Sunday, 22 November 2015

Changing It Up (Handbags)

As anyone who has been reading my blog for a while will know, I am constantly thinking about what to edit from my wardrobe, home, etc. The other week, as promised in my last Getting Tough on Stuff post, I decided to go through some of my handbags and managed to put aside a few for donation.

A couple of the bags were nice leather handbags, one of which I've hardly used and the other being one which I've used quite a lot for a couple of years. Both are cross body bags, as I always used to like this kind of design, especially ones with lots of outer and inner pockets to house all of my bits and pieces.

More recently, however, I've been carrying a lot less around with me. Who needs to haul a whole load of things around everyday, many of which never get used. As I've changed over bags, I've omitted to transfer some of the contents and found that I actually don't need all that 'stuff' with me all of the time. Instead I'm keeping life a lot more simple.

I've also changed the style of bag I like to carry in the last year. Gone are the bulky cross body bags and in have come a series of backpack style bags, the latest of which will be this one by ASOS, that I ordered the other week. (Yes, I know I wasn't supposed to be spending on me until next year, but this one slipped through the net when I was Christmas shopping for LB)  It was on sale for £19, so it wasn't to onerous a purchase and I'm very happy with it.

Image 1 of ASOS Zip Top With Side Zip Detail Backpack

My previous ASOS backpack style bag (pictured below) has been used pretty heavily this year. It's been my main bag on two foreign holidays and has been carted to the gym and out and about every day for at least the last six months.

Image 1 of ASOS Zipper Backpack

However, the dog's had a bit of a chew on it lately and it's starting to look a little tired. In addition, it is a little casual and I've gone for a slightly smarter and more minimalist look with the new one, that will easily go from day to night if necessary.

I have to admit that I still do like the old one as it was so easy to use and practical and it has served me very well for the £19 I paid for it, but I will be passing this one on to LB, as she has for a long time secretly coveted  it. I'm sure she'll get lots of use from it still and will probably take it to school on those days when she doesn't have a heavy load.

The thing for me about backpack style bags, is that travelling around in London or anywhere else for that matter, it is so good to have your hands free and not to have to worry about your bag slipping off your shoulders. They are particularly useful in this respect when you want to go anywhere by bike, which I occasionally do.

Another reason why I've liked the particular bags that I've been drawn to lately, is their distinct lack of obvious branding.  I don't want to be a walking advert for a brand, be it high street or high end and I'm certainly not trying to impress anyone with my taste or the size of my wallet.

I did think about buying from brands such as TOMS or MATT & NAT, but they were a little out of my price range for now and anyway, isn't that just another form of recognizable branding, be it a more ethical one. I'm not turning all No LoGo on you guys (yet), but I'm happy to exercise a bit of discretion in this regard.

The cost of the last couple of bags has also been a plus factor, as has the fact that they aren't leather. I sometimes think that leather bags, shoes, etc that you pay big money for, are often the ones that are the hardest to declutter, as you've invested so much money in them and for me anyway, they rarely earn their keep before I decide I no longer want to use them.  They get stored in the top or bottom of the wardrobe, ready for me to pick them out and use them and invariably I don't, but can't quite bring myself to part with them either.  This time around I have decided to part with a few, but there are still a couple more there that the jury is out on and I might yet have to send them packing too, regardless of what I paid.

On the shoe front, once one of the bags went, so did one pair of shoes that matched it in colour and a pair of ankle boots hit the donation pile too, as they'd always been a little too big,  LB didn't like them, so I couldn't offload them on her and they were now looking a little scruffy.  Besides, I'd earlier in the year bought a new pair of Chelsea boots that I like much better and wear all the time, so I no longer needed this pair.  Thinning things out like this will definitely mean that I get more wear out of what is left. Well, that is the logic anyway.

I think from now on I'm going to be much more considered in my purchases and think more about what fits with my lifestyle and personal habits rather than seeing something, deciding I must have it and then a couple of months down the line thinking I don't actually like it that much.

These days, I tend to have definite wardrobe favourites, that I wear or use virtually all the time. They are often not expensive items, but just things that I feel suit me, so it's not really necessarily a matter of buying better quality. By making sure before I buy, that I really really like something and being sure that it will become a firm favourite, my wardrobe should only contain favourite items and I should be able to avoid inappropriate purchases. This in turn, should mean that everything will get worn much more often.

How do you approach clothes buying?  Do you get seduced by online sales or sale bargains in the shops and then regret purchasing them?


  1. I favour the re-use style rather than the brand new style for my clothing (apart from nicks) and I prefer a bum bag when I go shopping as it's less obtrusive and I can't accidentally put it down and lose it! Back packs are a great idea to leave your hands free but I would be afraid of pick pockets (back pack pockets?) especially in busy town centres. Well done on your de cluttering.

    1. I do think about the security of a backpack. The zip on my new one isn't the easiest thing to open (the only thing I'm a little disappointed by) so I think I might notice if anyone tried (and probably failed) to open it.

  2. I think you make a very good point about it being hard to get rid of things you paid "good money for", the way someone explained it to me was that yes, it had that value/cost at the time but it doesn't have that for me now, regardless of how much I paid or how much it is worth in the world. That made it easier to let things go.

    In terms of clothes shopping, I just don't look unless I need/really want something. If I think I just fancy a change, I stop thinking about it, think about something else and the urge goes away.

    1. You sound very disciplined in your approach. I wish I could be a bit more like that. I'm getting better, but there's still room for improvement.

  3. I agree about the hard to get rid of things that you paid good money for. I am starting to get a bit tougher on this, but really need to work at it.

    Time to change purses here as well. I have used this one for at least 2 years and need to find something else very soon as it is beginning to look a bit worn.

    God bless.

  4. Once I decided to downsize to a small bag so the kids wouldn't keep asking me to carry their stuff, I was very organised and enjoyed the lighter weight ! I had one black & one brown leather over the shoulder bags.

    Now I've gone in for big slouchy handbags & have black, brown & orange ones. In the summer I use large straw baskets.

    I get my clothes in white Stuff sales or when using a discount voucher & get things from the charity shop.

    I treat myself to something once a year from my favourite shop in Yarmouth when we are on the Isle of Wight !

    1. It's nice to have somewhere special that you treat yourself to shopping in. Your slouchy bags sound nice. I like a bit of slouchy, but mainly in clothes.