My Story: Handbags

In all honesty, aside from Backpacks for school (it had to be either Jansport or Eastpack), I was never really all that much into bags, in general. The only bags that attracted me were Cross-Body Messenger Bags because I loved their casual vibe and found them effortlessly cool! I’m not quite sure when I got them, but somehow as a kid, managed to accumulate a handful of Small Cross-Body Bags; one being a Neon Yellow Canvas with Black Trim (the hardware was all black) possibly from Next and the other was a Black and White Canvas from the brand Kangol. They were both cute and casual but I just was never into carrying a bag around, regardless. Whenever I’d go out, I’d just stuff my pockets with my er, stuff (cash, some tissues, and a lipgloss usually Lancome Juicy Tube) and wear a hair-tie around my wrist (like a bracelet), or just hand all of my stuff to whomever I happened to be going out with at the time, so they’d end up carrying my stuff for me in their handbag, especially if the items were more than the ones that I just listed (wouldn’t all fit in my pockets). That’s how I ended up losing a lot – and I mean a lot – of my stuff, including my beloved MAC Vegas Volt Lipstick (mentioned here). I think I was around 17 when I started sporting a Denim Jeans Bag (almost similar to the one shown except mine was a shade or two lighter and had skinnier and much longer denim rope straps). I’m pretty sure I got it from a street vendor somewhere in Vienna because I distinctly remember bullying my older sister into buying it for me (since I’d spent all my pocket-money earlier that evening at the bookstore next to the hotel we were staying at) while there on a family summer vacation trip. I liked the Denim Jean Bag because it was simple yet unique (I’d never laid eyes on a denim bag prior) and a bit quirky. I’d pair it with a flow-y black top, a denim pencil skirt and denim platform slides (that all happened to match, shade-wise) which off-set my newly blonde hair! I really loved that thing and wore it up until one of the straps came undone.

A good long while after, I started carrying a Fendi Monogram Canvas Hobo Bag (hand-me-down from my older sister) because it was plain (even though it had the Monogram print), was in all-black (both the bag and its print), and more importantly, discreet (you had to squint to see the Monogram print). Normally, I find Monogram Print (any brand) to be obnoxious but since this was discreet as I said, I found it a lot more palatable. It looked exactly like the one shown in the photo above. It wasn’t spacious, by any means, but I could easily fit in a full-sized Escada Eau de Toilette, several Lancome Juicy Tubes, a travel-sized (mini) Body Butter from The Body Shop, a portable pop-up hairbrush with a mirror on the back from Claire’s, my wallet, my phone and even though it was pretty much useless because I was usually asked to sign or fill out any official forms in Black or Blue ink, I carried around a lone pen in Pink ink (I always felt the need to carry a Pink Pen with me for some reason, but that need didn’t extend to paper lawl). For years, it was the only handbag I owned and I wore it regularly (90% of my closet was black anyway – as per usual with most teens – meaning it literally matched everything else I owned) up until the zipper gave out.

