So we are a whole month into 2022, and I thought I should report on how my “new frugality” plan is coming along. My planned splurge shopping, as it were. You can read about my shopping plan for 2022 in this post if you’re interested. Since the beginning of January, I have been diligently doing my research. Bag shopping online. Posting to Pinterest. And I’m ready for my first “splurge report.”

Hubby says all I need is a riding crop.

As I said, I’ve been looking at bags for my first splurge purchase of the year. And the other day as I was pedalling and perusing Pinterest, I began to notice a worrying theme in my research. Many of the bags I was choosing bore an uncanny resemblance to bags I already own. Now, I know I said that my 2022 splurges would NOT be made because I needed something, but instead because I wanted something. Something which after careful research, and much thought, I was still drooling over. But my heavens, I am not splashing out my research time and my hard-earned money for something I already own. Or as good as own.

Below are some of the bags that have tempted me and which I included in my Pinterest board.

A series of bags from my Pinterest board for my splurge research.
Check out my Bag Shopping 2022 Pinterest board.

So after I had a think about it, I decided to haul out my fall and winter bags and have a look. Make sure I know what I have before I proceed further. And here’s what I found.

One very old, still loved, but not used nearly enough, saddle-bag-style, black leather cross-body bag from Holt Renfrew. I love, love this bag. It has contrasting cream stitching on the bag itself and on the strap, and thick leather stitching around the flap, as you can see in the shot on the right, below. Every time I take this bag out of my cupboard, I’m glad I still own it. I love a saddle-bag.

In fact I have thought of buying another one. But smaller, and in a colour. Maybe this one in navy, or dark red. I’ve long been enamoured of the Chloe “Marcie” saddle-bag. Not too much hardware on it. Good size. I like the pebbled leather. And in navy, it’s divine. So that’s one I’m considering. Meanwhile I’ve hung my old black saddlebag on the rack with my other three bags that are in current rotation.

Of course my current favourite bag is my Fossil Hobo bag, in a sort of cognac brown. I guess I can be forgiven for pinning shots of bags that are almost the same, since I love this bag, and I’ve been using it so much. It can be worn as a classic shoulder bag, or cross-body using the long, detachable strap. I’m so glad I bought this bag. It adds another dimension to my often all-black outfits. And I love it with this old, dark green tweed Max Mara blazer too.

Wearing black leggings, black turtleneck and black knee-high boots, with Max Mara tweed blazer, and Fossil bag.
New-ish Fossil Hobo bag, old (really old) tweed blazer.

So that’s two large shoulder bags. And then there’s this dark grey tote from AllSaints that I bought at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale a few years ago. I do believe that I am well supplied with large bags. Especially when one also adds in my burgundy Marc Jacobs bag, a gold summer tote, and my much beloved, straw Eric Javits bag.

In my splurge research, besides shoulder bags, I have been looking at lady-like handbags. Bags that can be carried with a top handle, or possibly worn cross-body. I love my vintage croc, lady-like bag, below. The top handle (hard to see in the photo) looks like Bakelite, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t. I bought the bag ten years ago at a vintage show, and even then Bakelite was pricey. The strap that came with the bag is a short chain which I’ve never particularly liked. And it’s almost too short to wear cross-body, that is if I want to get the bag off over my head in a hurry and not get stuck half in and half out. And here’s the beauty of my new Fossil bag. The detachable shoulder strap can be, well, detached, and it’s a perfect colour for this vintage bag. Making it way more wearable.

I also have two lady-like summer handbags. A lovely, pink, top-handle bowling bag from Cole Haan, and a black and white Kate Spade that has two top-handles and a shoulder strap. So with three in my collection, maybe lady-like bags should NOT be on my splurge list.

No need to splurge on a new bag. Wearing black leggings, black turtleneck and black knee-high boots, with Max Mara tweed blazer, and vintage bag.
Lady-like vintage croc bag with a clear Bakelite handle

And I am well sorted with small, classic, cross-body bags. I bought this AllSaints “Captain Lea” square, cross-body bag last year. I wear it a ton.

I have a small, black Mackage cross-body bag, below, bought in 2016. I looked and looked for a bag to suit me that year. And I have a small, white cross-body bag from Michael Kors that I often wear with my navy summer suit. Both suit and bag are from years ago. But both are still in great condition.

