Throwback Thursday: Budget-friendly Handbags and Clutch Bags

Our live-in chauffeur was going back to India for a two-month vacation and aside from the usual cash bonus, asked me for some things that he could gift to his wife back home. His plane was leaving in less than a few hours (he hadn’t mentioned anything earlier) so I had nothing prepared, not to mention that I’ve never actually met the woman before and he did a really bad job at describing her to me (I still know next to nothing about her), but I feel that I gave him a pretty good selection of stuff, regardless. First, I let him take his pick from all my shoes and even tried coaxing him into selecting a few high-heels (because he was mostly choosing flats and sandals), but he explained to me that the ground was uneven (not flat) in the area that they lived in (back in India) and so his wife wouldn’t get any use out of high-heeled shoes. I felt quite ignorant when he told me that. So, I tried to make up for it by giving him a handful of my most prized possessions, my makeup! I felt that that was the epitome of generosity, because I don’t care about much in this world, but I’m extremely attached to my makeup (and also anything makeup adjacent), so for me personally, giving away even a single makeup item is akin to me giving away my own child. My sacrifice was lost on him because he didn’t seem all that impressed, but took them and graciously thanked me for them, just the same.

At this point, I was quite perplexed because I didn’t know what would make him happy. So, I just started grabbing my nearest perfumes and handing them to him. That seemed to placate him. In fact, he seemed particularly happy with J’Aime by La Perla (reviewed here). In my excitement, I got a bit overzealous and accidentally handed him my beloved Femme from Zara (reviewed here) which I’d grown quite fond of, but was too embarrassed to ask for it back, especially since he actually smiled after spritzing it on his wrist and giving it a sniff. I kept handing him perfumes, up until he stopped me, declaring that he didn’t want to get stuck paying extra for going over the weight limit, which is why I was surprised when he gestured towards my Handbags (asking for the blue one in particular). I hadn’t even thought of giving away any of my Handbags because most of them showed very obvious signs of wear and tear. I even pointed out the damages to him but he didn’t care. So, I asked him if he could just give me a few minutes so I could hurriedly snap a few photos of them for my blog before handing them over to him, to which he obviously agreed. That’s why the photos are a bit haphazard.

So these are some of the Handbags and Clutch Bags I mentioned in the My Story: Handbags post (here) and the ones that our chauffeur took to gift to his wife back home in India.

These are the Clutch Bags mentioned towards the end of the third paragraph (in this post, here). They were either purchased from Forever21 or New Look (before they relocated to the top floor at the Avenues). I believe they were purchased around 2008 because that’s around the time I was going through an all-blue phase; Blue Outerwear (Hoodies, Jackets, Puffer Vests), Blue Underwear (Panties and Bras), Blue Swimsuits, Blue Shoes (Sneakers, Heels, Rainboots), Blue Nail Polish, and even Blue Colored Contacts. I remember being in Dubai around October of that same year (2008) with my favorite cousin because I distinctly remember being all decked out in Blue (down to the Faux Crocodile Embossed Clutch to match my Nails… and Colored Contacts… and Sneakers) and having to listen to her ongoing commentary the whole time, which just made me attempt to dress even more outrageously during the next outing. That said, blue on blue, on blue, on blue, really was a bit… much lol

Blue Faux Crocodile Clutch

I could’ve sworn that the Blue Clutch was much darker when I first got it, but seems to have lightened up and turned into a Teal, over the years. Despite how small this looks, it could actually carry quite a lot, without bulking up. Also, It was very structured (quite stiff), safely housing my things inside and shielding them from the big bad world (meaning nothing would ever happen to them if I dropped the Clutch on solid ground, which I did, many times, in fact). Even the exterior could handle being roughed up and would come out without a scratch (as evident by the photos). Only a small corner on the flap seems to have come undone but that’s more so from time than anything else. It really was such a practical Clutch! It was quite easy to maintain as well. I’d just wipe it down, from time to time, with Dettol anti-bacterial wet wipes.