For college, I purchased a gorgeous Grey-Blue Faux Seude Cross Body Messenger Bag (similar in color to the Faux Suede Messenger Bag shown on the left and also this particular H&M Grey-Blue Faux Suede Biker Jacket but mine zipped up from the top, didn’t have a handle, only a really long strap, and had two large pockets at front… basically mine was way cooler ^_~) and a cheerful Bright Yellow Patent Leather Tote Bag (similar in style to the Tote Bag shown on the right except mine was a lighter, brighter and a shinier Sunshine Yellow which incidentally was much cuter than the Mustard Yellow shown) both from the brand Accessorize. The design on both handbags was simple (I detest anything flashy or frou-frou) yet texture-wise and color-wise, they were lovely! More importantly, they were both ridiculously spacious, which was in part, the reason why I’d purchased them specifically, to carry my College Books. The Grey-Blue Cross Body Messenger Bag was particularly handy because not once did the weight of all those heavy books ever bother me, thanks to the wide strap that fit just as comfortably on one shoulder as it did across my body. The Yellow Tote Bag only had handles, which ended up hurting my shoulder or straining my hand (depending on how I chose to carry the Tote) because the weight wasn’t evenly distributed therefore making the pressure more localized and after a time a bit painful. Color-wise, the cheerful Yellow Tote was quite cute but the Grey-Blue Messenger Bag was pure gorgeousness! Since it was a Cross-Body Messenger Bag, it had a casual – if not sporty – vibe, which made it very wearable on the daily, especially when paired with Denim Jeans. I had fun pairing it with a Baby Blue Top, Blue Denim Jeans, my Baby Blue Nike Sneakers, the Faux Suede Grey-Blue Cross-Body Messenger Bag and on occasion, a Periwinkle Blue Baseball Cap, for that Monochromatic Look. The Patent Leather Yellow Tote was slightly dressier so I’d enjoy some Color-Blocking action by pairing it with Olive Green Cargo Capris, Zara TRF Burnt Orange Short-Sleeve Shirt, and Olive Green Wedges or for it to pop against a darker background, I’d pair it with my Black Loose Satin Capris, Zara TRF Black Short-Sleeve Shirt, and Black Heels (so silly because by the end of the day my feet were screaming in pain). Obviously, I paired both handbags with other stuff but generally the Yellow Tote was reserved for more put-together outfits (the ones that make me look like I made an effort) whereas the Messenger Bag went with more laid-back outfits (I didn’t have to make as much of an effort since the bag itself looked so effortlessly cool). Both bags were great but I was more partial towards the Faux Suede Grey-Blue Cross-Body Messenger Bag, if I’m being honest. I loved and wore them both, well past my college years, up until the Grey-Blue Faux Suede developed an unappealing green-ish tinge that couldn’t be washed out (which put me off Faux Suede, in general) and the Yellow Patent Leather started cracking and peeling off. I tried going without, for awhile, but it just didn’t feel right anymore. I’d grown used to lugging around a huge bag filled to the brim with my “necessities” because it was just so convenient. I carried around a Louis Vuitton Murakami Monogram Cerises Speedy Bag that my mom had purchased for me from Lebanon, for a minute (back when Cherry Print was a thing) but gave it away shortly after because it seemed too frou-frou and girly for my taste. I really loved its structure (Bowling Bag? Doctor Bag? Top Handle Bag?) but the Cherry Print annoyed me since I’d accidentally overdosed on it (Cherry Print errythang, up to the point where I started despising it). I also snagged a smart Givenchy Top Handle Black Bag (I wanna’ say corduroy?) and a pretty Miu Miu Suede Top Handle Bag in a muted berry color, kindly payed for by the ‘rents. From my mom’s collection, I stole borrowed a no-name brand Black Suede Clutch Bag (because it looked so cool) which incidentally got me interested in Clutches. I tried my hand at Clutches for awhile picking up a Bright Blue Patent Leather Clutch and an enormous Bright Yellow Patent Leather Envelope Clutch (I believe they both were Croc Embossed, similar to the ones shown) from New Look (before they relocated to the second floor at the Avenues)… or was it Forever 21? When Aramex made online shopping possible, I got several handbags online in all kinds of colors and styles. I picked up a Tommy Hilfiger Blue Paisley Foldable Tote Bag, a no-name brand teeny tiny Metallic Dark Grey Satin Cross-Body Bag with intricate Dark Grey Beading “handcrafted by artisans from North India”, another no-name brand Taupe Crochet Shoulder Bag, Avon White Faux Leather Double Strap Handbag, and LeSportsac The Lulu Bag Bag by Fafi (obviously had to get that). I also got other Hobo Bags in all kinds of colors – from a Hot Pink Faux Leather Hobo Bag (what was I thinking?) to a Mustard Yellow Faux Leather Hobo Bag (not bad, actually), to a Dark Bronze Patent Leather Bag, a Plaid Hobo Bag (because it reminded me of my favorite book series of all time, Outlander) and even a Red and White Striped Canvas Hobo Bag with Red Trim (quirky!) from Germany – but I just seemed to favor larger bags (preferably with wide, sturdy straps), so nothing really seemed to stick.

