Thoughts on this post? Share them with me on Facebook, join the SPANily or Tweet me at @angieatkinson. ~Angie

Ed Hardy Treasure Chest Alice Satchel Bag - Silver“I want my handbags and my shoes to be stylish but I want to make sure that they’re versatile. I travel and I have to make sure the pieces I put into my bag can go with a dress or with shorts or jeans.” ~Maria Sharapova

When it comes to fashion, I’m a “high-low” kinda girl–that is, I will buy some stuff super cheap (trendy items, for example) and I will spend a few bucks for higher quality pieces that will last longer.

As for handbags and purses, thanks to a certain holiday tradition developed by my husband’s cousin in which she gives me a designer purse each Christmas, I am sort of spoiled.

I prefer a well-made bag and often times, those are more likely to be found with designer tags on them.

Reason: While this year’s dress is next year’s rag, a quality handbag will literally look stylish for decades.

Of course, many people take one look at the cost of the better handbags and decide that these bags are simply too expensive.

However, if you think about how many times you will be using that handbag over the next ten years and then divide the price of the handbag by that number, you may be surprised to find that a good handbag is actually a better deal than most other pieces of clothing.

After all, if you buy a ten dollar shirt because it is on sale and only wear it twice, it costs you five dollars for each use. A one hundred dollar handbag that you use thirty times only costs you about three dollars for each use. Most people use a good handbag several hundred times a year.

Although designer handbags come in a range of prices, a top quality calf leather handbag can cost as much as four or five hundred dollars; and even several thousand dollars if it’s from a well-known designer. Although you may not be able to tell the supple soft calf leather bag from a less expensive bag made with cowhide by looking at the bags, you can certainly feel the difference. Calf leather is smooth and flexible.

Fendi 8BR551 Zucca B-Bag -  Zucca/Light CamelIf you can’t afford a good leather  handbag, there are some other choices. The same care and craftsmanship that makes leather handbags so popular goes into the construction of Italian bags made with canvas or fabric.

Just be prepared for a fabric bag to wear out sooner than the leather handbags.

Finally, be sure you do not buy a handbag that looks like a quality  handbag at first glance, but actually turns out to be a knockoff. If the handbag you are considering is supposed to be leather, unzip it and take a look at the inside to see if you can find some uncovered edges.

Leather edges look different than those made with vinyl or other man made materials. The best way to be sure you are purchasing a quality handbag is to only purchase from reputable sources.

These are a few of my recent picks.

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