It had a magnetic single button clasp (notice how it’s a cool reflective silver, not a horrible reflective gold) that would slide in and out of place with ease, meaning whenever I’d shut the Clutch (eliciting a satisfying click noise) it would stay shut, up until I applied enough pressure to pull the thing apart to open it up again. It might not seem like a big deal but button clasps come with their own host of issues. I swear I’m not making this up, but the half with the little nub is called the “male half” and the one with the little groove is the “female half”. Some button clasps are so badly made with the male and female halves being so mismatched (either the nub is too big or the grove is too small) that it practically takes an hour to get them to lock. Other button clasps (magnetic and otherwise) just open up on their own, usually at the most inopportune moments too. I faced none of those annoying issues with this thing, even over time. For such a budget-friendly Clutch, it was quite well-made!

Aside from being practical and well-made, I found this particular Clutch to be very aesthetically appealing! I really loved the faux croc embossed design (especially on the back), and the fact that it wasn’t just designated to any one area, but actually went all the way around (including the sides)! I loved the fact that the whole thing was so glossy too! I mean anything crocodile embossed looks pretty cool on its own, but something croc embossed and glossy is insanely cool (at least to me)! Also, loved that the entire Clutch was a single color and that that color happened to be Blue! Best of all, aside from the croc embossed design, this Clutch was pretty plain! Sure, the patent leather was croc embossed, glossy and Blue, which made it pretty unique (or so I believe) but that didn’t mean it couldn’t be plain as well. There were no obnoxious embellishments, no unnecessary additional colors, and no random contrasting prints (inside and outside). If you’ve read my Handbags post (here), you’d know that this Clutch pretty much ticked all the right boxes for me (simple, textured, unique, durable and easy to maintain). Basically, the Blue Faux Croc Clutch was a physical manifestation of my ideal Clutch!

At first I just used the Blue Clutch to accessorize my more monochromatic looks (blue on blue on blue), but then started branching out to different colors. This thing really popped against Black! Regardless of what I paired it with, it always looked ridiculously cool (glossy, blue, faux croc)! I seriously appreciated the fact that it was quite durable too (meaning I didn’t need to treat it with kid gloves). I got some good use out of this thing, up until the fact that it didn’t have a strap began to bother me eventually leading me to retire it. I should’ve gotten rid of it ages ago but just never got around to it (which is a good thing, because now it’s gone to a good home)!

Yellow Envelope Clutch

I bought the Yellow Envelope Clutch at exactly the same place I bought the Blue Clutch (same outing as well). The idea of an Envelope Clutch just really, really appealed to me. It was like a mini-briefcase… almost. The fact that it was also croc embossed and shiny and came in a cheerful Yellow, cemented it for me. I just had to get it! Even the hardware (magnetic clasp and zipper tab) was a more palatable reflective silver (as opposed to a horrible reflective gold).

Unfortunately, the Yellow Envelope Clutch was a waste of money. First of all, regardless of how huge it was (especially in comparison with the Blue Clutch) it wasn’t practical for carrying anything that wasn’t flat. Even if I dropped a single item in there (for example, my phone), it would cause a bulge at the bottom of the Yellow Envelope Clutch, which looked so stupid! It was very flimsy too, so if it happened to slip out of my hands onto solid ground, whatever I’d stuffed in there had nothing to cushion its fall and would end up getting damaged. Even the exterior was always developing new nicks and scratches, seemingly out of the blue. It was always something with this Yellow Clutch. If all that wasn’t enough, at one point, the dye from the Blue Clutch actually transferred to the back of the Yellow Clutch. I didn’t even know that was a thing.

In theory, the Yellow Envelope Clutch was awesome, but in reality it was such a hassle. Despite ticking most of the right boxes for me (simple, textured, unique), this thing was not durable, at all. I tried my best to explain all this to our driver, but he just waved my concerns away. In any case, I’m glad the Yellow Envelope Clutch is off my hands now.

