You do not need to spends thousands of dollars to get a well-crafted handbag. However, there are a few things to look for to ensure your handbag is going to last. Be aware that just because a bag is expensive and comes from a famous designer brand it does not necessarily mean that it’s well made so be sure to carefully scrutinise any potential purchase!
A handbag made from good quality leather will feel supple and soft and have a true leathery smell. Leather that is poorer quality or heavily treated loses that natural feel. Most fake leather, such as polyurethane, will be clearly marked on an item so a little investigation and reading of tags will reveal its source. Whether you buy leather or an alternate to leather is often a matter of taste and/or principle. Purchasing a great quality leather bag gives you durability and an ability to wear and age well (as long as it’s looked after!). Working with one of the principles of slow fashion, you can buy well and buy less.
A well made bag will have nice even stitching, especially around corners which can be tricky to sew. Stress points in the bag such as handles and straps and functional closures should be reinforced neatly either with stitching or hardware (like rivets)
3. Zips, hardware and fittings
Good quality zips will glide smoothly and the teeth will not be rough. Make sure the zipper pull is securely attached and the zip sewn into the bag well by opening and closing the zip several times to make sure it doesn’t stick. Any other hardware such as D-rings and rivets used should be appropriate for the size of the bag (ie. not to small or flimsy). If the handbag has feet, check the corresponding point inside where the feet are to ensure the lining has been reinforced and the feet won’t end up poking through into the bag.
Check for a lining that is not too thin and is going to wear well over time. It should be securely attached and not have any bunching or be loose. All pockets should be securely attached and neatly finished. Think also about the colour of the lining and how it can be hard to see things inside your bag when it has a dark lining.
Finishing the edges of leather handbags is time consuming and usually done by hand so it is a sign of craftsmanship when edges are polished nicely, showing attention to detail and alluding to the bag’s overall quality.