How much is too much to spend on a handbag?

I was attending a ladies only networking meeting last week and towards the end, one of the ladies got up to leave.  She reached for her handbag, which was like a black giraffe pattern, and this attracted some admiring comments.  "I love it!  My Mum thinks it's ridiculous that I spent over £100 on a bag but I use it all the time and I think it was worth it".  Given that I have a bit of an expensive handbag addiction, I thought £100 wasn't very much and I did wonder how much is too much to spend on a handbag you use everyday.

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​I didn't always love handbags.  For many years, I had one handbag at a time.  Always leather, worn with everything (apart from a small leather bag that I used when I was going out) - and then I found...

"The Bag That Changed Everything"

It was a Radley.  ​It was my third Radley in fact.  I'd had a tan cross body messenger bag and used it till it was very scruffy, then I bought the same bag in burgundy.  A couple of weeks later, I was back in the shop where I'd bought it, and saw "The Bag That Changed Everything". 

The Radley Handbag that changed everything - a blog post by Image Consultant Gillian Lewis of Spectrum Coaching and Consultancy

The Bag that Changed Everything

It just sat perfectly on my shoulder, and I was hooked. I had it for a few months, then I got a promotion at work and I was having to travel to London and stay over far more often.  Well, I was now in reach of the Radley shops in Covent Garden and the King's Road so I could scoot over on a Thursday late night shopping.  A new handbag became a bit of a treat at payday to reward myself for the number of hours I was putting in at work and because I was never home and not spending money otherwise.  

Then the project I was involved with had us working out of our solicitors offices in Vine Street for several weeks.  I found the best way to get there was to take the tube to Bank, then walk - and that took me past Royal Exchange.  

Many a time I would stop and look in the windows of Gucci and Mont Blanc, and then I was brave enough to go inside the doors - because these felt like places you had to be brave to go inside; the sales assistants ready to spot the browsers at 100 paces and give some withering looks because I wasn't important enough to shop with them.

Although I'd gradually been spending more on my Radley's, the Cream Mont Blanc was the first bag I bought that I thought was "really expensive", but it seemed to be a bit of a gateway as, within a couple of months, I'd received my half yearly bonus and off I went to the Gucci shop to buy a tan Gucci Signoria, taking a very deep breath as I handed over my card to pay.

My Handbag Blueprint 

The start of a lifelong love of Gucci Handbags

The blueprint for my future handbag purchases

I love this bag with a passion.  It has taken me everywhere.  It is quite a thick but soft deerskin and hangs on my shoulder perfectly.  

I love it so much, I sent it off to Designer Handbag Hospital to be revived after many years of use.  

In fact, I love it so much, I actually bought a second one, in Bone!

It is my blueprint of the perfect handbag: large and squashy with a single, short, rolled leather handle, and a zip top (preferably not silver).

Along the way, I've made some compromises as the designers are not creating entirely for me, so I've got some with two handles, a chain handle, a flat handle, but when I stray from the blueprint, I realise my mistake since those bags get rotated back into the wardrobe far more quickly when I've used them to complement a specific outfit.  The blueprint bags take far longer to go back. 

Since I ventured into the world of self-employment, I've not been able to splurge quite so much on handbags but I have picked up a couple of fabulous Gucci's on eBay and have recently bought a great leather Burberry.  I've also been treated by my amazing boyfriend who has been given handbag blueprint lessons in Harvey Nicks in Leeds.  The saleswoman thought she would be able to pick out the perfect handbag for me.  She was wrong!

If money were no object, I've always quite fancied the idea of a Chanel handbag but I think their designs are too boxy for my body shape, and even when I win Euromillions on Friday night, I won't be tempted by a Hermes.  Even a diamond encrusted one!  I simply don't like the designs - although they do the perfect orange leather.  I've got a hole in my collection just calling out for a fabulous orange bag....  

I suppose what I'm saying is that if I had the money and I liked the design, I don't think there's any such thing as a handbag costing too much.  (And before you consider me very shallow about spending money on a handbag when there are starving children in Africa, if I had lots of money, you can be sure that I'd still be giving my time and resources to help the charities which are important to me).

OK, I realise I'm rambling about an obsession here 😀  

The real point of my post today is that deciding to buy something (you think is) expensive for yourself, because you are worth it, is OK.  It's positively to be recommended in fact.  

Buy something you love to change your perception of yourself

#selfimage #coaching

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The feelings we generate when we are in possession of a bag (or a pair of shoes, or an outfit, or a piece of jewellery) which we love creates a glow that just spreads outwards and lights us up for the world to see.  When you then receive compliments about that item (and accept them with grace rather than blushing and saying "this?" to dismiss the attention you are receiving), the positive feedback loop that starts within you is empowering.  Some of these things can start happening:

  • You think of it as your lucky charm
  • You begin to realise that you are worth it
  • You feel great
  • You interact with people differently
  • You are presented with new opportunities
  • Your life takes on a whole new direction

​You change your whole perception of who you are when you start to value yourself  

You might be sitting here thinking "I can't afford to buy Gucci handbags".  Well, you don't have to.  It just needs to be something that you love which is more than you would normally spend - it doesn't even have to be a handbag! (although my friend, Shona Easton, does make wonderful leather bags and purses if you want to treat yourself at a very reasonable price).  But whatever you choose to buy, don't keep it for "best".  Use it all the time. 

The purchase represents the act of valuing yourself, of putting yourself first, and that's a powerful act because of the signals you are sending to yourself.  

You think you're stepping out of your comfort zone but when you get there, you realise that it's no big deal.  You realise that your comfort zone is back around you.  When you realise this, you start thinking about where else in your life your comfort zone could be pushed a little.....

And where could that take you?

Go on.  You're worth it! xxx​


PS I know I am very lucky.  My expensive handbag habit started when I was in a job that was very well paid, I don't have children, I don't have any debt, and didn't have too many other expensive habits - well, apart from travelling (although I did go to Florence with a higher personal priority of taking a trip to the Gucci Mall Outlet Shop ​rather than visiting the Accademia or the Uffizi :-D) but making the decision to indulge myself meant that I felt differently about myself, and that influenced the way that other people saw me so that's why I've written this post for you.

 

 

I'd love to hear your comments on this post

Gillian Lewis
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Gillian Lewis

Self Image Coach at Gillian Lewis: Spectrum Coaching and Consultancy based in Darlington, County Durham, UK
What on earth is a Self-Image Coach I hear you ask – it’s cross between a Confidence Coach and Image Consultant.

I help clients become happier and more confident by giving them a Makeover from the Inside Out to change their internal and external view of themselves.

I'm not really interested in fashion, just what clothes can do for your self-image - that's where the Forget Fashion blog title originated, so I won't be doing much commentary on the latest catwalk styles.Instead, I write about things I come across in life that make me reflect.Sometimes it's serious.Sometimes it's just fun.Hopefully you'll like my writing style, find what I write about interesting and enjoy the experience.If you do, share the love using the boxes below - thank you 😀
Gillian Lewis
FOLLOW ME
About Gillian Lewis

What on earth is a Self-Image Coach I hear you ask – it’s cross between a Confidence Coach and Image Consultant.

I help clients become happier and more confident by giving them a Makeover from the Inside Out to change their internal and external view of themselves.

I'm not really interested in fashion, just what clothes can do for your self-image - that's where the Forget Fashion blog title originated, so I won't be doing much commentary on the latest catwalk styles. Instead, I write about things I come across in life that make me reflect. Sometimes it's serious. Sometimes it's just fun. Hopefully you'll like my writing style, find what I write about interesting and enjoy the experience. If you do, share the love using the boxes below - thank you :-D

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