Former "What Not To Wear" co-host Stacy London is no stranger to style, of course, but what we love most about her tips is that she always keeps practicality in mind.
And when it comes to choosing a bag that will last, practicality is of the utmost importance. Especially if you're going to be splurging for a high-quality handbag, you want to be sure that the price of the bag aligns with the amount of usage you're going to get out of it. (More on this later!)
Stacy has a few rules of thumb for choosing a bag that will last. Here are five questions to ask yourself before making a purchase, according to the stylist and fashion expert — plus, a few of her favorite picks from Rach's new handbag collection, Convalore!
1. WHAT IS THE APPROXIMATE COST PER WEAR?
"[A handbag] is the heavy lifter of accessories, literally!" Stacy says. If you choose just one bag to invest in, she recommends a large tote that will fit everything you need on any given day.
She loves Rach's Traveling Duet Tote.
While bigger bags are often more expensive, you'll likely get a better cost per wear with a functional, everyday tote than you would with a small wristlet that you'll only use on nights out, according to Stacy.
"Cost per wear becomes very important when you think about investing in a bag," the stylist says. "If you think about the amount of times you're going to wear it — let's say 300 out of 365 days a year — [maybe] it costs you $300, well that's a dollar a day. That's worth it."
2. HOW DOES THE BAG MEASURE UP?
"When you have a bag, make sure that there's enough room for the strap on your shoulder — to put it over your shoulder — and also so that it doesn't strangle your armpit," Stacy says.
Take the time to confirm that the bag measures correctly on you and feels comfortable. There's nothing worse than a purse-induced sweat stain under your arm!
And whether it's a shoulder bag or a crossbody, no bag should ever go past the bottom of your hip, Stacy adds.
3. IS THE BAG A NEUTRAL COLOR OR IS IT SEASON SPECIFIC?
Stacy loves options when it comes to color, pattern, texture and shine (and she points out that the Convalore totes utilize all four of these elements) — but neutrals are a good way to go when choosing a bag you'll use year-round. That doesn't necessarily mean plain black or dark brown, though!
"Paler grays and lighter browns will get you through the whole year; not just spring and summer … winter and fall as well," she says. Dark black and brown are better suited for the winter months than summer.
4. ARE THERE ADJUSTABLE OR EXTRA STRAPS?
For a bag that serves multiple functions, straps matter!
Look for bags with adjustable or extra straps. A crossbody that also has a strong shoulder strap makes for a versatile day-to-night choice — like the Convalore Studded Convertible Clutcher.
5. DOES IT HAVE FUNCTIONAL FEATURES THAT FIT YOUR NEEDS?
Stacy stresses the importance of use value, meaning that a bag is as functional as it is aesthetic (or ideally even more so).
Day bags should have different sections and pockets, so that you don't have to dig around in order to find what you're looking for.
When building your bag wardrobe, you should start with the basics — get that large, functional bag for work and then you can move to smaller, more playful bags as you increase your collection.
Already have a basic bag and looking for your next great buy? Stacy says bucket bags are IN. (Have you seen the Everyday Bucket bag from Convalore, yet?)
"Bucket bags are super trendy at the moment," the stylist shares. "If [the tote] is your workhorse, this is your prancing pony."