Not everyone is desperate to buy the latest celebrity handbag, and there are even those of us who don't need a designer label on our handbags. Fashion handbags are fun, affordable and you can always find one to complement your unique personality. However, it is easy to fall into the trap of buying quantity versus quality when you go the fashion handbag route, and you can end up with a wardrobe full of bags you hardly ever use. Here are 5 things to consider when buying a fashion handbag:
Quality is still important when buying fashion handbags. Buying a cheap bag that breaks or rips soon after you've acquired it is not a saving. Check that straps are firmly attached, zips open and close easily and the bag is properly lined. A bag without a lining is likely to end up with holes in the seams making it easy to lose small items.
Although part of the fun of fashion handbags is that you can afford new bags as the fashions change, it's not worth buying bags that are so ‘of the moment’ that you know it won't last more than a season. You do still need one or two bags in classic styles that will see you through several seasons and hopefully several years. Disposable fashion is commonplace these days, but it's not good for the environment and it clutters up your wardrobe with things you don't use.
One of the things I love most about fashion handbags is that there is such a huge selection to choose from, so you can usually find one that is unique to you. Who wants to walk around looking like a clone? Choose a bag that represents your personality and individuality in fabric, style and embellishment. Whether you're creative and expressive, practical and sensible or smart and minimalistic, the bags that are your favourites will always be the ones that feel like ‘you’.
Before buying a bag it is worth considering exactly what you will use it for. It is no use buying a beautiful evening bag that is so big you cannot be bothered to take it out with you, or a smart little day bag that you never use because you can only fit your keys into it. If you need a big practical bag to hold all your toddler and baby bits, try to opt for a bag in a practical hard-wearing fabric too, like leather or denim. Something delicate and beaded is not going to last long when it is being thrown around the park or dumped on the pool changing room floor!
One of the issues with fashion handbags is how they are produced. Many are churned out in sweatshop style conditions. It is possible to buy affordable fashion handbags without compromising on fair trade conditions. These days it is not hard to find out whether an item has been ethically sourced or not, and there are plenty of shops and boutiques that have committed themselves to selling only products that have not exploited people. The bonus is that fair trade fashion handbags are usually better quality and more exciting in design than those that are mass produced.
Louise Longworth is the founder of Jacaranda Blue an online shop specialising in fairly traded gifts such as handmade jewellery, handbags, organic bath products, unique homeware and more.
You can view the range of ethically sourced gifts at http://www.jacarandablue.co.uk
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