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August 03, 2023
first things first: there’s no such thing as ONE PERFECT BAG for everyone. the right handbag for you may not be the right choice for someone else — and the reasons for needing a new bag vary widely. handbag shopping can be a very subjective process but there are certain factors to consider that can help you narrow the field to your ideal choice. i’m a bag designer — let me help!
here are 8 questions to ask yourself on your hunt for a handbag for everyday use:
before we get into style or what your specific needs are, answer this: will you actually be using this as your primary handbag — or at least most days? if the answer is NO, you can jump right to #8 if you want. if the answer is YES, then let’s move on to #2…
you want to take a bag’s weight into account if this will be your daily carry for work or workouts — or if you need a smart choice for travel. the lighter your bag is, the less it will drag you down once you have it filled. a heavy bag is hard on your shoulders and can take a toll on your back. the more of a slog your bag is to carry, the unhappier you will be with your purchase over time.
a related consideration is comfort — weight certainly plays into this but more importantly, is the bag comfortable to wear? is it designed to help distribute weight in a smart way? is it soft or stiff? does it have corners that might dig into your hip? is it bulky and will it get in your way as you move? if there’s a strap, is it designed to wear comfortably across the shoulder? is the material flexible and soft or is it hard and scratchy? chafing is no fun! is the strap designed to stay on your shoulder or will it slide off in the most irritating way and, somehow, always when you’re in a hurry? is the strap adjustable so you can customize the fit? proper fit is essential to comfort.
if this bag is intended to be your daily carry, then taking care of it should be as effortless as possible. you should be able to worry less about it breezing through daily activities and the occasional calamity. don’t forget to take features like water-resistance and the cleanability of the material into account when choosing your everyday handbag. “oh no, rain!” or “oh no, i spilled coffee on it!” — these things are going to happen, so plan for them.
you also want your bag to last as long as possible. make sure that material is not only durable but that the bag is well-constructed. quality zippers and buckles made a difference. lack of strengthening at stress points can cause a bag to fall apart more quickly, even with ordinary use. are the strap ends turned under so they don’t fray? attention to detail makes a good bag great — just ask this bag designer!
if your life gets a little crazy at times, consider a more organized bag — such a cure for headaches! a great everyday handbag will eliminate the time-waste of digging to find what you need. it will have pockets to hold the little things that swim around the bottom of your bag — with zippers to keep them from falling out. slide pockets to hold phones or sunglasses or charging cords. water bottle pockets. padded laptop pockets. a shoe compartment is handy for trips to the gym or travel. a little organization goes a long way!
you just know when looking at a designer handbag whether it’s ‘you’ or not. fussy, trendy, high-fashion bags that are beautiful but scream ‘look at me’ are not my style, which is why i designed shortyLOVE bags to be modern and minimal with a confident, streamlined silhouette that feels relaxed against the body. two key takeaways here: confident and relaxed. that’s the personal style i’m going for and how i want to feel throughout my day. how about you? something to think about!
whether your ultimate goal is to match your everyday handbag to your everyday routine or you’re trying to solve for those predictable events — like travel — that pop up regularly but less often, ask yourself: what problems do you want your new bag to solve in order to make life a little easier?
i can’t speak for other handbag designers but with shortyLOVE, my goal was to design a collection of everyday bags to address the issues we commonly face. of course i absolutely designed with lightness, comfort, easy maintenance and durability in mind, because i need these qualities in a bag in my own life. but i also designed for a range of needs — because maybe your life demands that you keep your hands freed up, or maybe you only need your phone, cards and cash on you most days, or maybe you need a way to organize your things AND your toddler’s things in a single bag, etc etc etc. we’re all different!
here’s a quick breakdown of the shortyLOVE range — perhaps it will bring you closer to finding your right style:
shorthand small crossbody
arcade belt bag
jetty clutch wallet
merchant rfid wallet
amuse medium crossbody
ace small backpack
wonder large crossbody
boxer large backpack
stevie cosmetic bag
[personal travel rec: given airlines’ 2-bag carry-on limitations, pairing a boxer large backpack or tillie tote with a shorthand small crossbody or an arcade belt bag to hold your credentials and phone makes travel SO MUCH EASIER! check your luggage. slide boxer or tillie under the seat, keep your shorthand or arcade on from check-in to arrival. boom, done.]
better, smarter handbags do exist and i hope every woman finds the one she should own, in the perfect problem-solving style. happy hunting!
xo — sloane
sloane gibney grossberg is the founder of and sole designer for shortyLOVE. a jersey girl always and forever, she’s devoted to her husband and two children, stays close to her sisters, walks her dogs daily, falls hard for a smarter bag, and feels very fortunate to design them for a living. sloane got her start as senior designer for the marc jacobs collection in 2002, moving up three years later to take the creative reins of marc by marc jacobs handbags and accessories for a decade. noting an unmet demand for stylish bags that could help streamline busy days, she launched shortyLOVE in 2018.
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