I’d become obsessed with the show 24 starring Jack Bauer who was played by Kiefer Sutherland. On that show, Jack Bauer carried around the coolest Cross-Body Messenger Bag that would come to be known as the “Jack Sack“. Since I was going through Cross-Body Messenger Bag withdrawal, I ordered the infamous “Jack Sack” (complete with the Andrew Christian Cross Pin… for some reason) in the color Dark Canvas (olive green) via Amazon. It was everything I’d hoped for and then some! It was durable (withstanding the weight of a laptop, full-sized body lotion, perfume, shower products and shower accessories), ridiculously spacious (I could fit in a large fluffy towel, a change of clothes, and a hair-dryer, in addition to everything else) and looked effortlessly cool! It even had a lot of pockets (in a range of different sizes) literally all over it. Whether I was just going to work, or hanging out with my friends, or going swimming at Radisson Blu Hotel, or to the Chalet for the weekend, or Dubai for a few days, or Germany for a month, the “Jack Sack” was extremely handy! I even reserved it for longer flights because it could fit a whole lot including my Makeup Bag (I apply my makeup immediately before heading towards the airport, toss the products in my Makeup Bag and stuff it in whichever Handbag I’m carrying at the moment because my Suitcase will already be all locked up – literally, with a lock and everything – with no room to spare), a magazine or two, a notebook, a paperback novel, and so much more, even an impromptu McDonald’s Meal (smuggled in my bag because my cousin was worried we’d get told off for bringing food onto the plane, especially after being the last ones to board said plane… because we were busy getting McDonalds lawl). My favorite pairing was with an Olive Green Military Cap and Aviators and of course the Jack Sack because they all just looked so cool together so I wore them often! I was so in love with the Jack Sack that I was even inspired to purchase another Handbag (see right photo) in a similar shade from Accessorize. However, that didn’t work out too well because the Faux Suede irritated me and I quickly passed it along to someone who would definitely get way more use out of it. From a novelty store in Germany, I did get a much smaller no-name brand Black Canvas Cross Body Messenger Bag with a single large Marijuana applique on the front because I thought it was hilarious! Years later, I got another no-name brand Black Canvas Studded Cross Body Messenger Bag mainly because of the studs which made it look cool!

Back in Kuwait, I purchased a ridiculously beautiful bright Green Pebbled Leather Bag from the brand Red Herring at Debenhams (only similar in texture and color to the one shown) because it matched a pair of Patent Leather Green Pumps from the brand Not Rated that I’d gotten from Amazon. I loved that Green Bag! Literally everyone would stop me in the street to ask me where I’d gotten it. Unfortunately, the Faux Leather started cracking and peeling and doing all those distasteful things that Faux Leather tends to do over time. The next two bags, I purchased (from “The Yard” across the street from Marina Mall) were a bright Sky Blue Patent Leather Bag with embellished bejeweled hardware (I was attracted to the Sky Blue shade, not the hideous hardware, don’t judge me) and a stunning Patent Leather Ombre Bag (similar to the one shown except mine was a Black to Purple gradient). I liked them well enough, except they seemed a bit extra for everyday use, whereas my vibe is more “laid-back”. Plus, I’d grown accustomed to having all that extra room in a handbag, so the next one I got was a Twiggy Canvas Tote from Marks & Spencer. It was actually more of an Eco Shopping Bag (made from organic cotton) but I wore it out and about, regardless (hey, it was simple, had lots of room and made me happy). Also, unlike my other handbags, since this was a Canvas Bag, it was super easy to maintain (I’d just flip it over to get all the sand out, after a day at the beach). Around that time, my younger brother got me a simple yet really cool Black Canvas Tote Bag that said “Paris” in White Print all over it, from his internship in – you guessed it – Paris. Later on, he got me a Just Cavalli Mini Cross Body Bag as a gift from his summer vacation abroad, which was ridiculously adorable! More recently (about 2 or so years ago) he got my older sister and I matching White Canvas Cross Body Bags with a cute print (Batik Print?) from his trip to Sri Lanka (where he was doing volunteer work to go build homes over there, like, manual labor and stuff for charity) except one had a Green Print and the other had a Blue Print, and since my older sister’s favorite color happens to be Blue, I took the Green.

