[Hermès Kelly 32cm Ostrich Bag in Tangerine. Image: christies.com]
Since I did a big handbag post yesterday, I’m kind of in the mood! While I was composing my wishlist, I was thinking of handbag features that I truly dislike. I’m talking strictly aesthetics, here—no bitching about brands I don’t like, environmentally-unfriendly manufacturing practices, celebrity spokespeople I irrationally dislike, or anything of the sort. Here are my top 10 handbag design pet peeves:
Non-adjustable shoulder and crossbody straps. This is the biggie for me as a short person. Sometimes, even the shortest setting is still too long for me on semi-adjustable straps! I understand that fully adjustable straps look more at home on casual and rugged bags, and that they would cost more to make, but I have not bought bags simply because their shoulder or crossbody straps are too long for me. I imagine tall people have the opposite issue. Not everyone is the same size, nor does everyone like to have their bag drop at the same height! If I’ve already paid a lot of money for a bag, I don’t want to also have to pay a cobbler to adjust the strap for me (granted, it was pretty easy to get a cobbler to punch a new hole in a Tory Burch strap, but I was too leery to have them do it to my Chloés, so I just wear them a little bit lower than I’d prefer). I adore my Linea Pelle and Fossil bags because they have fully adjustable straps.
Ironically, my favorite bag doesn’t have an adjustable strap—I’m just lucky that its long strap somehow fits me perfectly both on the shoulder and crossbody:
Top handles that stick up when using the shoulder strap option. I do have a bag that does this (and one of my wishlist bags, the original Givenchy Nightingale, does as well), but the handles of these bags are low-profile and floppy, so they are less annoying. The Mini Pashli, pictured below, also just about gets away with it because the bag is so pretty…
North-South shape. How are you supposed to find anything in a bag that’s taller than it is wide? Particularly if the bag is kind of narrow to begin with.
Fringe. I just don’t like fringe. (Bangs are OK. I love Fringe, though.) Some fringe bags are not too bad, like this recent Chloé—though I still wouldn’t want it. Most just give me the heebie-jeebies:
Ostrich and other awful textures. I think ostrich leather looks diseased. (The Birkin below auctioned for $20k at Christie’s, so what do I know?)
Boring or obnoxious lining. Plain black lining is terrible, as it turns the bag into a black hole. Come on, give us some pretty lining! Obnoxious lining is obviously subjective, but I hated the old MARC by Marc Jacobs signature lining so much that I refused to buy the Baby Aidan that I otherwise quite liked. On the other hand, I love the lining on this bag, but some others find it one of Rebecca Minkoff’s most annoying (she changes her lining every season or so, or at least she used to).
Faces I cannot unsee. For example, the Céline Luggage Tote looks like an unamused face with a cigarette hanging out of the corner of its mouth.
Blatant knockoffs. I know everyone is inspired by everyone else and that’s just fine. But straight up unimaginative copies, like Steve Madden’s, are not my cup of tea.
Logos that are visible from space. That’s you, Michael Kors and Tory Burch. I admit that I do own a Tory Burch Amanda Hobo, which has, by a long stretch, the most massive logo of any bag I own. I only have it because I had to get something with Beyond the Rack store credit, and there was nothing else I remotely wanted. It’s a nice bag, just stupidly heavy due to the medallion logo. (Also, the red leather dye rubbed all over my white linen shirt the last time I wore it. I don’t own any other Tory Burch stuff, nor do I buy anything from Beyond the Rack anymore.)
All that said, I still kind of want a Gucci Disco Soho. I’m getting weak in my old age, I tell you…
Monogram Print. Coach, Fendi, Gucci, Guess, Louis Vuitton, MCM, Michael Kors, and plenty more—like to use monogrammed patterns all over their bags. Burberry check falls into this category, too. Some love it, some hate it, and I fall into the latter category. It’s less obnoxious to me with tiny patterns, however, and I will also give a pass to Louis Vuitton’s recently discontinued Multicolore line, just because it’s kind of unreasonably cute and tacky.
What are your handbag pet peeves?
(Oh, and if you know of a bag that combines several of my 10 pet peeves, I would love to see it! Haha!)