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For Heavens Sake ...Buy the Bag!

Updated on February 21, 2016

In one of my rare spiritual moods, I contemplated the notion that the handbag represents 1/3 of the the 'Holy Trinity' of fashion: Clothes/Shoes/Bags.

And, if you're like me, you will readily admit that buying a new bag is a spiritually uplifting experiencing.

While clothes and shoes are obvious necessities (you can't go out naked or barefoot), you could actually live a long and healthy life without a handbag. (Shopping bag ladies seem to make it work.)

If handbags were just about carrying stuff, how can we explain those microscopic mini-bags, with interiors so small you have to choose between taking your compact OR your phone?

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Regardless of size or silhouette, the handbag is an important part of the trinity. It's the piece de resistance in your overall "look." Handbags have that je ne sais quoi quality that makes us feel prettier, cooler, younger, smarter, and more fashion savvy.

So, how do you choose the bag that's right for your look and your lifestyle? (Remember: a good bag should complement both.)

While there aren't many studies on how many handbags the average woman owns, the few references I found put the number anywhere from 8 to 21. And, it seems, the average woman buys a new bag every 3 months.

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So, you're coming up to the 3-month mark since your last bag purchase. You've determined your budget. And THIS time you are going to buy the "perfect" bag. The one you know will be your 'bbf' (best bag forever).

Here are the questions you should be asking yourself before you buy the bag:

1. What is it for? Work/every-day/travel/formal wear?

2. Is it a seasonal bag that has to complement certain outfits?

3. How important is comfort and functionality to me?

4. What type of bag suits my body size and shape?

Most of us tend to buy bags on the basis of "Love at first sight," "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead," or "All the bloggers are talking about it!" and often overlook the features (or lack thereof) of a bag might relegate it to the back of our closets.

So, before you buy what the fashion mavens are touting as the "IT" bag of the day, here are some things to consider:

1. Know what you want to carry in your bag. Make sure it has the compartments you need. Too many or too few compartments can mean the difference between a bag you love to use and a bag that you will never use.

Note: Pockets that are simply there for decorative purposes, or an overdose of hardware, don't serve any purpose other than making a bag unnecessarily heavy.

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2. That brings us to the ideal weight of a bag. According to the various studies, your bag should ideally be under 2.2 pounds (one kilogram); a full bag should never be more than 10% of your body weight.

3. Make sure the straps are comfortable and that they don't slide off your shoulder(s). There's nothing more annoying than having to constantly adjust or hold on to your bag to keep it from slipping.

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4. Make sure the bag is well-made and offers a warranty. Check the stitching and the seams ... especially at the points that are connected to handles and straps. Test the zippers for smooth sliding, and the metal attachments for sturdiness.

5. Last but not least ... buy the bag if you love it. Even if it's not the perfect one for you ... 3 months isn't that far off.


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