At Sephora, I got the most gorgeous Cobalt Blue Patent Leather Bowling Bag (sorta’ similar to the one shown) as a gift with purchase. I’d purchased a few makeup-y bits and they gave me the bag as a free gift, but it didn’t look like your regular run-of-the-mill makeup bag. It was structured and really well made (the inside was buttery soft) and it was big enough to pass for a Bowling Bag (Doctor Bag? Top Handle Bag?). In fact, if it didn’t have Sephora printed on the tab inside the bag, I’d never have guessed that. The one caveat was it didn’t have any straps, just handles. Regardless, the Cobalt Blue shade was so breathtakingly beautiful (which more than made up for any of its shortcomings)! I was so enamored with the unique shade that I lugged the bag everywhere with me. I even took it with me to Thailand on my Honeymoon (but mostly reserved it for trips to and from the airport and also designated “Date Nights” with my ex, whereas the Kangol Black & White Canvas Cross-Body Bag was reserved for everyday use including our daily Boat Trips to go Island Hopping and such). The Cobalt Blue Patent Leather Bowling Bag really did look quite sophisticated, despite the fact that I got it for free from Sephora. I treated it as if it was a designer handbag (if not better) which is why to this day I’ve still got it. One of the wedding gifts I’d received was a Chopard Muted Lime Green Bag. It was hideous (sorry!) so I just kept it in its original packaging. I can’t bring myself to use it, even now. Another gift was an Orange Chloe Bag… or was it an Orange Celine Bag… I’m pretty sure it was something that started with a “C”. In any case, it was lovely but what with all the moving around and whatnot, I kind of misplaced it (this is why I can’t have nice things, lawl). I’m sure it’ll turn up eventually (fingers crossed). A few years later, I picked up a quirky little Plexiglass Cross-Body Clutch Bag at Mishref Fair Grounds (I’d mistakenly confused the dates and thought that the Perfume & Makeup Exhibition would be taking place there, only to find out it was actually the Jewelry Exhibition). The small Cross-Body Clutch Bag was transparent, structured, and shaped like a perfume bottle – which was precious enough in and of itself – but also read Chanel no 5. I just couldn’t resist the cuteness!

Much later, my friend and I picked up matching Ombre (White to Coral gradient) Over-Sized Patent Leather Tote Bags from H&M. I got it because it looked like it would be perfect for the beach! My suspicions were confirmed when I took it with me to Europe (about twice already) and it safely housed everyone’s mobile phones and other valuables (watches, wallets, sunglasses, etc…), as well as my darling Kindle Paperwhite, Sunscreen, B&BW Oahu Coconut Sunset Gel Lotion and B&BW Malibu Waves Sea Salt Spray. At first, I alternated between the H&M Ombre Tote Bag and the Marks & Spencer Twiggy Tote Bag, but the H&M Ombre Tote Bag has since replaced the Marks & Spencer Twiggy Tote as my Beach Bag of choice. About 3 years ago, I popped into Zara to purchase a specific Zara City Bag (structured like a Bowling Bag or Doctor Bag or Top Handle Bag but also came with straps and would’ve looked so cool for work!) but unfortunately couldn’t find it. I did however spot a lovely Pebbled Leather Trapeze Bag that was not only quite large, but also had both long adjustable straps as well as handles. I was so smitten with it that I bought it in two colors; Black Pebbled Leather and Tan Pebbled Leather. I still have the twin Zara Pebbled Leather Trapeze Bags to this day! They were surprisingly even more spacious than what I thought. I could easily fit in a large fluffy towel, change of clothes, hair dryer (I take my National Hot Air Brush errywhere! But not really. Only when I’m going swimming at one of the local hotels, swimming at a friend’s house, etc…), notebook, perfume, body lotion, makeup bag, and then some. I’ve gotten so much use out of those Pebbled Leather Trapeze Bags over the years. However, familiarity breeds contempt and I’ve grown sick of them. Also, they’re starting to show some signs of wear and tear (Faux Leather starting to crack and peel off and whatnot).

