As any true purse lover knows, one of the most exhilarating moments you may have is unexpectedly spotting a bag you admire in the wild. Depending on your geographical location, it’s fair to say that this happens to some of us much more often than others. It may seem like a small detail to many, but as handbag obsessed as I am, I always take great delight in traveling to fashion meccas such as New York City, Paris, or Singapore to get a glimpse of all the fabulous handbag eye candy. I’m bound to spot dozens of bags when venturing through those cities, whereas when I am in my hometown I see far less.

Don’t get me wrong, I do see handbags in the wild living in a District of Columbia suburb, but it’s often the usual suspects (ie: many, many Louis Vuitton Neverfulls). I live about 45 minutes outside of the city center, and like most cities, the closer to downtown I am, the more handbags I am likely to spot. My favorite place for bag gazing has to be the Tyson’s Galleria in McLean, VA (about 15 minutes outside of DC). Bustling with fashion lovers and high end boutiques such as Chanel, Gucci, Prada, Celine, Bottega Veneta, LV, Saint Laurent, and more, I am always lucky and catch my best bag sightings there. It’s by far the best local spot I’ve found for bag watching, and I’m lucky to have a place where I can spot so many fabulous bags. My latest trip to the Galleria resulted in a sighting of a Celine Luggage Tote, a Dior Book Tote, and a Bottega Veneta Cassette bag, all of which I spotted in wonder and admiration.

Before moving back to my hometown in DC’s suburbs, I spent 3 years living in Boston and 2 years living in Cork City, Ireland. In my personal experience, Boston wasn’t the ideal place for spotting fashion’s latest trends or classics, and my handbag sightings in the wild were fewer and far between. However, Beacon Hill and Newbury Street were my go-tos for fashion and purse gazing, I could almost always conjure a Chanel or Hermès sighting if I perused the areas long enough.

Living in Cork City, it was very rare for me to spot designer handbags. In order to shop the premier designer boutiques, one must travel to Dublin, about 2.5 hours north of Cork. I purchased my first big ticket item during my time living in Ireland, and my husband and I made the journey to the LV shop in Dublin so that I could purchase my Neverfull. It’s interesting that my Neverfull felt like the rarest bag in all the land to me at the time, and now I can’t leave my home without seeing one or two in the wild.

These have been my personal observations in the cities that I have been lucky enough to call home or to take vacations to. After reflecting on this, I’ve realized that how popular a handbag is in my neighborhood has the ability to change my handbag tastes. I mentioned that my Neverfull felt like such a rare treasure to me when I first purchased it living abroad, but I must admit that seeing it on every person I pass has made it lose a little bit of it’s sparkle for me. Because of this lesson with my LV Neverfull, I’m learning to purchase handbags that are a bit more obscure, or go for vintage bags such as my Marc Jacobs Stam so that I’m carrying a bag less ubiquitous.

Do you get to spot handbags in the wild where you live? Has it changed your shopping habits at all? If you are missing handbag peeping in your hometown, you can always watch these shows to get your fill. I would love to hear abut your personal experiences with bag gazing in your neighborhood!

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