Monday, January 14, 2013

The Birkin-style craze

The holy grail of handbags is the Hermes Birkin. Ranging in price from $3,000 to over $20,000, their iconic style is probably one of the best known looks in the entire world of fashion. That being the case, every single handbag maker worth their salt has made a knockoff - or five. For the longest time, I resisted this trend. I've always been of the mind that if you can't afford the real thing, then don't try to fake it. While I still believe this with the 'lower' priced designers, like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel and even Ugg, I finally gave in on the Birkin trend. Why? Because no one expects it to be real and even if it was, no one would believe it anyways.

Unfortunately for me, I like a shoulder bag, and most Birkin styles are satchel style - to be either carried by hand or in on the forearm. So, I tried a whopping six times to find one that worked for me. Ultimately, I found two. 

Hearst Castle
First up, I bought Hearst Castle from JustFab back in May. I was warned that it is H-U-G-E. And it is. It is so large, in fact, that it ended up being my carry-on for our Jamaica trip. I fit my netbook, Kindle, all our chargers, small camera, magazines, travel documents, and my normal purse contents and still had left over room. It's MASSIVE. But it's gorgeous. Unfortunately, I knew I'd never carry it again, so I sold it shortly after returning to the States.

Then I attempted the undeniably gorgeous and wonderfully made Law from JustFab in pink. This purse was quite possibly one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen for $40. But it too is huge. Which wouldn't have been unmanageable if it were a shoulder bag without having to use the detachable strap. I just didn't like how it hung with that because the bag really has no structure. It would be better as a briefcase, and I just don't have a use for that. So I sold it also.

Around this time, I also tried Bullard from ShoeDazzle - which had a longer built in shoulder strap and was really pretty, but I just got bored with it because it was kind of plain. The shape was perfect though, even if it was a little on the large side.  So I sold it, too.

Next, I tried Bellarose in mustard from ShoeDazzle. They had a sale, I wanted a yellow bag, and the rest is history. This one was the best of the three I'd tried so far, but I just really didn't like the color all that much. Though, it was a good size, the shoulder strap was the right length, and it had just enough structure to not look sloppy. But, I just couldn't fall in love with the color. So, you guessed's for sale as we speak.

My next attempt at owning a Birkin style hit the jackpot - Visionary in purple from JustFab. This bag is perfect. While I wish the built in straps were shoulder length, the detachable strap isn't obnoxious. The bag is structured too, so it always just sits there looking pretty. And it sure is pretty. And the size is perfect. I am madly in love with this bag. So much so that I, who hates changing purses with a passion, may get the gray also.

Then, about a month ago I got Roam in black from JustFab. I do not actually own a black bag at this point in my life, so this was a true need. It's very similar in size and shape to Bellarose, but it's alligator, not ostrich, and the zippers and studs make this a true eye catcher. I think I've found my winter purse in this one.

I've never been much of a handbag lover. I tend to carry the same bag for at least an entire season, so I like statement bags that don't need to match my outfit or my shoes. For the longest time, I bought a new Coach twice a year and just carried that until it was time to buy the next one. Luckily, or not, I've not liked their patterns or styles for the last year or so. Which opened up the possibility of me looking at other bags to begin with. It's also helped me be more flexible in what type of purse I'm willing to carry and that's a good thing. Sometimes it's best if we step outside our comfort zone. Don't worry though, I'm not becoming the BagSquirrel anytime soon.