Polka Dots & Pleats: The Bag Lady

Polka Dots & Pleats: The Bag Lady

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Are you in the market for a new handbag? Already thinking about a spring bag? Our fashion columnist alleviates the baggage of selecting a new purse.

Shopping for a purse reminds me of dating in my single days. I’m looking for a lasting relationship and don’t want to rush into anything. I’d rather prioritize desired characteristics and wait for the right one to come along.

Here are a few ways to help make your selection:


Like it or not, this is the most important factor when selecting a bag. I love monogrammed envelope clutches but my weekends consist more of baby music class and church than going out on the town in stilettos. Try to be practical when selecting the type of bag you will use the most often. Spend more on styles that are a good match for your lifestyle.

As a working mom, I like to find bags that can double as diaper bags and briefcases. However, it’s always fun to add a little statement clutch for girls’ night out or sequins evening bag for weddings.

In order for a purse to fit your lifestyle, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Be sure to check to see if the inside has pockets for your cell phone and keys as well as plenty of room. Avoid bags that create the bottomless black hole where you can never find anything. These are deep and often lack compartments. The lining is also an important factor especially if you are tossing half of your belongings in there on the regular. Make sure the lining is easy to clean.


Remember when you wanted a purse to match every outfit? Now it’s better to buy fewer, nicer bags than have a dozen inexpensive options. Regardless of your budget, go for quality over quantity.

From Target to Tory Burch, look for durable materials, sturdy hardware and a structured shape. When setting a price point for a new purse, consider that a higher end bag with nice leather will last longer than a discount one. It’s worth spending a little more and vowing to carry it for a year or two without changing it out frequently.

Want the look for less? Take a day trip up to the Jeffersonville outlets. They have a Kate Spade store that often offers 60% off the already discounted price. They also have a Michael Kors and Coach.

If you promise not to bid against me, I’ll also suggest shopping ebay for luxury purses you love. Be a cautious buyer by checking seller ratings, ensuring authenticity and making sure they accept returns. This is a great way to get a gently used or brand new designer bag.


Yes, we all agree that having a nice black bag is as essential to your wardrobe as a LBD. Don’t be afraid to branch out with color and style. Brights can be as neutral as beiges and blacks if you worry less about coordinating. I’d suggest having a colorful and classic option to choose from for every season.

Look for variety when it comes to how you carry the bag. Having the option for a cross-body and shoulder is beneficial. Anyone else hoping backpacks come back in style?