pass). For other excursions, such as a day at the beach, I love our resort tote because it doesn’t have outside pockets, so it’s much easier to dust off the sand at the end of the day! Plus, with two roomy inside zippered pockets (one of which is easily removable), now I always know where my “important stuff” is and it’s secure inside the bag.
- Will other people be accessing my bag? OK, that might sound odd, but stay with me for a moment here. While my children got the death stare when they went near my bag, my granddaughter Emma is a different story. At the age of four, she already knew exactly where Yiayia’s (Greek for Grandma) lipstick is. (It’s in the one of the inside zippered pockets, if you must know.)