Written by Stacy Chbosky
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Well-made handbags are one of the few fashion items that noticeably improve an outfit, while never going out of style. Whereas sunglasses, shoes (particularly women's shoes) and most clothes are fashionable for only a painfully brief period, classic leather purses actually become more beautiful over time. Leather briefcases or leather tote bags actually look better the older they get, if they are constructed of top quality, flawless leather.

Of course, wearing a frivolous, trendy purse can also be a lot of fun. Carrying your lipstick and keys in a little glittery bag that looks like a Chinese take out container, or hauling your cell phone around in a fuzzy banana bag can add a light-hearted note to a dressy outfit. Just make sure you know the difference between classic bags that will last for decades, and whimsical purchases that will last for weeks. And make sure you pay for them accordingly!

The Price of Handbags and Luggage

How much should you spend on handbags and luggage? The answer has more to do with the quality of the pieces than the size of your bank account. No matter how much money you make, you should be willing to pay good money for good bags. Consider how much you will save in the long run.

For example, you can spend a decent amount of money on a so-so piece of luggage, or you can spend a bit more for classic, handmade, calf skin luggage. The so-so piece of luggage is something you will want to replace in five to ten years. The calf skin bag is something you will use for the rest of your life. The more expensive leather luggage quickly pays for itself.

Handbags and Luggage Sets

What about luggage sets and matching handbags? Matching luggage, particularly when it is hand-stitched leather luggage, creates a wonderful impression. Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, a matching luggage set is a pleasure to fly with. It creates an impression of luxury and elegance, and makes the traveler appear very "together."

If you would love to buy a luggage set, but can not afford the expense, consider creating a set one piece at a time. Pick a set of luggage from a reputable company. If the company changes their designs every year, buy a piece of luggage once every few months until your set is complete. If the luggage design is so classic that they include it in their catalogue for years, even better.

When you buy handbags and luggage in a set, don't be afraid to go bold. Although you are buying something you plan to use for decades, that doesn't mean you have to stick to basic black or brown. Do you love color? Then chances are you're still going to love color in ten, twenty or thirty years. A beautiful red leather luggage set can be a joy to pack and carry, and is just as timeless as its more neutral counterparts.

Finally, if you are going to spend a little more for beautiful handbags, just make sure they truly are well-made. How are they stitched? What type of leather is used and how was it treated? Was the bag stitched by hand, or mass-produced? The difference between decent, mass-produced bags, and handmade bags of exceptional quality, will become more and more obvious with the ensuing years. Decent bags will grow uglier. Exceptionally well-crafted bags will become more beautiful.

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