I was quite young when the Mini-Backpack trend was a thing, the first time around (I could only watch in envy as my older sister would strut around in her adorable little backpacks that I wasn’t allowed to even touch). However, I’ve always found anything remotely Japanese extremely appealing (it happens when you’re a huge fan of Anime) so I’ve secretly been hoping the trend would come back. I’m definitely not the type of person who wouldn’t wear something just because it’s not trending. I’m not that invested in trends, at all. However, when something starts trending, it becomes way more accessible (everyone starts selling them), and you get your pick from a wide variety (different styles, finishes, and colors, every brand adding their own twist), at a suitable price (you get your pick, from high-end to high-street) as opposed to when something is not trending and you can only find that one piece (let’s say mini-backpacks, for example) in a random store (local brand, for example) for an expensive price, regardless of the hideous color. When things start trending, you get a wider selection (more options) at varying prices. A couple years ago, Backpacks started trending again! Exactly two years ago (September 2015), I bought a Black Patent Leather Backpack from New Look (as shown on the model above) and have been obsessed with it ever since! A week later, I took it with me abroad to Europe for a short Eid vacation and picked up two more Backpacks for myself; one was a Multi-Color Aztec Print Canvas Backpack (What was I thinking?!?!) and the other was an Ivory Leather Backpack and a lot more Backpacks as gifts for my family and friends (Well, just the girls. The guys got Baseball Caps and Flipflops instead) all purchased from those ubiquitous novelty souvenir shops. Back in Kuwait (still 2015) my older sister got me an H&M Black Faux Suede Fringe Handbag and that was it… for a good looong while.

This year however, I couldn’t resist getting the Tiezzo Top Handle Bag (as shown in photo above) from Aldo because…. wait for it… it was shaped like a Boombox! Totally gonna’ perch it on my shoulder like an old-school Boombox and strut around the block (but not really). It was made out of Black Faux Leather and in addition to a long sturdy faux leather strap, had a really cool metallic top handle. Quirky and cute! Then, I bought a Black Leather-Look Buckle Saddle Bag (as shown in the photo on the left) from New Look because part of it was Snake Print Embossed, which I thought looked so cool! I’ve never owned a Saddle Bag before (for some reason) but that look is really starting to grow on me and I’d actually been eyeing up several Tan Saddle Bags (from other brands but the New Look Black Saddle Bag I got was ridiculously cool! Then I purchased the cutest little Black Leather Cross-Body Bag (so tiny!) from the brand Milano at Debenhams. It’s too small to be of any real use but it’s just so adorable! It had a padlock on it and everything! So stinkin’ cute! A few days ago, I purchased a Black Croc Embossed Faux Leather Cross Body Bag (as shown on the right) from Aldo called Papaya. Clearly, I have a Black Snake/Croc Embossed problem. Anyhow, to this day, I have yet to try out any of the newer ones because I’ve become inseparable from my New Look Black Patent Leather Backpack!

As you can tell by now, designer brands mean nothing to me. As long as I find a bag aesthetically appealing (for whatever reason) I will wear it, regardless of the brand. It could be purchased from a open-air street vendor, or a hand-me-down from a family member, or even a free gift with purchase (gwp) but I’d still treat it as if it were a designer luxury handbag. By that same token, it could be the most expensive handbag in the world for example the Hermes Himalaya Croc Birkin (as shown in photo above) but I’d still try getting rid of it by passing it on to someone else because I just know I wouldn’t take good care of it, let alone get any use out of it. I mean, someone (or several someones rather) obviously looked at that and thought “Beautiful! Definitely worth the price of a house… or ten.”, whereas regardless of how rare the color might be, I looked at it and thought “Yuck! Looks dirty to me”. Those diamonds especially, make me cringe (so girly and frou-frou) but then again, beauty is subjective.