My black Mackage cross-body bag worn with a red cardigan, black leggings, black turtleneck and black knee-high boots.
Black Mackage cross-body bag

And then there’s this green vintage bag, below. I do love this little bag. I bought it years ago at the Ottawa Vintage Clothing Show to use as a purse. But it’s really a small vanity case that comes with a key, and those little ruffled pockets for bottles and brushes. The label inside says Morton Leather Goods, London. I used it for a time back in the nineties. But I caught so many wryly amused looks from my female colleagues, when I opened it at lunch time at work, that I desisted. Still, it’s so sweet. And it looks great with my tweed jacket.

And now I realize that I have several bags that can fill the need for a bit more colour in my bag collection. This green one, my burgundy Marc Jacobs tote, my pink Cole Haan summer bag, and a large, gold leather tote from Michael Kors that I use in the summer and early fall.

Okay, let’s sum up. I am well kitted out with large shoulder bags and totes. I have a few structured, lady-like bags. Enough for my purposes. And I couldn’t in good conscience buy another small, classic cross-body bag. I have some colour in my bag collection, enough for a bit of a change from black or grey or brown. I don’t want to sink money into something that replicates what I already own. And before anyone suggests it, I have no desire to buy an evening bag which I would never, ever use.

So where does that leave me. Well, for starters, pretty well sorted for bags. Ha. But there is that navy Chloe one that I am eyeing. And I’m still considering something in cream. Not white, but a rich cream. Smallish. With an interesting shape. I’ve been looking at a couple of Polène Paris bags in “chalk.”

I love the squashy, woven design of the Bottega Veneta Jodie bag shown in my Pinterest board photos above. But Bottega Veneta? I could never fork over that much money for a purse. Even these little Bottega Veneta woven leather pouches, which are sweet, are over $1,000.00 USD, on re-sale sites. See here if you don’t believe me. Just about every Youtuber and Instagrammer who “creates content” for a living has a Bottega Veneta bag of one style or another. Mostly gifted, I presume. Similarly the Loewe Puzzle bags. I first saw Loewe bags on Emma Hill’s YouTube channel, before she got caught up in her quest for vintage Celine. The Loewe Puzzle bag is just my style. But at well over $3000.00 (CAD) it is way, way, way out of my price range. The Polène Paris bags are much more my price point.

So, what’s next in my 2022 “Sue-gality” plan? Well, I want to have a look at companies which have good ratings for their sustainable practices. See if any of their bags appeal to me style-wise, and price-wise. And I’ve faced the fact that, when all is said and done, I may not buy a bag at all. And that the whole exercise may just have rekindled my love for the bags I already own. That would, of course, be the most frugal way forward.

Besides. There is a beautiful red pant suit for spring on a site that I have been visiting quite often. Sigh.

Now before I go, I want to tell you Hubby’s fashion story.

Last fall he bought himself a new winter jacket. At Value Village, one of his favourite places to shop. He did well. It’s a pretty good coat. But the only toques he owned looked glaringly weird with the jacket. Not that he minded. Or even noticed, actually. So for Christmas I found him this beautiful burgundy toque when I was shopping in Fredericton. And then I nagged him and nagged him to wear it. At first he didn’t want to get it dirty. Then the hat was so nice and warm he only wanted to wear it skiing, and left it downstairs with his ski clothes and boots. Finally he started to wear it for everyday, with the coat. Yah! Success!

Then earlier this week, he met a few of his hockey buddies for breakfast. When he came home he said he took much verbal abuse over the hat. One long-time friend couldn’t stop laughing: “Stuey in a matching hat and coat.” In over 50 years, he’d never seen the like. And on it went, I guess.

Matchy, matchy, matchy.

So yesterday when he set off with a cloth bag of mine filled with empty bottles to take back to the beer store, I snapped this photo. “Wait, wait,” I yelled as he was about to open the door. “Your bag matches your hat and coat. The hockey boys will never believe this if we don’t have photographic evidence.”

Now, he can’t wait until the next breakfast to flash the evidence of his newly developed fashion sense. Ha.

So that’s all I have for you today, my fashion-conscious friends. Much of my research may have been for naught. But if it keeps me on my exercise bike it’s time not wasted. And yet, I may still find a bag I like and want. It’s early days. Or as I said above, I may just carry on loving the ones I own. Loving the ones I’m with. So to speak. Gad I love that song.

