A fashion and style blog for the over 40s covering body shapes, colour palettes, how to wear neutrals, style personality and capsule wardrobes. Come on in!


A Bag Is Not Just A Bag right?

Chatting to a lady at the train station the other day (as you do), she said she loved my red bag but would never buy one because it doesn't go with everything unlike her black one. Turns out, she uses one bag all of the time. Seriously??? Don't get me wrong it was a beautiful Portugese shoulder bag in the softest buttery leather ever. And as the lady pointed out, it had numerous pockets and zips and flaps. I was still getting over the fact that she only uses one bag. Picking myself up off the floor, I was.

In fact, I'm not sure who was the most bemused. Me because she only has the one, or her because I change mine every day. I mean surely she's the odd one?? Well in the interest of research, I sent out a little text to a few friends. Ok, so apparently I may be the odd one. 80% of my pals change their bag less than twice a week and 65% use the same bag for long periods.

Hmmmmm so if I apply the results to the rest of the country, this could be a particularly awkward blog post because I want to convince you mono-bag people that a bag isn't just a bag.

So this is how I use a bag

1. To add a pop of colour

Jeans, white shirt and plain shoes can be taken to the next level with a pop of red or mustard or cobalt. So I carry quite a few bags in different colours in my wardrobe.

2. To tone with an outfit

A Soft colour palette has lots of neutral colours and so these are what I wear. Different shades of grey look lovely together and adding a deeper or lighter grey bag gives the outfit another dimension and a bit of unity.

3. To add interest

A lot of my clothes are actually quite plain and well, boring really. My leopard print bag not only adds interest but also texture to the most mundane of outfits. Summer tapestry bags are ideal for this purpose too. 

4. To pull it all together

So let's say I had on a pink printed top, navy blazer, jeans and black shoes. Nothing wrong with that. It doesn't not go together but there's no cohesion. Now if I add a pink bag, somehow it all ties together. The pink in the bag pulls out the pink in the top. Repeating colours pulls an outfit together. That little bag knows it's stuff. 

5. To update an outfit

Wearing a bag in the 'colour' of the moment is a perfect way to bring an outfit bang up to date. I brought out an ancient burgundy tote recently with the intention of using it lots this season. After all, we're told berry tones are on point this year.

6. A bag always fits!

Regardless of our weight issues (says she munching on a packet of McCoys Ridge Cut Flame Grilled Steak flavoured crisps), a bag always fits. So play on this fact and make it the stand out piece of your outfit. A black jumpsuit under a black blazer is uber slimming (dark colours always are). Now add a pop of pink or red or whatever and suddenly it becomes the main feature of your outfit, not your wobbly belly. Believe me, I've used this trick many times when I've felt the podge. 

Here are a few outfits from this week:

1. Although you can never say that black is a 'pop' of colour, wearing the bag against the pale grey coat really makes it stand out. It also ties in with the black trousers.

2. The red bag complements the red and white striped breton and pulls the whole look together.

3. I chose a mid brown (not sludge) bag as the rest of the colours in this outfit are pretty tonal. So it gives it a nice tone-on-tone look.

4. A  basic breton and black trousers are given a bit of texture and interest by way of this pony skin leopard print bag.

5. And here a pop of red gives another dimension to this navy, white and denim outfit.

Not once have I mentioned practicality and functionality. Not once. Those words don't exist in my vocab. I pick out a bag purely for what it will do for an outfit. Sod what I might need to carry although my days of wet wipes, Power Rangers, Lego Men and half eaten boxes of Sun-Maid raisins are well and truly over. Nope, if it doesn't fit in, it stays at home. As long as I've got my credit card, phone and lipstick, that's fine by me. I'm afraid, pockets and zips and flaps don't really do it for me. In fact, if the whole thing was stuck up with superglue, I don't think it would be a bother. Although as a friend pointed out, I do lose my fair share of coupons. That John Lewis free coffee and cake voucher I'm looking at you. Which invariably I find the day after expiry (head slap).

Which brings me on very nicely to this outfit that I wore the other evening. Cheated a bit as I took the photos earlier today as it was too dark when I went out. Blogger problems! Anyway, an all black ensemble. And there's nothing wrong with that. Indeed I could have added one of my black bags. But, I decided to update the outfit by adding a Mimi & Thomas metallic bronze clutch. Metallic is another trend this year and to be honest, one that never really goes out of favour. It's a safe bet.