There are certain things that can attract me to a handbag. Texture and fabric (material?) is one of them. I really seem to favor Leather; Pebbled Leather, Quilted Leather, and Embossed Leather (Snake Skin Embossed Leather and more recently Crocodile Embossed Leather, I mean that Men’s Saint Laurent Black Crocodile Embossed Leather Large Sac De Jour Carry All Bag – in photo above – is a beaut!). I especially adore anything in a smooth, glossy finish (Patent Leather). I’m also immediately drawn to anything uncommon such as Plexiglass, Crochet, Bamboo, Straw, Wood, etc… provided they come in an interesting color (for example Grey Straw Handbags) or have an interesting color scheme going on (for example Taupe Crochet Bag with a Red Stripe going through). I used to love Suede and Faux Suede but after owning a handful of both, I’ve realized just how problematic Suede and Faux Suede, Faux Fur, and even Silk can be when it comes to upkeep and maintenance. That’s also why I’ve pretty much been avoiding the more recent Velvet trend. So I guess you could say maintenance and upkeep play an important part in the selection process as well. If it seems like it would be a hassle to take care of, then I just won’t purchase it.

Another thing that can attract me to a handbag is color. My first choice will always be Black. However, I used to favor brighter colors such as Blue, Yellow, and Green (I didn’t realize just how many bags I’d owned in the aforementioned colors, up until this blog post LOL). In my eyes, that Bright Green Faux Leather Handbag that I’d gotten at Debenhams was the most beautiful handbag I’d ever owned. There was just something about that specific shade in that specific texture that I found so, so beautiful! It was so bright and vibrant and pleasing to the eye. If I could’ve named it, I totally would’ve called it “Jungle Green”. The Grey-Blue Faux Suede Cross-Body Messenger Bag from Accessorize was another beautiful bag due its color and texture. It reminded me of the sea on overcast days. I just found the color to be so lovely, mellow and calming. Yes, yes, I know it’s a cliche but I would’ve called it “Sea Mist”. As I said, the Cobalt Blue Sephora Handbag (gift with purchase) is an absolutely stunning color! I tend to gravitate toward Cobalt Blue in general, be it in makeup (eyeshadow, nail polish, etc…) or clothing (jacket, dress, etc…) or otherwise (shoes, handbag, etc..). As a matter of fact, I even associate that specific Cobalt Blue Sephora Handbag with Nars Outremer Eyeshadow (in the pan). I just can’t resist a good Cobalt Blue (especially when it’s practically glowing!). I would’ve called it “Volcano Blue” or “Fire Blue” or “Blazing Blue” or “Blue Blaze” or “Blue Smolder”. Good thing I’m not the one coming up with the names for these colors (lawl). That said, I’m also attracted to other colors but usually hold off on purchasing them because of their wearability factor or lack-thereof (not easy to match stuff to them). Aside from Black (which is a forever and always favorite) I seem to be warming up to Tan/Brown (for those rare instances when Black *gasp* just doesn’t cut it). I’ve always though Clear Handbags (transparent/semi-transparent) looked aesthetically appealing. Same goes for a slight touch of iridescence in color but again wearability factors into it. Generally, I favor Single-Color Handbags. However, depending on the color-scheme, if done correctly, Multi-Color Handbags can look nice, on occasion. Same goes for the Handbag Print, provided it’s not too crazy and all the colors go well together. Recently, I find myself more drawn to anything and everything Grey (see Givenchy Antigona Bag in photo above), so… dusky neutrals (grey-toned shades) have my heart now.

