I’m all about that high-low living. I love mixing expensive items (gorgeous Tahari blazer) with cheap ones (H&M shift dress). While a lot of this is because I cannot afford the high items – and really only splurge on them when they’re on mega clearance – it’s also because taking a fashion risk in a $25 dress is a lot more acceptable than taking it in a $2,500 dress. There are certain items that spending the extra $$ on just makes sense (good structured purse, shoes, blazers), but there’s one in there that I just cannot allow myself to spend money on. I will always spend hundreds of shoes, think $180 for a great shaped blazer is a steal, but I cannot come to terms with spending $200+ for a purse. Of course, I’d love to own a Birkin one day (only in my dreams), but I know I’ll live if I don’t. What’s higher on my list is a pair of Tod’s driving moccasins. Because everyone should own a buttery soft pair of driving moccasins. You’ll look chic, comfortable, and oh-so-stylish when you step out of your vehicle. But, I digress.
While I peruse the spendier bags on sale, whenever I really need a new purse, I end up at Marshall’s or Winners. This time around, I ended up buying a new purse with some new shoes (natch) and it only cost me around $20. The bag, pictured above, is from JustFab, a company that I have a love/hate relationship with. Pro: you can get great shoes for a cheap price. Con: they’re not the best quality or fit at times. Pro: The shoes and bags tend to last at least 2 seasons. Pro: The clothes are adorable and affordable. Con: Their sizes are all over the place and fitting into your usual (or even a size up) in some instances will be a guessing game. Anyways, I hadn’t ordered a purse from JustFab in so long and I felt a little iffy about it. They usually look pretty damn cute, and my last one held up against my rough-and-tumble ways of taking care of my bags. So, I ordered the adorable pink cross-body/in-the crook-of-the-arm hybrid and waited for spring to come. The bag arrived before spring did and met my expectations of style and sat in my closet until spring caught up with the rest of the world. I figured a cheap bag would get me through the first bit of the season and I’d splurge on the next great find at Marshall’s.
But, the unthinkable happened: my friend compared her Michael Kors bag next to my cheap purse. They looked near identical in quality. Sure, the MK was definitely softer and more sleek, but my cheap bag held up against the MK cross-body. Looking closely, you’ll notice what makes the more expensive purse, well, expensive. High-quality bags are sewn by hand and use the finest leathers, and you can definitely tell the difference between a buttery soft Dooney & Burke and a Wal-Mart special. When it comes to expensive bags, it’s the detailing that really gets you and pulls you in.
Think you’ll never be able to afford a $300 bag? Choose your cheap ones wisely. Go with a colour that will always be flattering, both to the bag’s quality and to your outfits. Look for hardware that isn’t as cheaply made and won’t turn brassy in a week’s time. If the zipper is flimsy, walk away. Go with the most neutral of bags in terms of style. While it’s fun to have an out-there bag, it can usually be spotted as a cheap one from miles away (think embellishments not sewn properly or falling off at the end of the day). If all else fails: keep it clean.