Handbag Maths with Paula Fry

Get your sums right and invest in one or two designer handbags rather than dozens of unused ones and you'll reap the benefits

I told you last month that I could write a book about handbags, a great love of mine since a child. One of the first photographs I can remember seeing of myself (besides hideous baby ones) is of me standing in my parents’ back garden aged two, bunches in my hair, dolly under one arm and a navy 1970’s patent handbag over the other.

My passion for all things leather, faux leather, patent leather, suede and in every colour of the rainbow increased as I grew up, peaking in my late twenties/early thirties with the fashion media frenzy that surrounded the ‘IT’ bag.

A city salary back then meant that I was able to indulge my love far and beyond the expectations of my teenage years. I once fought another well-heeled shopper in Louis Vuitton for a patent leather sugar pink rucksack (yes I won and yes I still own the sucker!)

Years of collecting later, I woke up in a handbag haze, gorged to bursting and not remembering what I owned. In fact, it was impossible to use them all, such was my collection. Now that is sad and, dare I say it, excessive.

After several years in fashion rehab and a huge purge, I want to tell you how to buy the perfect handbag, love it, use it and not feel guilty for paying a price that could feed your dog for 10 years.

Better to spend your money on one bag than own 20 high-street bags you never use, that will fall apart and, eventually, look dated.

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To summarise

• Designer handbags will last you a lifetime if you look after them. Store them in theirdust bags and use a shoe cream/protector - do not chuck them in the bottom of the abyss that is your wardrobe and don’t just save them for best

• If you want longevity, buy a classic style rather than an IT bag, unless you have the bank balance and the attention span of Katie Price

• Make sure you give it a test run – you wouldn’t buy a car without driving it first would you? Don’t spend ���’s on a handbag unless you have made sure it will suit your lifestyle and will fit your kitchen sink in if that’s what you carry. Too many pockets is normally a no-no and too heavy will give you backache and ape arms

• Buy your bag in a neutral colour so it will go with everything. Black, tan, brown or beige are good basics

• Does it fit in with your lifestyle? Can you use it casually with your denim and for a business meeting?

• Buy one classic winter bag and one summer bag – fill in the blanks with the odd high street fashion fix if you need evening clutches or a splash of colour for a special outfit.

There are several designers who make handbags that will stand the test of time, long after we are pushing up the daisies. Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Celine, Gucci, MiuMiu, Proneza Schouler, Mulberry, Anya Hindmarch are all favourites of mine that, although expensive, will last you for ever.

They make beautiful classics that will become amazing vintage pieces you can pass down to the kids. Now that is a bargain!


Love Is Boutique

Romary House, 26 Church Road

Tunbridge Wells TN1 1JP

Tel: 01892 549665

Email: enquiries@loveisboutique.co.uk

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