For this week's "Treasured," I thought I'd focus on one of my favorite bags: my carpet saddle crossbody bag. At my retail job, my specialty is handbags and accessories, so in the last month or so I've become pretty well-versed in what to look for in a new purse.
At my new job, I sell a lot of bags, and I see some get returned over the course of a week. Sometimes the bags fall apart because of abuse (i.e., stuffing them to the point of overload), and sometimes things just fall apart, period: hardware, stitching and straps. And after a month or so, I'm getting sick of seeing the same plastic-y, cheap imitation leather bags get returned (to the point of hating even touching the bags). It has made me think that when I plan on buying a new purse in the future, it should have quality stitching, leather (or a damn good imitation --- nothing too shiny-looking), size and durable straps.
Working in retail has also made me averse to buying brand new pieces. After seeing 10 identical hangbags on a shelf, it's too much of a brand overload if everyone is buying the same version (something that's really apparent during sale weekends at the mall). I might be too much of a nonconformist, but if something is too much of an "It" thing, chances are, I will steer clear of it. It's made me appreciate vintage and thrifted pieces more because a) it's often a pretty unique piece; b) it offers exposure to little-known brands or makers c) if it's lasted for years or decades then you can often expect some quality worksmanship from it.
I didn't think about any of these traits when I bought this bag (brand unknown) in high school during some thrift shopping. The lady I bought it from placed its origins around the mid-1970s. I just wanted a cross-body bag and this one fit the bill; it was just extra icing that it came with interesting detailing and leather. Now that I'm older and can see it with my retail-savvy goggles, I appreciate it much more: I've never had any problems with the straps, the size is large enough for all of my essentials and its detailing makes it an outfit game changer. I put it on and I don't have worry about accessorizing too much because of the design.
This bag also puts me in a certain mood whenever I use it. Because of its woodsy nature, it makes me want to wear sundresses, eat brie on a picnic blanket, ride a bicycle in the forest and live off the land. Basically, this bag makes me wish my life was an Anthro catalog.
I've only recently started to include my bags in outfit photos, so here are a couple of ways I've styled it:
How would you style this purse? And do you have any favorite items that instantly define the mood of your outfits? I'd also be interested to know what you look for in a handbag before you buy.