What about you? Up to any fashion research these days? Real or simply for the purposes of elimination of the idea that you need something new?

P.S. Links to products in this post are affiliate links (except for the link to the Polène Paris site.) If you make a purchase after clicking my link I will earn a commission which helps to pay for the blog.

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I’m feeling a bit jaded about fashion blogging these days. Not fashion blogging in general. …

48 thoughts on “Splurge Report: The Bag Edit”

  1. I am in a similar bag situation – I have more than enough. But I never use them now and I am not sure what to do with some of them, they belong to a different time and a different version of me. I am considering passing some on and just keeping a few key bags that I can imagine using because they are useful and/or occasion-specific. For some reason, bags are the most personal things I own and it is hard to let them go – they say more about me than actual clothes. But it goes against my grain to keep things that just clutter the place up. Hmm. Will need to go and stare at them, I think.

    1. I had to give away some of my older ones that no longer suited me. One to my sister who loves it. And one to a young friend who was moaning that she couldn’t find a brown bag. At our next Covid-outdoor-drinks party in 2020, I surprised her with my old brown Coach bag, in great condition. She was thrilled. And it still makes me smile to see it on her arm.

  2. You have everything you need indeed-it is time for pure love (bag)!
    Love,love your boots
    Dottoressa

    1. Thanks, Dottoressa. I love them too. Partly because they are very comfortable and partly because the style look a lot like riding boots, but are still fitted enough on the lower lag for me.

  3. You have some beautiful bags & the Holt Renfrew one is my favourite . It’s not easy finding a black bag with personality but without gimmicks . I’ve always been susceptible to a lovely bag & have very fond memories of bags I let go years ago . Like Annie most of my ‘good’ bags don’t get many outings these days . Some are just too ladylike for now . The ones I still use regularly are both green . One a Jil Sander in green leather similar to the one in your photos & the other a Healthy Back Bag in sage fabric – very cheap but so useful . I’m waiting to see what you decide .

  4. I too own more than enough in terms of bags! I love the r÷search and thought you have put into selecting a new one. I will sling a new purchase over my shoulder and march up and down the store aisles a few times, eyeball myself in a mirror and then plunk down my card. That process usually means it’s the right color bag but there is something amiss,,,,not enough pockets inside, I am not really happy with the grain or strap. I feel like my purses are teenager….loved but irritating nonetheless. No one favorite amongst the hoarde. So I have never had a perfect handbag relationship. I know you are not asking for advice but do consider throwing caution to the WI d and have a mad passionate affair with a bag you see based solely on sight! Practically be damned! We only live once Sue grab a bag that takes your breath away! Tell Stu he looks pulled together and quite nice in his ensemble!

    1. I do. Not all of the time, but when I love a bag and it’s good quality and I think I’ll still be using it in years to come, I don’t mind spending $300.00. Mind you several of my bags are vintage, bought for a song, one (not shown in the post) gifted to me by my grandmother. A couple were purchased at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale at 40% off. And I do shop around widely. I considered a much cheaper bag at Winners when I was shopping for my Fossil bag, but up close the quality was not good at all.

  5. Melissa Ellen O’Neill

    Just to say I bought a Loewe Puzzle bag before I knew what it is. I got it in a mid denim blue colour rather than sensible black or brown. And I have no regrets. It works well as a cross-body, top handle and clutch but I have never figured out the backpack arrangement that was demonstrated by the sales assistant. It’s brilliant for travel, brilliant for everyday and pretty good for parties . But the best thing is the colour which just goes with everything.

    1. You’re right. And I love a satchel bag. I used to have one in the 80s but it wasn’t good quality and the “leather” eventually peeled. I’d love one in a fabric, like an old-fashions school bag.

      1. Take a look at the Cambridge Satchel Company. It’s a small Mom and daughter run British Company and looks to be high quality, well made. I’ve been oogling for a while!

