KEYSINFONET CONTRIBUTOR — I got the call -- the call from my friend letting me know her new bundle of joy had arrived.
It was a Birkin. I was as excited as if she would have told me she was having her first baby. We promptly named her red beauty Scarlet.
Birkins are the holy grail of handbags. Handmade by Hermes of materials including crocodile, ostrich and diamond-studded leather, the bags are produced in limited quantities that create exclusivity for owners. Birkins are a status symbol few will have the privilege of knowing. Victoria Beckham supposedly own more than 100 Birkins worth more than $2 million.
Birkins are not within the realm of possibility for most of us but that doesn't mean you shouldn't own a great bag. There are four things on which every woman should splurge: A great haircut, a classic watch, quality shoes and a beautiful bag. These are things that are worn daily and can transform a simple look into a fabulous outfit. If you invest wisely in these four pieces, your outfits will always look chic no matter what you're wearing.
Everyone's splurge level is different. Some people can afford several thousand dollars for a bag, while others may only have $100 to spend. Regardless of your budget, your money will go further if you are smart about how you spend it. Shop consignment stores and online discount stores for greatly discounted designer bags. Sales are another way to spend less for a beautiful bag.
When shopping for a new bag, make sure that it can hold MILK -- money, identification, lipstick and keys. It should also be able to fit your cell phone. If the bag is too small to carry these things, don't buy it. A bag that small isn't functional and therefore won't get worn.
There are four essential handbags no wardrobe should be without:
- Oversized tote: Choose a durable fabric that can be used for both work and travel. Choose a style with minimal hardware that can hold both your computer and a few personal items.
- Black clutch: This is a wardrobe staple that can be used for casual occasions and evening wear. A simple black clutch will always be in style and be worn for decades.
- Classic handbag: Choose a simple and sturdy silhouette in a neutral hue such as tan, brown, black or navy. This is your everyday bag that can be worn with every outfit. I would argue that deep burgundy, red or snakeskin bags are also great neutrals that can be used every day and double as statement bags.
- Statement clutch: You need one outfit maker clutch in a bright color. This is the bag that transforms a simple look to fabulous.
Handbag and accessories designer extraordinaire Frank Zambrelli says: "Of course, every woman should have at least one over-the-top bag. To really experience life, you need to flirt with extremes. A life lived safely in monotone is not a life lived at all."
So go bright, bold and beautiful for your next arm candy.
Leah Maki is a fashion-obsessed style blogger. More of her fashion advice can be found on her blog, LeahsFabulousFinds.com.