Nikki’s Inbox: Bags to Basics (Part 1)

Lately, I seem to be drawn towards shoes and purses more so than I have ever been in the past (I didn’t think this could be possible). In order to fight my urge to impulsively purchase whatever catches my eye, I was wondering if you could point out some specific styles of shoes and purses that every girl needs in her wardrobe. I would love to see a range of casual basics for daily life as well as the fancy statement pieces for special occasions. With so many trends I can barely decide!

Linda, 24/Arizona

Darling, when it comes to shoes and bags, nothing is impossible! And as they say, why fight fate? If that pair of lovely leather pumps calls out your name (they can spell, trust me), say “I do”!

Kidding aside, I’m glad you asked me such a smart question. While I believe that a woman can’t have too many shoes, sometimes you can have too many shoes (no, my name is not Imelda). Having an arsenal of tried-and-true classic pieces that go beyond fads is a godsend. Not only are you assured that they defy time and trend, but they will also always look good on you.

Because I feel this is such an important topic, I’m making this a two-part special: Shoes deserve their own post, don’t you think, dears?

First, let’s start with bags every woman should have in her closet!

My Fair Bag Lady
A well made, quality bag can last you years provided you take care of it. Leather bags certainly have an edge over others made of fabrics or faux leather. When choosing bags, keep your everyday essentials in mind. I’m a fan of big bags myself because I like to carry my house with me. Of course, you also have to match your bag to the occasion – carrying a clutch to work probably won’t help you get anything done.

A structured bag. This can be your all-around, everyday bag. Having ‘structure’ means having a shape – square, rectangular, trapezoidal, rhomboid, if you must. Leather is your best bet for structured bags since its patina and color will add more glamour as it ages. Examples of structured bags are hobos, shoulder bags and even briefcases.

An oversized bag. While I confess to loving huge bags, I don’t always recommend them because stuffing your bag with too many items isn’t good for the back, Linda. For a time, big bags were all the rage among celebrities but then again, they usually have tons of assistants to carry it for them. If you’re buying an oversized bag, make sure it’s well made, can withstand carrying a lot of weight, and most of all, that you can carry it yourself without a struggle. A big bag can also function as an overnight bag and even comes in handy for plane rides as a carry-on. If you’re petite though, I advise you to avoid oversized bags as they can literally make you even smaller.

A tote bag. Totes are probably the most common and most comfortable to carry. They can be made of any material and have a classic, two-handle design that makes it easy to sling them over the shoulder, carried by the arm or clutched in your hands. They are also versatile enough for everyday wear and can play up or play down a simple outfit.

A clutch or a wristlet. When you want to go ultra-glam, carry a clutch. Clutches often have a detachable strap that can turn into a wristlet so you have a hands-free option. Clutch designs can vary from the usual rectangular shape in various sizes to very intricate versions that use beading, jewelry and other embellishments. The very fancy ones, often called minaudières, usually have several compartments that allow you to fit in small items. Now this is a statement piece.

Don’t forget, Linda, that you also have to factor in your budget as well as personal taste when it comes to choosing your bags. Some people prefer neutral, classic colors like black, charcoal, tan, camel or ivory in matte tones while others favor prints or patterns. Whatever your preference, make sure you’re happy with your investment and that you get a lot of mileage out of it.

Watch out for part two about shoes next week!

Ciao, lovelies!


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