I love a good handbag as much as the next gal, and at first glance there are a lot of bags that I love. Over the years, I’ve fine tuned my must-haves and I have a feeling I’m not alone in some of these requests:
- black. or gray. leather or some kind of material that looks like leather.
- a lining other than a dark color. When I’m trying to look for that quarter at the bottom of my bag to feed the meter, it doesn’t help if the inside of the bag is like Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole.
- In addition, the lining should be fitted to the inside of the bag. Have you ever felt like you’re walking around with a pillow case inside your bag? That’s what happens when things are mass-produced and they don’t take care of this detail. There have been times where I’m pawing around inside my purse, fighting with the lining to try and find chap stick.
- not too big. For a while (and even still) luggage-sized bags were in. I tried that with a few of my bags and all it does is hurt my back and shoulders. And then one day you’re carrying around a Nalgene bottle, a pair of shoes and your leftovers from lunch inside you bag and you realize YOU HAVE A PROBLEM. The Law of Handbag Sizes states: no matter the size, you will eventually fill it to the max.
- has to fit my iPad. This is a more recent addition to the list but it’s a necessary one. I don’t always carry my iPad around but it needs to be big enough to fit it when I do.
- Has some decent pockets, inside and out, for my smart key, wallet, iPhone, etc.
- Has to look like a handbag and not some dude’s laptop bag. A lot of bags meet my iPad requirement but look pretty geeky. I save that look for camera bags.
- Has to have a decent handle drop. I usually wear my bags as shoulder bags so it needs to be easy to carry on my shoulder when I have a jacket on.
- No cross-body bags
- No monogram patterns
- I like a more structured look rather than a slouchy hobo. I’ll consider slouchy if all of the other requirements are met.
- Should retail for $$400 or less. I’ve never spent $400 on a handbag but I’m pretty good at finding $400 handbags for half the price or more on the internet.
My last bag was something I found on ebay from China and it was perfect except for the lining (dark, which eventually ripped) and the quality (straps are broken now). It was $40:
I found it during a search for “gray leather handbags.” For the price, it worked wonderfully. One day I lost my keys and the stylus I use for my iPad. During the freakout, I discovered the lining had ripped and most of the contents of my bag were between the lining and the other part of the bag. Oops. So, for the time being, I’m done with super cheap bags.
After much searching, I found a bag. Behold the Hobo Betty:
Isn’t she a beauty? Retails for $278. Made in America by an American company. I got it on onlineshoes.com for around $215 before tax and shipping due to a promotion they had, so even better. However, right before writing this post I got on their site and it say, “sold out.” Maybe they’re clearing out for Spring? I’ve seen it on Amazon, among other places, so I know it still exists. This bag comes in several colors and I almost considered getting the Dove color before my sensibilities took over. A while ago I had one of their fold-over clutches and I absolutely adored it. Hobo (formerly Hobo International) has a knack for placing the pockets and zippers in the right place in the right size and the Betty is no exception. It’s also worth noting that none of their bags are really that big. They have a couple of messenger-esque bags that would be good for travel, but that’s about it.
The runner up was yet another HOBO:
This style is called Upper Hand and it’s a few seasons older than Betty. I probably could shorten cross body strap to make it a shoulder bag, but Betty is a little more polished and definitely a day-to-night.
So, in summary, nothing beats a great bag. If anyone wants some original pics, let me know.
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