Monday, July 14, 2014

High / Low: Leather Handbags

Very old and very beautiful.
image from here
Go high-end.

It is often said that one should buy as high-end as possible for shoes and pocketbooks. The argument is that it's easier to find inexpensive clothing that looks good than it is to find inexpensive shoes and purses that look good. The argument is true -- wearing a well-made pair of shoes and carrying a well-made bag instantly upgrades the clothing worn with them. But I have one problem with this: I'm really, really hard on my footwear.

Maybe it's all the walking on the concrete in the city, or maybe I walk funny, but no matter how hard I try, my shoes always get ripped up in no time. A cobbler is helpful in protecting and fixing some of this wear and tear, but I find it to be very frustrating to wear a pair of shoes just once and often have them look like they need replacing by the end of the day. I think it makes a lot of sense to mix high-end and low-end for shoes.

Handbags, on the other hand, are something I can take very good care of. Most of my handbags look as good as new even though many have seen the better part of a decade. It's easier to take good care of pocketbooks than it is shoes -- one chooses where and how to put a purse down, making it possible to baby it.

Getting prettier as they age.
image from here
Good leather also wears beautifully, so a well-made bag will only look better over time. As the leather ages, a patina will appear, and this wear-pattern adds dimension that makes the bag look even more beautiful. (Of course this happens with shoes too, but mine are always too ripped up to ever enjoy this stage of beauty.) Leather bags will get softer and softer with each wear, so in the same way that many people hold well-worn denim in high esteem for its wear patterns and softness, a well-worn leather bag is often even more beautiful than it was when it was new.

Even when a leather bag has gone far past the point of looking beautifully broken-in, and has crossed over into the old category, as with all well-made things, it will still look good. This is the stage when an item shows its true worth… While both cheap and expensive leather may look similar at the time of purchase, time is what shows the true worth. When a nice item gets to the point where it looks old, it can still be used. It will look loved, comfortable, and its true beauty will show off. But when a cheap bag gets old (as will happen much sooner), it just looks sloppy.

If one does buy well-made purses, and she does baby her bags, they will last for a very long time, looking ever better. Therefore, it makes sense to buy high-end.

1 comment:

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