I don’t know a single woman who doesn’t own a handbag. I mean, everyone I know carries one, however large or small. My mum and auntie both favour soft, supple Italian leather (purchased directly in Italy, natch), while my sister-in-law loves a slouchy leather shoulder bag, preferably in red or navy. My friends vary in their choice of handbag; Clare loves a cross-body strap for easy access, Nic wears the same bag for years, until it can’t take anymore (quite literally), and Candice cradles her patent DKNY bag in the crook of her elbow, keeping her hands free to gesticulate wildly in order to enhance an undoubtedly exaggerated drama. (Don’t worry, that’s why we love her).
Me? I like a different bag for every occasion: oversize for work or travel (my Mulberry Bayswater is perfect); a structured, mock-croc bag for a posh lunch; my quilted Lulu Guinness bag with chain strap for day-to-night; and a delicate clutch for a special occasion or evening. My colleague (and dear friend) Michelle loves a TK MAXX bargain just as much as she loves her luxury designer bags, while the oh-so-glamorous Eve Robertson (PR Manager at Debenhams Scotland) is never seen without her Celine/Victoria Beckham* (*delete where appropriate).
A woman’s handbag is her safety net, a secure place with all her important bits ‘n’ bobs, from diaries and mobile phones to compact mirrors and hairbrushes. You’ll find everything in my handbag: old receipts, pens, notepads, sunglasses, hair clips, hand cream and lipbalm (I’m never without those), paracetamol, even paper clips – you name it, it’s probably in there.
We were discussing in the office last week that the best way to organise your bag is to have different pouches for different categories. So, pharmaceuticals (as in plasters, sewing kits, asprin, etc) would go in one pouch, while make-up goes in another. We were mid conversation, and Michelle opened her bag and whipped out something resembling a lunch bag – it had a handle on the top with a zipper to get inside the main compartment, with little, zipped compartments all around the outside. It’s genius! She simply transfers it from one bag to the next, et voila! No forgotten phone, no misplaced necessities. With all the amazing handbags on the high street at the moment, it’s definitely worth investing in something similar as you’ll be hopping from a pastel tote to an oversize neon clutch and back to your old faithful black shopper in no time!
This season, my favourite high street handbags are at Tula. The SS14 campaign is really cute, but glam too – very Sixties – and the bags come in a lovely array of blue, tan, white and metallic, with the odd pop of coral. They’re classic Tula (quality leather in practical designs), so loyal customers will remain pleased, but this season, Tula is very on trend thanks to soft colours and satchel-inspired shapes.
These are some of my favourites from the SS14 campaign. I love the Sixties vibe, especially with the soft, romantic light. The bags look great in the retro setting, but taken out of the carefully edited shoot and slung over my (or your) shoulder, they still look fab. Tula’s SS14 collection is one to invest in now, and wear for years. I totes need one for the weekends.
(I actually prefer this combination of colour blocking as opposed to the one in the campaign image).