be handbag savvy with our 5 invaluable tips

I adore bags and am fiercely proud of all the gorgeous leather bags in my wardrobe. Each has a story-some are second tier designer bags bought in the sale at El Cortes Ingles, others saved for or bought as gifts. Quite a few are packed carefully and safely away until they become retro and cool once again. I’ve owned an exquisite leather Lladro bag for over 20 years and which hadn’t seen the light of day for about seven years, but the shape is “in” again so it’s unwrapped and back in use.

Glancing through a selection of glossy fashion magazines at the hairdressers this morning, the Spring fashions for either minuscule or gigantic arm candy feature heavily, and in some of the shots the model carries both to show the extremes in the handbag size spectrum. It’s a little predictable as, how many of us can really fit all our daily necessities into the pouch size bags key designers promoted last season? But I personally don’t wish to weigh myself down with a bag the size of a beach bag either. So here’s my 5 tips for being handbag savvy without continually adding to your collection.

  1. If you own a top designer bag but it’s damaged or discoloured don’t abandon it or hide it in the back of your wardrobe. Now is the ideal time to send it to the Handbag Doctor at The Handbag Clinic for restoration or even a colour change. There are now 4 stores in Islington, Chelsea, Leeds and Newcastle where they clean, repair, provide protection treatments, colour changes and even replace zips and missing stitches.
  2. When spending over £100 on a new leather bag choose a shape that’s a classic so that your beautiful new bag never looks outdated. If you’re not sure what a classic shape is, do your homework. Read about handbag icons-the Hermes Kelly Bag, the Hermes Birkin Bag, the Gucci Jackie, the Chanel 2.55 quilted flap bag, the Louis Vuitton Speedy Bag, the Fendi Baguette and the Bugatti bag, a shape used by most top drawer designers. Why not download some photographs and take them shopping with you.
  3. If your desire is a stunning leather keep forever bag but you don’t have thousands of pounds for a Dior or Hermes, manufacturers such as Carbotti are experts in the leather handbag field, use fine leathers and linings with many of their models inspired by the classics. Tesoros can help you discover a bag you’ll treasure as can large city stores. However, if you need a bag for a one off event and have just a few pounds to spend, High Street stores such as next and Zara will have a gorgeous selection for around £30. They may not be keepers in terms of longevity but they will fill a need and you’ll enjoy them for a few years at least. We would advise you to never buy fakes or dreadful “copies” at markets abroad. You’ll be disappointed.
  4. Whilst a very high percentage of handbags bought each year are black, consider other colours too. Red, orange or pink will uplift your spirits on a dreary Winter’s day and look stylish with black, navy and grey coats and suits. Tan is an “all year round” colour and beige perfect for the Summer with pink and yellow bags adding youthfulness to any outfit.
  5. If you are desperate to carry a Chanel, Gucci or even Victoria Beckham, rental companies are becoming ever more popular. Most of us first became aware that handbag rentals are a thing when watching the first “Sex and The City” movie but we now have them in the UK. For around £150 a week you can carry a true Chanel quilted back with others ranging from £25-£229 a week. See sights such as Bagsy. But remember that for very little more you can actually buy an Italian leather bag from Tesoros to keep.


Our photograph features the Chanel 2.55 classic flap bag. It costs £4450.


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