By Traci McBride
I know this because I ask, “Why and when did you purchase this?” Creating your personal style is really the key to understanding some basic criteria for every purchase, while avoiding the overwhelm that comes with over-abundance.
Today’s tips will help you get started in making mindful choices.
Tip #1 — Buy for your lifestyle: Avoid over investing in a bag that you only use occasionally. Instead invest in CPW (cost per wear) for your everyday life.
Tip #2 — Do inventory: travel bag | weekender bag | tote | clutch | cross body | special occasion | everyday shoulder bag or satchel. What is really needed to support your lifestyle?
Tip #3 — Decide your style: Do you change your bag with your outfit or seasonally?
Tip #4 — Try it before you own it: Slip in your essentials and wear in the store. If it isn’t comfortable, you won’t use it enough to get a good CPW.
Tip #5 — Size matters! Too big will dwarf you, too small enlarges you. Be sure it has some contrast to what you’re wearing so it doesn’t add bulk or volume to your frame.
Tip #6 — Shape matters! Round and curvy? Choose rectangle, square or structure to contrast with your body shape.
Tip #7 — Need vs. want: Being selective will help you choose a bag that accents a larger portion of your wardrobe. Go for form and function to achieve your best CPW.
Tip #9 — Turn it inside out: A truly well-made bag is as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside. Expect to see straight and tight stitching and seams.
Tip #10 — Longevity matters: To master CPW and use a bag for years to come:
Stick to neutral in your power color palette.
Cool skin tone? Go grey/silver/navy/black.
Neutral skin tone? Nude/cream/white.
Warm skin tone? Choose chocolate/gold/beige/saddle.
Ready for a pop of boldness?
Cool: clear yellow/bold magenta/cobalt blue/kelly green.
Warm: orange/gold/ lime green/turquoise blue
For those who just like to find great bags and avoid full price, visit your local resale and consignments shops. Many times that is where women who are having Closet Detoxes with me are selling their bags. You will pay about a third of retail, and you are supporting a local independent business owner while you save. These shops most always have something new and current, and many times new with tags. No matter where you shop, stick with the 10 tips above so you don’t end up with too many.
Here are a couple of my favorite places that always have designer bags.
Clothes Mentor (Strongsville, North Olmsted, Mayfield Heights)
It’s So You Boutique (Willoughby)
Lakewood Luxury Consignment
I find that when you know better, you do better. For the best use of your money, invest in items you love that honor your body and style while still working with your lifestyle.
Traci McBride is the wardrobe stylist of TeeMcBee Image Consulting and is a longtime supporter of nonprofit Dress for Success-Cleveland. Need advice on what would work best for you? Email your questions to Traci@TeeMcBee.com.