Downsizing My Handbag Collection (Literally)

Whenever I’m on the hunt for a new purse, I realize that I immediately gravitate to the same sort of thing. I want a small, box-y bag which has a cross body strap. I usually have a color in mind when I’m shopping which is exactly what happened today when I bought my latest bag on sale (15 Euro! – a steal).

When I got home, I realized that I think I’m finally basically at peace with my handbag collection. I will soon have to replace my most used bag (more on that in a bit) but other than that – I have a solid group of bags for every occasion. I thought I would tell you a bit about my purses and why I think they work so well for my lifestyle.

The Basics

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If you’ve met me – or even just seen pictures – I have terrible posture. Like actually, the worst. I have had trouble standing up straight since I was little and it only got worse after years of swimming and the sudden appearance of boobs. Because of this, large handbags are completely out of the question. The only exception is my backpack as it rests on both shoulders.

Most of my bags are pretty small. I want to only carry my absolute essentials – keys, phone, kindle, wallet, sunglasses. Anything more and honestly, I’ll have a sore back and neck in the evening. Plus I want bags that comfortably fit into the basket on my bike without fuss.

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Something you’ll notice about my bags is that I love buying bags that are colorful. I don’t own a black purse – gasp – or even a brown one. I also really favor gold hardware; I only own one bag with dull silver accents. In fact, I would say it’s now a subconscious requirement for me to purchase a bag. I don’t know why – maybe I think colors usually pop more with gold than silver.

The last thing I wanted to note is on price. I have never owned a ridiculously expensive handbag. Most of my bags are from Target – and to be honest, those are the ones that wear the best over time for me. I have two bags that cost more than $150 and those are the ones I reach for the least.

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I know now that if I am going to buy a more fancy bag, I want it to fall exactly within the parameters of the rest of my bag collection. It sort of sounds nuts – but I like what I like. I’ve got my eye on replacing my most used bag this year and I wouldn’t mind getting something a touch fancier if it was absolutely perfect – but I wouldn’t spend much over $200 for something like that.

The Bags

Two quick notes – I want to go in mostly rainbow order because I am a dork. This is not the order of most used bags. Secondly, I use the sunglasses as a size reference in these photos. These are normal, run of the mill, wayfarer style sunglasses.

This Burgundy bag from Mango was my most recent purchase. I had thought about buying it for a few months now but when I saw it was on sale for half off, I finally pulled the trigger. It has one main pocket and a flap that you could fit a phone or a few credit cards into. It has both a top handle and a cross body strap. The closure is magnetic.

This coral bag is quintessentially me. Many people who have known me for years remember a bright pink bag I had for ages. Well I had to finally retire the second one I bought in August and I bought this as the replacement. It has the top handle and non-detachable cross body strap. I bought it on sale at Target for $10. The inside has one main pocket as well as a zippered pocket in the lining. The outside has a pocket which is really only good for some cash or cards. The closure of this bag is a relatively durable zipper. I love this bag and use it all the time.

 

My yellow bag is from a boutique in the Northern Spanish town of San Sebastian. I paid 45 Euros for this bag about a year and a half ago. It’s one of the largest of my bags by both volume and weight. I love the color and the mosquito detailing on the front. It has one main pocket with a pouch (just like the Burgundy) and also an outer pocket which comfortably fits my phone. The closure is a pretty strong magnetic clasp. My main gripe with this bag has to do with the cross body strap which is thick – around 2 inches across. It just seems too bulky. Because of this, I don’t wear this one as much as some of my other ones.

My olive green bag is the first and only bag I have with a name – it’s a Rebecca Minkoff Hudson Moto Mini bag. I bought this guy second hand around 8 years ago from E-bay for around $150. I was so excited at the time as it was a blogger favorite. While there are lots of things I like about it – I have some complaints which is why this bag is sadly underused. Firstly, it’s not too small but it has one too many compartments. The outer pocket flap has a magnetic closure which is really hard to open. I actually like the gold clasp hardware, color and look of this bag but the strap is not long enough for me. I’m not even that tall – only 5’7 – and this barely comes to my hip. It’s such an awkward length and because of that, I just haven’t used this nearly enough for the price.

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My next expensive baby is this guy. I bought this bag in Porto and was completely taken not only by the look but the material of this bag. It’s cork – but it doesn’t look like it. Cork is not my favorite material when it’s not transformed but this bag is gorgeous. It’s by a Portuguese brand called Artipel and I loved this theoretically. First off, the bag is basically completely interchangeable. I bought two different straps and two different lids. I love this bag – my one thing is that it made me realize I am not a chain-strap kind of girl. It’s got just one big pocket on the inside but it is a bit difficult to get in and out of. So while I love this guy – it’s another one that I haven’t gotten my moneys’ worth just yet.

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Next is my navy bag from Target which I paid $30 this past August. I hemmed and hawed over buying this guy the last time I was home in the states. It is the obvious outlier in my collection. But seriously – this is the new Target style done WELL. The material on this bag is so ridiculously soft it’s  almost obscene. This bag has one extremely specific use – carrying my laptop when I don’t have much else to bring. I don’t bring it to school but I do bring it to the coffee shop to work sometimes. The inside is one big pocket with that weird ID/cell phone flap. It has a magnetic closure. This bag is one of my favorite bags because of it’s simple elegance.

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This next one is another Target gem (as is the final one). Another one I purchased in August for $25. This is my sort of grab and go, neutral bag. It’s just basically a sack bag with a top zip. There’s the large inside pocket, which just holds my kindle and an outside pocket with another zip. This one only functions as a cross body bag and while it isn’t a staple – it is a really cute bag. I am not using it now because it sort of clashes with my pink winter coat.

For my final bag, my most used bag, this cream bag from Target. This guy has seen better days and to be completely honest – I have no idea how long I’ve had this bag. I’m going to say I bought it sometime after 2014. I absolutely love this bag. It has a twist bag, one big opening with a zip pocket and two front pockets. It has the perfect length strap plus there’s a top handle (swoon). It fits the perfect amount of things. It’s the nicest neutral cream color. It is literally the perfect bag.

I am heartbroken that I’m going to have to replace this guy soon. You can see it’s seen better days. The hardware is getting wonky which is sad. I think when I do replace it, I may go with a tan but even in saying that – I literally wish I could rebuy this exact bag again. Please hold while I try to track it down on E-Bay (I’m that nuts).


 

Now that I’ve photographed and written all of this I realize that this isn’t a minimal collection. Having so many bags in the same genre seems kind of crazy. But here’s the thing – my style is pretty basic. My bags are often the only bit of color or personality in an otherwise bland wardrobe.

If you have any suggestions for bags – particularly from sustainable or slightly more “indie” bags – please let me know. Especially if you know any bags that may be able to replace my old faithful white bag. Please let me know in the comment section below!

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