The HMSI guide to handbag shopping



Hello darlings…
I went handbag shopping recently and my experience was what inspired this post. The store I visited had an array of bags so lovely that I was spoilt for choice, not a good thing for someone who has indecisive tendencies. Two hours of decision making frustrations later and still as confused as ever, I ended up making the wrong decision. I almost wanted to declare a genuine hatred for shopping, but for my love for fashion. Looking back, I know now that there were some things I should have done and some I should have avoided to make my shopping experience less of a nightmare. I have put these tips together below to prevent any of you guys going through all that unattractive stuff. I definitely would be following this guide the next time I need to buy a handbag.

1. Know what you need
It is not enough to lust after handbags celebrities and fashion bloggers are rocking, it’s important that the bag you plan to buy is something you actually “need” and is one that fits your personality and lifestyle. This of course requires that you first assess your lifestyle. For example, do you have a car? How long do you walk on a daily basis? How much do you carry? How do you like to carry your bag? What colour(s) of handbag will suit your purpose and lifestyle? What’s the reason you are buying a handbag? Is it for a specific event? For everyday use? For variety? Deciding what you need helps to narrow down your search and offers guidance to the smart shopper. For example, a classic shoulder bag, not an artsy vintage cross body bag is perfect for a working lady who carries a lot of stuff and doesn’t have a car.


2. Decide what you want
Now that you know what you need, maybe do some online searches to have an idea of handbag designs that fall into that category? Pinterest is a nice place to get sucth inspiration. Such research would help you make decisions such as, whether you want a structured bag, a duffel bag, a Chanel inspired bag, etc. When you get an idea, then you won’t be too confused while you’re shopping. Remember though, to leave room for flexibility because you may not get something you want, but you may get something absolutely better.

3. Decide where to get it 
Most times the reason why we feel stressed when we shop is because we don’t really know where we are going. We just walk around the mall or market or browse around countless online stores hoping that we run into a store or two that sells what we want. So at the end of the day, when you finally find the store, you’re exhausted, either physically or emotionally. And if there’s one rule about shopping, it’s “never shop tired”. You are more likely to make the wrong choice because you just want to get the activity over with and go home to your bed. So before you go on the handbag hunt, do a little research, ask people you know, check online for places where you can get good handbags. Know exactly where you are going so you can narrow your walk-around to just a handful of shops. Less stress, clearer state of mind.

3. Work with, not against your budget
A fair idea of going rates and how much you are willing to part with will save you more time and emotional stress that you can imagine while shopping. Unless you got a lotta money that you don’t mind blowing. If for example you have a #10,000 budget, you wouldn’t torture yourself emotionally by spending time walking down the 30k-bag isle, imagining what could have been. You know to focus on the bags you CAN afford and get the best your money CAN buy. I will do a post soon on how to spot a good quality handbag. Guess what? The price sometimes isn’t an indicator of quality.

5. Go with a friend
Don’t trust yourself to buy something you won’t regret later? Go with a friend. The downside of this is that you may still end up buying something you dont like. I.e. you may buy a bag that is more your friend’s style than your style and you won’t realise until you get home. Maybe a few days would even have passed. This tip is fuelled by a personal experience. I once took my very conservative friend who has a girly kinda personal style out to help me with clothes shopping. I ended up buying girly clothes. So if you’re going to take a friend along with you, make sure it’s someone who understands you and your style and is also super stylish.

6. Take your time
Buying anything in a hurry is almost always a bad idea. Postpone the trip till you have enough time.

7. Go with a positive mindset 
It’s just handbags guys, it’s not that serious. LOL. So calm down and stay positive. A wise woman (yes, this was deliberate) once said you can’t live a positive life with a negative mind, well same goes for handbags. I know it’s sometimes not easy to get rid of the anxiety that comes with wanting so badly to make the right choice of purchase, especially for someone on a tight budget. Perhaps visualising yourself smiling with satisfaction after making a brilliant purchase will help? I do it sometimes and it does work.

PS: There is no “one” bag that can do everything. That was one of the main reasons for my frustration. I wanted a bag that I could carry every day and would work for office, casual outings, events, big enough to carry all my stuff and cute enough for “OMG, I love your bag” compliments. Blame my tight budget for such high demands on a poor handbag.
Guess what I ended up buying? A monstrously huge, strong looking black bag which I only slightly like. It doesn’t help that I have only gotten one compliment since. It’s been two whole months 😐. Guess I’m stuck with it for a while until the gods of awoof cash smile on me again Once the gods smile, the bag is going to be demoted to being used for travel only. Did I mention that it is monstrously huge? *crying*

I hope you found these tips as useful as I find them? Any tips I missed? Please share in the comments section below so we could all learn from you. 
Thanks for stopping by. 😘😘😘

All images from Pinterest unless otherwise stated.

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