Today’s guest blogger is Alexandra Suhner Isenberg, the editor of Searching for Style, an insightful look into the world of fashion. Alexandra knows her stuff – after studying fashion in Paris (aren’t you jealous?), Alexandra worked at Sonia Rykiel and Burberry as a designer. She then went on to run her own lingerie company and to earn her MA at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. Today she’s here to give us her expertise on building the perfect collection of handbags.
I have always been a one-bag girl, splurging on one luxury bag and then using it everyday for two years. At the moment I am in a transition phase: my Dior Rebel bag is falling apart, and since I haven’t been inspired by anything else, I am in bag limbo, using an old Bree leather bag my Mom gave me. One bag almost everyday for two years works fine when you are just going back and forth to work, but I certainly don’t depend on that one handbag for everything. That’s where the handbag wardrobe comes in… so when I have a party, a dinner, a concert, or a weekend away, I have a selection of appropriate bags to choose from.
Building the right collection of handbags is very important. We all have a favourite style or shape, but it doesn’t mean you want a closet full of them. There is a time and place for everything, and so here is a list of the essential bags one needs in order to have the perfect handbag wardrobe. The Everyday Bag: This one is up to you. I prefer a satchel or hobo style – it HAS to go over my shoulder and have pockets for things like phones, keys, USB sticks, etc. It has to be durable and versatile, so I usually go for brown or black. Some people like to carry just their wallet and essentials, other like to carry around their kitchen sink. Choosing the right everyday bag is very personal, and should depend on your needs. This one is also a bag that’s is worth splurging on, especially if you use it everyday: you want great quality, and you’ll get your money’s worth, even if it is expensive. For the everyday bag, I like the Fulton Satchel, with its big outside pocket, or the Madison Messenger Tote.
The Classic Evening Bag: A staple in every woman’s closet. I like to have something a bit dressy and shiny, and I usually go for black, so it can go with most cocktail dresses and won’t clash with shoes. I’d go for the Katie Patent Clutch, or something similar with a chain strap.
Job Interview Bag: If you are like me, and you end up trashing your everyday bag, it is good to have a backup for important meetings and interviews. Buy something timeless, so it doesn’t go out of style too quickly. The Clayton Patent Bag is a good one; it looks good, without being over the top.
Laptop Bag: I don’t like laptop bags, so it is always a struggle to find a bag that fits my laptop but doesn’t scream “I am carrying a laptop!” I like to find an everyday bag that can squeeze in my laptop if necessary, but when I am carrying paperwork too, a great tote or shopper bag, like the Heather Patent Stud Tote, will work perfectly.
The Fun Evening Clutch: I never used to be a fan of clutch bags, until I moved back to Vancouver. When you are living in London, you are always worried someone is going to steal your bag, so a clutch doesn’t make sense. But now that I have a car again, and I am living in Vancouver, I have started using clutch bags. The Eliza Wristlet Clutch is a perfect fun clutch. I can dress it up and wear it in the evening, or pair it with jeans and take it out during the day. It is big too…there is nothing worse than a clutch that can’t even fit a smartphone (most of my vintage ones are like that. They were made before the smartphone was!), so I can fit all my essentials into it.
By the way, make sure you check out my review of the Eliza Wristlet Clutch and then enter my giveaway to win your own!
Check Searching for Style for updates on the contest.
The Oversized Bag: Everyone needs a very big bag with a zipper when you are traveling heavy. This bag can go to work and then the gym, on an overnight trip, or as a carry on bag. Make sure it has a zipper and fits over the shoulder for ease of carrying. Check out the Tessa Oversized Tote.
Messenger Bag: When I am going to a concert or when I am know I am going to be walking a lot, I like to have a messenger bag. The Charlotte Sling Bag is a small one that fits whatever you need for a music festival or a day out.
Weekend Bag: I like the Zebra Print Duffle Bag, because it is fun, has a zipper, and can fit whatever is necessary for a weekend away. I have a similar version in plain black, too, depending on how I am traveling. Zebra print is fine for a personal trip, but if I am traveling for business overnight, I prefer something a bit more discreet.
The rest… A collection of eight bags is never going to satisfy me, so here are a few more you may want to consider adding to your handbag wardrobe. A rock chic bag: When you are feeling a bit rock’n’roll, check out the Hudson Oversized Clutch. A Summer Everyday Bag: I like to change my everyday bag for the two or three months of high summer. My everyday bag is always black or brown, so I like something colourful and a bit more fun for the summer months. I like the Ava Chain Handbag. A Basket: Great for farmer’s markets or picking flowers. A Fringed Bag: For when you are feeling a bit hippy…. Something a Bit Novelty: Maybe you only bring it out once or twice a year, but a girls has got to have a few fun pieces in her wardrobe. Try the Greta Kisslock Satchel, the Brianna Soft Flower Clutch, or the Cheetah Print Tassle Bag.