I have a confession to make: When I first started my collection, I was a little shortsighted. My goal was comparable to a math equation: acquire as many classic and timeless pieces without going over my allotted “bag fund” budget. A Birkin (at this point, at least) was out of the question. Same with a Kelly. But, high up on my *somewhat* realistic list was a Prada Galleria Medium Saffiano Leather Bag, a Valentino Rockstud Leather Tote, and, of course, a Chanel Classic Flap.

When I thought about all the bags I wished to purchase, I didn’t necessarily concern myself with how functional, durable, or practical they’d be. Years later, I’ve checked off all three of them from my “to-buy” list. I’m embarrassed to admit they’ve received a lot less use than I anticipated. There are numerous reasons why. The Valentino lacks a top zipper, and the Prada is pretty stiff. I only learned this after carrying the bags quite a few times. Then there’s the Chanel, which, though gorgeous, doesn’t work as an everyday bag for me. Though it’s the perfect counterpart to a fancy dinner or swanky gala, those aren’t frequent occurrences at the moment. (Sigh.) Most days, I’m hauled up in my apartment working, which means carrying a Classic Flap to and from errands isn’t quite necessary. (That’s where my wallet keychains come in, but I digress.)

As my admiration for purses has grown, so has my understanding of what makes a bag perfect for someone. While one person may love the space and functionality of a tote, someone else may prefer a more elegant bag with a clasp.

Personally, I’m an unwavering fan of the camera bag. Forget the brand or designer; if it’s small, compact, durable, and features a reliable zipper and crossbody chain, I’m almost always game. Given it has taken me quite a few handbag purchases to learn the camera bag style is what works best for me, I can now say my discovery helps drastically tailor my search when I’m considering a new bag.

I’ll rarely filter for totes or small shoulder bags. Usually, I head straight to the crossbody or camera bag section; and luckily, the style happens to be very on-trend, meaning there’s no shortage of bags to fantasize about.

While I do appreciate the diversity in my collection, it helps knowing that when I stick with my favorite bag style, I’m confident knowing my purchase will pay off. I don’t know about you, but the worst feeling is purchasing a bag, be it $200 or $2,000, just to find out that you could have done without it. Though there’s always the option of consignment, it’s still something I prefer to avoid.

So I must ask: Do you have a favorite bag style as well? What styles typically work best for your lifestyle? Are you more likely to purchase a bag based on how well it will fit into your life? Or, would you take a chance on a bag and find a way to slowly incorporate it?

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