  6. I do computer research all the time. But I call it e-window-shopping! Not too much difference,especially since I am mostly house bound these days. But think of the gas I am saving by not going from mall to mall! lol I tried to make a list last year from all the bloggers suggestions. Almost accomplished it, but Christmas got in the way. But the after sales on line were great! Still have a few things left which are easy to put on the list for this year. And keep on researching! I find that smaller crossbody bags work better for me now that I need to use a rollator or walker to get around with. So am ditching,carefully, all the bigger bags that I once knew and loved! Stay warm. Love the all burgundy look!

    1. I check out pieces that other bloggers or vloggers wear too. But I love IG and Pinterest the best for inspiration. And flip back and forth between the ap and Google on my Ipad while I’m listening to my audio book on my phone and pedalling my exercise bike. Multi-tasking. 🙂

  7. I love “stalking things online, waiting for them to either go on sale or for me to bite the bullet and pay more than I want to. The longer I’ve stalked it, the more I enjoy the wearing! I’ve also been keeping all by bags out on a shelf where they’re visible and easily swapped out – out of sight, out of mind!

  8. My needs have changed & my large bags I used in my past professional life in NY don’t always work in the California desert. I like a small crossbody now when I shop; I resurrected a 20 year old Vera Bradley blue print for golf; I still own & use a battered LV my aunt bought in 1984. My old bags are like my friends; cherished & loved. Had dinner with a very fashionable NYC friend last week; she was carrying a red patent leather, small, handles & strap & very chic. She told me she bought it at Marshals for $20. That’s what I want now!

  9. I splurged on an Alexander McQueen ‘Curve’ bag and my goodness, I love it! So much pleasure from a little purse. My dream for a long time was to have a Bottega Veneta but as you noted, they’re incredibly pricey (trop cher pour moi). I bought my bag from a German store, and got a couple of hundred (US) dollars discount due to the exchange rate and a sale.
    By the way, I have been on the hunt for a Max Mara jacket – you look so good in yours, and I love that high-button style – and just nabbed one in black! Trying to investment shop these days, but it was marked down, thank goodness. I am grateful for the inspiration.

    1. I haven’t shopped Max Mara for years. Except for when I was in Zagreb and Dottoressa took me to the Max Mara stores there. Oh… the temptation.

  10. Sue, this is such fun to watch your process. I know I don’t ‘need’ another purse, but sometimes you can hear them calling from across the store. Like Mary Katherine, I keep mine on a shelf so I can see what is there, and smile at those that are that wee bit different than the usual person out there. I have a floral bag that is a perfect Kate Spade type, cream background with botanical flowers that not everyone would want to carry, but I makes me smile and feel lighter just to carry it. Have to wait a few months to get that one out. I must say, I only have one black purse, and that was a gift from my mom, hobo style pebbled leather but for some reason I tend to reach for a coloured one instead. Lately I have been carrying one of 3 grey bags that match my hair and I do like the effect of that as well. I did pause in my reading of this post to go check on just how many I do have, and now realize why I am just so picky about what I would want next….. I have over 20 so in reality that should do. That is not counting the collection of evening type unusual ones in a drawer.
    It made me smile when I saw the title of the post in my inbox, ah, back to fashion, one of my favorite subjects. I like how you let us in on your thought process so we can be engaged in the process along with you.
    Stu looks terrrific in his matching hat, and he is a great guy to continue wearing it after all the ribbing.
    Think I will go back and organize some purses, purely research you understand. haha.

  11. The Polene Paris handbag is darling. I’ve been in love with the shape for awhile. But! They don’t have an outside pocket for easy access to one’s keys. That is a no go for me. I don’t want to be out in the cold, out in the rain, nor the dark searching around in my bag for my keys or sunglasses. I’ll continue my search for the perfect light coloured bag for spring/summer. It gives me something to dream about.
    Stu is obviously a good sport. Some men would would come home after the ribbing and park the toque, and never wear again,

  12. Ah yes, I too have way too many bags! None terribly expensive but all loved and used. Different shapes, different colours, different styles. Our spare bedroom has been converted into my dressing room so I have an old bookcase that holds them all in sight so none are forgotten. I also have a collection of small evening bags that I have collected over the years. None of which EVER see an evening out anymore but I still keep them as they are all so beautiful and make me happy. Added bonus, all my family and friends know if they need one I’m the one too call. Lol
    Good luck in your search Sue. I am sure when you see the perfect bag you will know!

