Blogmas #2: Make Your High Street Handbag Look High End

In a world where every other blogger is toting a Givenchy Antigona or Bvlgari Serpenti (or both in most cases) it can be hard not to feel a little let down by the high street offerings for us poorer folk. 

Of course we all know and admit that 90% of the allure of high end bags is based on the prestige of the brand name alone but it cannot be argued that designer handbags are indeed aesthetically pleasing. Ever so carefully crafted, the devil is in the detail when it comes to what makes a designer bag so special. In this post I’m going to share a few little tips for transferring those qualities to high street bags so that you can still love your bag without breaking the bank. 

1. Choose Well When it comes to the bag itself, picking the right material is everything. There’s no bigger giveaway of a cheap bag than fraying stitching and handles that look like they’re about to fall off (obvs) but other things like the quality of the faux leather can be a tip off too. If you’re going for a leather-look bag, go for one with thick material and a sturdy shape than won’t bend and dent as you fill it with you worldly goods. Thin pleather will buckle and bend when things like notebook are inside it and over time the sides with fold in and the shape will give way. Bags with more hardware like metal zips and studs often look more expensive too as these things cost more to put on the bag. I got this Carvela by KG bag at Debenhams for £49 and I love it.

2. Accesorise It Once you’ve picked your bag, adding pretty matching bag charms and accessories to it can also create a high end look as the more design elements there are on a bag, the more it costs to produce. Stick to accessories that look like they could have come with the bag and match the hardware, e.g. gold with gold, for a seamlessly stylish look. Brands like Louis Vuitton sell dangling keyring bag charms that are like beautiful bag jewellery but you can find similar pieces on ASOS – win! 

Silk scarves are another great way to dress up a handbag. Originally designed for to stop the natural oils in hands from staining exensive leather bags, they can be wound around the handles or tied in a prety bow to add a pop of colour to an otherwise plain bag. A few pieces of scrap silk from a fabric shop cost just 50p each and can be wound around your bag to give the impression that it’s much more delicately designer than it looks. 

3. Style It Up You’ve picked a pretty bag, you’ve added cute accessories. So what do you wear it out with? Leggings, Uggs and your favourite sweatshirt? No! A lot of the time when I notice a beautiful bag on a woman it’s the woman that made me notice it first. Her grooming, her styling, the way she holds herself. Just as they say that you can’t buy class, you can style a high street bag in a way that oozes sophistication just enough to convince a casual passer by that your Primark might just be a Prada. Heels/flats. Makeup/no makeup. It’s not so much about the what but the how so whatever your pair it with, just make sure that you wear your best bag with clothes that make you feel confident and classy.

4. Carry It With Pride! You’d never see a Chanel Le Boy bag on the floor of the tube so why shove yours there? A huge tell-tale sign of a cheap bag is a bag that is treated cheaply. Carry your Carvela bag with as much pride as you would a Chloe bag and chances are that those who don’t know will assume it’s expensive. What’s more, you’ll feel more fond of it too. Sit you bag on your lap or another chair, never the floor and avoid putting it anywhere it can get scuffed or scratched. As tempting as it can be, avoid over-stuffing it and stretching it out just like you would a designer bag. When it’s not in use, keep it stuffed so that it retains its shape and remember why you bought it in the first place – because you like it, not just because you need it. If you follow the above, your high street bag will look great for a lot longer and you’ll feel great about it too!

I hope that this has given you some inspiration to show your high street bags a little extra love. I’m still holding out for the day when I win the lottery and can afford an Hermes Birkin bag (black, 35cm with gold hardware FYI) but until then I shall be styling up my high street handbags with pride! 

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x Jade Mercedes Fraser x