Regardless, aside from the Red Plaid Hobo Bag that I’d purchased online from Amazon and the Red and White Striped Hobo Bag that I’d purchased in Germany, I tend to avoid handbags with any print, as I find them too busy for my taste and prefer the handbag to have only have a single color (with a few exceptions if they come across as tasteful, for example the Ombre Handbags). However, all that goes straight out of the window, when it comes to quirky handbags because I just can’t resist those, which brings me to the next thing that influences my selection process, “quirk factor”. If it’s a Handbag shaped like anything other than a Handbag, I’m instantly drawn to it. If It’s made out of something less commonly found in stores such as the Denim Jeans Handbag or Wood or Bamboo or whatever else, then I’m equally interested. The quirkier, the better, regardless of how tasteful (or rather distasteful) the print might be. It could be shaped like a fruit (a slice of lemon, for example) or have adorable cat ears on top or even LED lights all over the strap. I just adore anything that’s uncommon, quirky and whimsical as evident by the Louis Vuitton Zippy Wallet Illustre (that I’d purchased and reviewed here), Chanel No 5 Plexiglass Cross-Body Clutch Bag (which is shaped like the iconic perfume bottle), and Aldo Tiezzo Top Handle Bag (shaped like a Boombox).

That said, I despise frou-frou handbags (as shown above, Guccie Marmont) because I find them ugly! Again, some might look at that and think “Beautiful! Elegant! Feminine!” but for myself, I find that between the stuffy embroidered chevron velvet, flashy double G, the antique gold hardware, and the crystal embroidered dragonfly and floral appliques, it’s just got way too much going on (too busy for my taste)! That said, this isn’t nearly as bad as some of the other offerings from Gucci (Good God, the one with the Jaquard Print is absolutely hideous!). That’s also why I tend to avoid bags with diamonds or diamente or crystals or rhinestones or pearls or any form of “bling”… or as I affectionately call it, frou-frou. I can’t stand bags that have any form of flowers on them, be it floral applique or a floral print. I dislike Cheetah Print, Tiger Print, Zebra Print, Giraffe Print, etc…, but I especially hate it when a bag has an unholy mash-up of some form of animal print on one area and floral print on the other, or when the bag has zebra print on one half and a clashing color on the other half, like red for example. Generally, anything in a foiled metallic finish, I find to be gaudy. I even dislike gold hardware (zippers, buttons, etc…) with the exception of black and gold which I find is a more palatable combo. I just don’t like handbags that are flashy or gaudy, extra-girly or frou-frou, or that are busy and have way too much going on. Instead, I’d opt for simpler bags that some might even refer to as “plain”.

Not too plain like Tote Bags though. I’ve fallen out of love with Tote Bags because, in all honesty, they remind me too much of the Canvas Shopping Bags (Nylon?) that they hand out at Bath & Body Works which is what I’ve started to subconsciously associate them with. You know, the ones that they hand out at the entrance to Bath & Body Works for you to carry your potential purchases in, before making your way to the cash register and handing it back. They have those in a lot of other stores like H&M and such but I’m just using B&BW as an example. It’s a more recent thing but now I just find Tote Bags in general, to be… quite frankly, lazy. That doesn’t mean I’ve sworn of all Tote Bags forever. I mean they are, after all, quite practical (you can easily fit in quite a lot, including your entire past lawl). That just means I’ll be reserving them strictly for the beach, chalet, gym (LOL as if I even go to the gym) and such.

Despite the fact that I’m only 5’1 (hey, my height is normal for the average Kuwaiti adult female) I prefer long straps on my handbags. The longer, the better. That way, whether it’s a large Messenger Bag or a tiny Clutch Bag, I can either let it hang from one shoulder or wear it as a Cross-Body Bag. Honestly, it can be any kind of bag from a Saddle Bag to a Satchel Bag, as long as its got long straps. I’ll always prefer wider straps (the kind that look like they belong on a guitar) but I’m learning to appreciate chain straps (they’re slowly but surely growing on me) as well. That said, even if the bag has only got handles (no straps), if the handles match the bag (not something hideous like mismatched animal print) or the handles are made out of something quirky (think bamboo) I’d totally be down for that too. Basically, it’s a mish-mash of aesthetic (I just really like the look of long straps) and practicality (the pressure of the weight of the bag is slightly more spread out with a wider strap as opposed to being more centralized and therefore more painful with a skinnier strap).

