Fashion Advice: Purchasing a Designer Bag


QI recently found a handbag online that I absolutely love. At $645, it is more than I have ever spent for a hangbag. However, it is a gorgeous floral embossed bag in brown (comes in black as well). The bag is advertised as a spring bag so I am wondering if I could only wear it in the spring or would it be ok for the winter as well. I love this bag and while I do not have a lot of money, I could afford it by the end of the summer. If I could use it in the winter as well, than it would be even more worth it to me.

A1.  There is a few basic rules to follow when switching from summer to fall—no white accessories after labor day, pack up the pastels until spring, sandals only with tights—but basically you can and should create your own look regardless of season. Plus, those of us on a budget don’t have the option of spending $700 every season for a new bag. So, I say go ahead and buy the darker brown bag and wear it in the winter, although a black bag will resist stains and wear and tear a bit better.

2. Think about how many times you’ll realistically carry the bag. Will you carry it everyday for the next year? Once or twice a month? etc. Divide those times into the cost of the bag and determine the cost per wear. Always shoot for less than $2 per cost per wear for expensive items like a designer handbag (you’ll have to carry the bag around 320 times over the lifetime of the bag in order to reach this goal).

Happy Shopping,


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  1. says

    I think that bag would be gorgeous any time of year, though waiting for a sale would be a smart thing.  I understand your desire for it though—stunning!  If it were daintier, maybe then only spring/summer, but the toughness gives it a winter vibe as well—and the orchid/lilies on it are winter hothouse flowers, too, if we want to get down to brass tacks.

    I disagree about the color, though.  IMO, when brown leather wears, it looks aged, vintage, cool, earthy.  When black leather wears, it just looks old.  I’d stick with the brown.  Big black bags in the summer are not my choice to carry—too hot!  (Of course, as I write this, it’s 93 degrees in Paris and we have no A/C in this whole stinking town.  Argh.)

  2. la ranta says

    TBF is, of course, correct that as long as it’s not white or pastel, you can use that bag any winter or fall season until Judgment Day.  And that lovely shade of cognac brown is a staple color for fall (not specifically this season, but autumn in general).  Don’t let designer marketing ever box you into using something for only three months out of every year.  That’s how they make their money, and that’s just crap.

    Now, TBF, I must respectfully take issue with your suggestion that one can wear sandals with tights after Labor Day.  That’s the stuff of which Fugly is made.  It screams “Grandma in Boca Raton.”  Whether or not Carrie Donovan says it’s correct (and I think that, in fact, were she with us, she’d lose her three-martini lunch if she saw someone in that combo), I say don’t ever do it.  If it’s past labor day and still hotter than Hades, better to wear sandals with bare feet than the aforementioned alternative.

  3. Alma says

    I definently think that designer bags are well worth the price. Cheap bags usually end up looking ugly and tacky in a few months which in the long run could make you lose money because your constantly paying for a new bag. (And wasting time looking at which handbag you will buy next). And I have to agree with ranta about the sandals with tights. Eww. Other than that, you are pretty awesome TBF.

  4. TBF says

    Actually wearing tights (not nylons- never, ever nylons) with heeled sandales is nothing new and pretty common practice amongst NYC Fashionistas (and in other cities like Toronto as well). My friend Kate, who is an editor at Women’s Wear Daily, regularly rocks bright colored tights with open toed (and some times strappy) heeled sandals. It’s common look amongst the downtown NYC crowd. The look was really big last fall when the whole flashdance look was in (colored tights+sandals+leg warmers)

    I do think it is a bit of a challenge for those outside of a New York or LA to work this look and nor do I suggest everyone go out and try to rock this look. But for those who can, should feel sake doing so

  5. says

    I’m a very lucky girl because I actually won a cream Kooba Sienna bag from Bag Trends, otherwise there is no way I’d spend that much but now after having this lovely bag if anything happened to it, I just might fork over the dough for another. Hopefully it won’t come to that.

  6. says

    i think that if u love something enough, like you loving this bag, then go ahead and buy it. live out your life, splurge on something u adore. trust me, its so fun

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