  13. Bags ! love reading about them all.
    I was wondering how tall you are ?
    I notice you wear your cross body bags higher than some of the links you shared. I’m never sure what my preferred position is .
    I do agree being able to take them off quickly is important.

    1. Yes. I noticed that the links have the bags worn long. Not sure if this is to demonstrate the length of the strap or not. I’m 5″7.5″ by the way.

  14. I hear you about husbands and fashion…my former fashion plate, bespoke suit spouse has completely lost it after retirement. Sports a quilted Columbia jacket with an awful Che Guevara style cap all.the.time. Only wears baggy jeans, flannel plaid shirts ( Costco) and a fleece vest….it’s as if he has been possessed by Elmer Fud!! at least your man looks put together. Can’t complain too much though as husband brought me a fresh bunch of tulips the other day for no particular reason.

  15. Handbags (and shoes) = Happiness as far as I am concerned. Hubby would say I have more than enough of both but when something gives you pleasure then why not? We are a long time dead. I love some of the ones you own and those you are considering, the Fossil one in particular.
    Lately I have moved to much smaller bags so I carry less junk and this has been kinder to neck, shoulders and back.
    Stu looks a mass of dash in his matchy outfit.

    1. I really like my small cross-body bags. Which is why I have steered clear of most bags that don’t have that option. I change my bags up way more now that I’m retired. And a side effect of that is I don’t collect a bunch of stuff in them anymore.

  16. All Stu needs to complete that matching outfit look is a pair of Blundstone Chelsea boots in Redwood. 🙂

  17. I love your Holt Renfrew bag. I like a good saddle bag and a good bucket bag.
    I believe that I told you about digging into storage to find my old Coach black leather bucket bag and I have been enjoying using it.
    I hope that you start using the green bag again. It’s lovely and I really like the idea of the ruffled interior pockets. No one else has a bag like that and that makes it more special. Perhaps tie a colorful silk scarf on the handle for spring.
    I love the Polène Paris bags. They are very unusual and not too pricey.
    I have more bags than I know what to do with. I parted with a few last year and I think that I will part with a few more the next time I have the time to sort them.
    A bag that I thought long and hard about and finally purchased is a black MC Wallace. It was a lot of money for a nylon bag and I debated for a while. That was about 4 years ago and I use it all of the time. It has held up beautifully and the bag itself is very light (although I stuff it with too much).
    I love a good vintage bag find. I would love a classic Chanel bag, but as you pointed out about some of the other designer bags, even on resale sites they are so expensive.
    I want to hear more about the red suit!

  18. Bags/purses have always been my fashion weakness, perhaps because when I was young, I could only afford one (inexpensive) bag at a time. When I retired from the corporate world, I had planned to blow my entire last paycheque on a Louis Vuitton Manhattan bag and my employer surprised me by presenting it to me as a retirement gift. Seventeen years later it’s still my favourite bag. I’ve even had it repaired once (free) as it has so many miles on it. I agree with Dottie’s comments above about the MZ Wallace bags. I bought a black nylon one with a million compartments many years ago and it’s my go-to travel bag as it’s lightweight, can be worn as a cross-body and can hold my water bottle, iPad, collapsible umbrella and all the things we need to tote around when we’re sightseeing. It has so many zippered compartments it’s good to securely hide your passport, money, etc. It would take a pickpocket a week to find your valuables. You definitely MUST get the Chloe bag but in RED. I promise you will not regret it. I have a Kate Spade bag in a tomato/coral colour and it seems to go with so many things. I feel alive when I carry it. I recently sold some good bags on Poshmark that I no longer use which helped offset the original investment.

  19. As usual (really!), you are looking fantastic! And I love seeing all these gorgeous, versatile, NOT-over-the-top bags. Moreover, I confess to be a tiny bit of a Fossil junky. I have rarely been able to resist a Fossil shoulder bag and especially cannot resist a Fossil crossbody. (I have four. OMG. Do I really have four???)

    These days my main fashion preoccupation is with jewelry and other accessories. Just love love love giving into looking…. and maybe (wink) a bit more.

    Amazing what (mischief?) can take place online!

    xo
    D.A.

    1. Thanks, DA. I’ve really missed vintage shopping these past two years. I used to go to the Vintage Clothing Show here in Ottawa every year. Usually only looking at bags and jewellry.

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