Which brings me to the final factor, structure. As I said, I will always love Messenger Bags (regardless of whether they are trending or not). However, as of late, I seem to be veering away from them and Over-Sized Bags in general. Instead, I’m quickly developing an interest in more structured bags, as evident by latest handbag purchases. Saddle Bag, Satchel Bag, Box Bag, etc… they all have form and shape to them and I quite like that. Even with a Bowling Bag, Doctor Bag, Top-Handle Bag, etc… Despite the fact that I’m well aware how annoying not having a shoulder strap – be it a chain strap or otherwise – can be, I find myself more and more drawn to Top Handle Bags (like the Hermes Black Porosus Crocodile Birkin shown in the above photo). It seems like the perfect Boss B*tch Bag! It seems like a pretty cool yet also quite practical handbag for work! Handbags like that can also double for more formal occasions (of which there are many) over here in Kuwait. I mean, I can’t exactly strut into Royale Hayat Hospital for a Baby Shower (or whatever the translation for “istiqbaal” is) sporting my trusty Jack Sack and be all “Oh hai guys!”. My inner nerd would actually love to strut around Kuwait sporting a Black Croc Embossed Leather Briefcase, for all occasions, but sadly that’s just not socially acceptable either. The next best thing is smaller version of those two; a small structured Cross-Body Bags in lieu of a large slouchy Cross-Body Messenger Bag and a small structured Top Handle Bags in lieu of a Briefcase. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older but I actually feel that smaller, Structured Bags just seem so elegant. Truth be told, I only used to favor bigger handbags because I myself am a bigger girl (read: fat). I felt that carrying around a small itty-bitty handbag while being a plus-sized woman just looked… odd. Also, I believed the sharp contrast (small bag, big girl) would only serve to emphasize my fatness. I still believe all that but I kinda’ don’t care as much. Not that I cared a lot in the first place but if I know for a fact that something is going to be unflattering on me, I’m not going to actively seek it out, y’know? For example, White Leggings. Very few woman can successfully pull them off (genuinely look good in them) whereas the majority look like Hobbits (myself included). So, just to prove that I’m confident in my own skin or don’t have self-esteem issues, do I go out and purchase a pair of ridiculously unflattering White Leggings or do I avoid White Leggings? Know what I’m sayin?

Like I said, I’m not really a handbag kinda’ girl. I don’t lust after Hermes Birkins or gush over Chanel Boy Bags and the only reason I’ve used all these photos of designer handbags was as a point of reference (everyone is already familiar with them). In fact, I still stuff my phone in my back pocket (of my jeans) and opt out of carrying a handbag, whenever possible. However, the weight of my phone can cause my jeans to start sagging and walking around with bulging pockets (car keys) isn’t exactly a good look either. Plus, I like having my minis from Bath & Body Works (Body Lotion, Anti-Bacterial PocketBac, Lipbalm, etc..) on hand, and an average-sized handbag fits all those things and then some (large wallet, full-sized perfume, other random stuff) quite nicely. That’s not to say I’ll only carry a handbag for practicality because I due in fact find several of them quite lovely but for me personally, if I can find a handbag on the high-street that’s similar to a high-end handbag that I already find aesthetically appealing (“dupe”, if you will), I’d definitely go for the high-street version. For one, the price, just think of how much makeup I could buy for the price of a luxury handbag (lawl). Okay, forget makeup. Think of how many other high-street handbags I could purchase for the price of one designer handbag. Two, I don’t treat my handbags with kid gloves (and I’m not about to start now, regardless of which brand they happen to be from) and I’d be devastated if I accidentally spilled something on a handbag that I’d spent what might as well be my entire life-savings on. Maybe when I’m more mature. Three, there is no three (lawl). I can appreciate a beautiful designer bag but I can happily live out the rest of my life without ever owning it (my first love is makeup). I’m slowly learning how to appreciate the look of handbags in general, more so now that I’m getting older. So to recap, the major factors that influence my decision to purchase a handbag are; style, color, simplicity (lack of frou-frou), uniqueness (“quirk factor”), wearability (will I actually get any use out of it?), comfort and lastly upkeep and maintenance (easy to clean).

10 thoughts on “My Story: Handbags

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