Sky Blue Patent Leather Handbag

This is the Handbag I mentioned in the beginning of the fifth paragraph (in this post, here). I bought it (probably around 2009) at one of the ubiquitous accessory stores across the street from Marina Mall, in the area that most Kuwaitis have dubbed “Housh” (which literally translates to “Yard”). As I said, at the time I was going through an all-blue phase, (encompassing everything from Navy Blues, Indigo Blues, Cobalt Blues, Royal Blues, Baby Blues, to Sky Blues). Regardless of the occasion, I had to have at least one article of something Blue, on me at at all times. In fact, all I ever wore on my nails back then was China Glaze For Audrey Nail Polish (reviewed here) much to the dismay of my favorite cousin (who believed Blue Nail Polish was, and I quote “disgusting”). For Audrey matched a gorgeous pair of Blue Plaid Wedges (from Target via Amazon.com) which I only got to wear once (in Dubai) before losing one of them (which surprisingly wasn’t a first, for me). Lamenting their loss, when I got back to Kuwait, I ordered a pair of Sky Blue Sandals from the brand Chinese Laundry (via Amazon.com) to replace them. They were open-toed, perforated, patent leather, high-heeled, sling-backs and at the time, I thought they looked quite cute! That’s why when I found myself with my favorite cousin, at “The Yard” (across from Marina Mall) and stumbled upon this Sky Blue Patent Leather Handbag, I snatched it up immediately. I figured the Sky Blue Patent Leather Handbag would match my Sky Blue Patent Leather Sandals perfectly, which it did!

The Sky Blue Handbag in addition to being quite spacious, had all kinds of separate compartments including several flat pockets on the inside and a zippered pocket (at the back) on the outside. I hated the Louis Vuitton-esque Floral Print that lined the insides of this thing, so I just pretended that it wasn’t there. All the buckles and straps (notice how everything is all silver, not gold) were just for show, as this thing was in no way adjustable. Despite being almost shapeless, the bag was quite sturdy, and held up pretty well over the years. However, I retired this Sky Blue Handbag early on, because I’d overdosed on Blue and as such, reached a point where I’d become sick of all things Blue. More than that, I grew to absolutely despise the embellished hardware (so frou-frou) at the top. I wasn’t even in love with this thing when I first bought it, but what with the tacky floral print lining the inside and the embellished hardware (at the top) on the outside (it wasn’t… simple), I really started hating this thing over time. Initially, I’d fallen in love with the beautiful Turquoise color, but even that wasn’t enough to keep me interested in this thing. Thankfully, our chauffeur was very taken with the Sky Blue Handbag and now it’s off my hands!

Here are some photos of the Blue Faux Croc Clutch and Blue Patent Leather Handbag, side-by-side.

Ombre Handbag

This is another Handbag that I also mentioned at the beginning of the fifth paragraph (in this post, here). It was also bought at at one of the ubiquitous accessory stores across the street from Marina Mall, in the area that most Kuwaitis have dubbed “Hoosh” (which literally translates to “Yard”). In fact, I bought both the Sky Blue Handbag and this Ombre Handbag together (same time, same store, same everything). Isn’t she a beaut?

At the time, I thought the fact this was an Ombre Handbag was insanely cool! I still do! Since the colors were so dark (purple fading into black), I felt the Ombre effect was quite subtle, which made this thing even cooler, in my eyes! I really liked that it had a flap on top, with a buckle on it too! The rounded studs (just below where the straps began) were a nice touch. I especially appreciated the fact that all the hardware was a lovely reflective silver (not a horrible reflective gold). I wasn’t a fan of the weird design lining the insides, so I just pretended it wasn’t there. Other than that, I pretty much loved everything about this this Ombre Handbag! I got the most wear out of this thing, as it paired well with almost everything. It was quite sturdy, easy to maintain, and held up pretty well over the years (not a single scratch)! I was still very much in love with this Ombre Handbag, despite not wearing it as much (my style had evolved to where I preferred something even more simple), but when our driver asked for it, I felt that I wanted to give him the Ombre Handbag, more than I wanted to hold on to the Ombre Handbag.

Again, I’d like to point out how my Clutches and Handbags all had silver hardware (so cool) and not gold hardware (so not cool). I’m not joking when I say, “I cannot stand anything that’s Gold”. I’m glad that these 4 babies went to a good home, but more than that, I’m just glad that they’re gone (just being honest lol) and no longer any of my concern.

So this was post was meant to be up on Thursday (obvi) but I got wrangled into doing a few things and here we are. Just pretend you’re reading this on a Thursday. Sorry about the pics (I had to take them in a hurry while being watched which was so awkward). Hope you enjoyed this post!

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