Aaah… Handbags!

April 22, 2012 6:59 pm

I have, for many years, had an obsession with handbags. I know, a lot of people have hundreds of pairs of shoes and spend hundreds on Manolo Blahnik’s or Christian Louboutin’s but they are of no interest to me.  No, for me, it is all about the handbag. It’s not even about expensive handbags , I have handbags from Primark, Mango, Monoprix. It doesn’t matter to me about labels, no, it is about how the bag looks. So, I think it was a mistake for me to go onto the Mango website yesterday afternoon. I just went to “browse” but fell in love with the bags in the pictures below. Now, all I need is to either find a wealthy husband, win the lottery or each of you can buy me a bag?

So far I have a collection of 16 bags, which is quite controlled for me. But I plan to expand my collection. A girl can dream….



Handbag facts:


  • 22% – Percentage of women who would splurge on a handbag if they could choose only one designer item. Only 9% would choose shoes
  • 6 – Number of handbags the average woman owns
  • 3 lbs – Weight of the average woman’s handbag
  • 1 in 10 – Number of women willing to spend $150 or more on a handbag
  • $42 – Amount the average woman spent on her last handbag
  • 3 in 4 women have a “favorite” handbag


Handbags can be very practical. I have handbags for work, shopping, travel, dinner, clubbing and other occasions. A good handbag will last you a long time. I have had most of my bags for 4 or 5 years. The good thing about handbags is that you don’t need to make any decisions until its time to go out and you will never have a bad bag day. You can have a bad hair day, a fat day or even a sad day but you can never go wrong with the perfect bag and we can never have too many of them.  These days we’re prepared to spend more on a handbag than a holiday or even a car – and we want the rest of the world to know it. Clothes on the catwalk regularly take second place to this most coveted of accessories – a trend born out earlier this year when Kate Moss starred in Longchamp’s bag campaign, lying naked on a beach, except for her Longchamp handbag.

The message was clear: clothes are redundant – it’s all about the It-Bag.

But why do we find bags so desirable? It’s partly because they’ve become a unique outward statement of a woman’s status, fashion savvy and earning power – and the rising popularity of handbags over the past 100 years has followed the increasing social independence of their owners. Two hundred years ago, a woman’s role was largely domestic and she would keep her belongings in a purse tucked into the folds of her clothes. But as women started leaving the home, both for leisure and work, bags became a useful way of carrying their possessions. Rail and sea travel caused an explosion in the popularity of fashionable luggage such as suitcases, dressing cases, hat and shoe boxes – out of which the modern leather handbag developed. It’s no accident that many of today’s most luxurious handbag design houses, such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada and Hermes, originated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as travel became more common. Then, as women gained financial independence, so the handbag industry flourished out of all proportion to its humble origins.

Whilst  It-Bags may come and go, only a handful of handbags have the stellar qualities to become timeless. Iconic bags are not just strikingly designed, they also transcend the time in which they were created, like the legendary Chanel 2.55, which was unveiled in 1955 (its name comes from the month and year it was launched). Other bags I’d include in this elite field would be the Hermes Kelly, the Fendi Baguette and, more recently, Marc Jacobs’s Stam, the YSL Muse and the Mulberry Roxanne. What all of these share are clear, clean lines – nothing fussy or over-designed – and a combination of functionality and luxury, whether it’s the soft quilting of the 2.55, the handcrafted stitching of the Kelly or the finest leather of the Roxanne. An iconic bag owes its status not to canny marketing strategies, but to the finest traditions of pedigree, quality and craftsmanship to look as good decades later as it did the day it was first worn. And, for a true bag-lover, that is almost beyond price.

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