Black Button Down Back Crepe Top - Ichi (similar here and here - great wardrobe staples)
Black Pull On Coated Leggings - Next
Black lace tie shoes - Asos (similar here and here love these)
Metallic Bronze Clutch - Mimi & Thomas

Let's take a moment to appreciate that tassel

The bag itself is a good size (read: you can fit more than your credit card, lipstick and phone in there). with a detachable strap. I love the fact that the strap isn't all chain which would probably be a tad too dressy for me. And for those of you who actually open up the bag, it's satin lined with a small pocket and zip closure.

Anyway, enough of the practical stuff. I think it gives a certain elegance to the outfit and is so much less predictable than a black bag. It would work equally well with tonal colours too such as stone, beige, cocoa and brown.

Priced at £26.95, it's a lot of bag for your buck. But hey, we've still got the code that Mimi & Thomas gave us in this post. So for a 20% discount treat, quote iwwsb16a/w at the checkout. Available until 31st October. Ooooosh!

Here are a few more bags from the same company and how you can use them to supercharge your outfits.

How about this first offering to add a bit of texture to a plain black dress. It looks so much more expensive than it really is.

Metal Beaded Mesh Clutch £24.95

Burgundy, an immediate wardrobe updater this season. Add it to your favourite going out outfit.

Snake Effect Metallic Petite Clutch £24.95

And for you trendsetters out there, Zebra print is going to be everywhere next season. Get in there early with this. Love the idea of teaming it with a pair of black cigarette pants, white shirt, a string of pearls (I know, I know but I just have this urge to wear pearls).

Or a pop of colour with this royal blue tote. And for all you bag-geeks, you get a free zip pouch inside.

So, have I been able to convert at least one of you out there? Or do you think I'm stark raving bonkers? Maybe you're already totally on board with me (please Lord, let there be one). I'd love to hear from you.

I need to say a lovely thank you to Mimi & Thomas for their kind gifts. I love discovering new brands, especially independent ones.

Looks as if I'll be the usual biennial golf widow as husband seems to have holed himself up in the cinema room to watch the Ryder Cup. Yawn. At least our son seems to have stopped doing my head in about cars and which one he's allowed to have. And that he really doesn't mind a second hand one as long as it's spec'd up. He's 15!!!! I told him that if it ends in a GTI, SE, S, GTR or anything remotely high-insurance sounding, he had better think again. In fact, I suggested that a starting point for him would be to look at the insurance groups and choose from the bottom one. Somehow a Skoda Citigo doesn't seem so sexy.

And in other news, I've added a couple more pages to the blog. Shop My Instagram links up my Instagram page and provides links to clothes I feature. The second page, My Fail-Safe Brands is a list of my favourite brands and why I use them.

Back soon.

11 comments on "A Bag Is Not Just A Bag right? "
  1. I have lots of bags but end up using the same one for months on end and I keep promising myself that I'll change it over but never do. My going to make an effort to do this now!

  2. I'm with you, you can never have too many bags (or shoes, scarves and when I was slimmer - belts). I adore handbags and wherever I go it's always bags I look at..

    1. Right there with you Susan. They're all brilliant for supercharging an outfit aren't they x

  3. My mum nearly fainted when I told her I only had 3 bags ! 😂 I promise to try harder x

    1. Well pick me up off the floor Donna. I'm aghast. Rule of thumb: you should have as many bags as you have pairs of knickers. It's the law!!! Get you some shopping!!!

  4. Hi Donna, I have about 5 bags in regular use, a small red crossbody, a stone colour, a chocolate brown, a black which gets the most use and a tapestry one in autumn colours. I choose the one which looks best with the outfit and could always use another one especially in the summer. The only drawback is getting to the checkout with no cards or cash as they're still in last night's bag. Yes I've done it more than once. Is it just me who is so disorganised?

    1. Pah! That's a small consequence to pay for having such beautiful sounding bags Elaine. No, you're not the only disorganised person - I too have the same problem lol x

  5. I have lost count of how many bags I own but am guilty of not using them to their full potential!! Going to up my game after reading this! One of my pet hates is "bag dirge", I.e. draining all the life out of an outfit by having The Wrong Bag with it....

    1. Oh that's so funny Roxanne. Bag Dirge! New one on me. If I don't have the right bag (normally when I'm on holiday or away from home), I refuse to carry one and just take my phone and lippy with me instead. Let me know how you get on with upping your game x

  6. Completely agree with you on the bag issue. Adore bags - have loads and change them often (although looking at my insta you'd think I only every wear my leopard print cross body!!!) As for your comment on pearls .. snap! I was thinking just the other day, that I'd quite like a really long set a la Coco ... to wear with black. Must start looking ;)