VLM Holding 8

I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to saying it until I’m blue in the face: When buying a handbag, think long term and spend more on quality. Leather really is the best option because it just get’s better with age, is more hardwearing and scuffs and scratches will only add character to the bag. Always opt for neutral tones like black, white, beige, tan or brown.

When it comes to classic bags that you’ll use throughout your life,  all you really need are three styles:

  1. A work tote,
  2. A top handle “Kelly” bag
  3. Evening clutch.

Keep an eye out for quality when selecting your bag. Look at the bags handles – are they reinforced where they join the bag with double stitching? What about the hardware? Make sure zips open and close effortlessly and ensure there’s no tarnishing. Think QUALITY!

The Work Tote

VLM Beige bag retouched

The perfect style of bag for women who carries a lot of basics like a laptop, cosmetic bag, mobile phone, wallet and brush. Since this is an everyday style, it can take a beating, so opt for a style in hardwearing leather.

The “Monique” (pictured above) by Via Venetta for Via La Moda (R4442) is a constructed style, sized to accommodate all you need. It features zips on either side that allow you to expand the size of the bag (see pic below). The textured leather ensures any scratches won’t be that visible.

VLM Beige bag zip

This tote features bottom studs (to minimize extra scratching that comes with daily use), and shoulder straps that hang comfortably over the shoulder. I really love the neutral beige tone that works with any colour, pattern and style of clothing.

The Top Handle Kelly Bag

VLM Bowling bag hold

The French luxury leather house, Hermés, named a top-handled bag after Hollywood film star Grace Kelly in 1956 when a photograph of her carrying one appeared on Life magazine. Ever since then, any small, top-handled bag is called a “Kelly”, even if it isn’t Hermés.

The top handle Kelly bag is an investment piece and is endlessly versatile and eternally elegant, so choose one in leather.

I adore the elegant Via La Moda “Hanna” in ostrich (R24 355) because it’s not too large; yet can carry all my essentials. I like the classic bowling bag shape and chocolate brown colour of the leather. Again, this style featured all the hallmarks of quality one would demand from a top end handbag: bottom studs, stitching that is even and straight, high quality hardware free of any scratches, and a suede interior. It really is a thing of beauty.

VLM Bowling quad

The Clutch

VLM Clutch holding

A perfect clutch bag should be appropriate for any night out, be it a black tie affair or a casual dinner date. There are many styles available, but the majority are small and easy to hold in the palm of your hand (hence the name, clutch) and have enough room for a mobile phone, lipstick, money and keys.

Clutch quad

You could choose one in black satin (but fabric styles can become tatty and loose their shape), but I like styles in exotic skins like python or crocodile. Now, while we’re on the subject of exotic skins, I do understand they are not for everyone. Via La Moda (a proudly South African company) source their skins only from accredited breeders that comply with the initiatives of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species).

I absolutely love the “Merenga” clutch in hornback crocodile (R14 672) from Via La Moda. It’s the perfect size and I like the dark brown colour of the skin.

Bear this in mind

It takes time to build up a collection of high quality bags. My advice would be to identify a style you like and need, then, save up for it – this could take 3 months or even a year. The idea is that once you’ve purchased it, you’ll wear it for the rest of your life, and possibly hand it down to your daughter or a relative as a keepsake one day.

You can checkout more of Via La Moda’s handbags and accessories at www.vialamoda.co.za

Tell me, did you find this post useful and do you agree with the concept of spending more on quality that lasts? I’d love to hear your thoughts.


love the top handle Kelly bag!

I agree 100% – give me the Kelly bag so i can show you just how much I agree… I will hand it down to my godchild of course because I only have boys…. #justsaying!

Personally I think a lady can never have enough bags and they say a lot about you and your sense of fashion. Of course only a handlful can afford the Via La Moda “Hanna” in ostrich, coming in at just over R24,000?? But it definitely is a beautiful piece, and one that will last and last and last…. I’m a collector of bags, and I’ll buy just about any bag, but nothing comes close to these 3 bags here. Lord have mercy!

Hi Mareca, yes the Kelly is divine and really works with anything. I personally prefer a bag I can carry on my shoulder, as I’m always lugging bits and bobs and my hands always seem to be occupied. But that’s just my personal preference. Thanks for the comment 🙂

Yes Kimberlina, I know exactly where you’re going with this 🙂 – Thanks for the comment bestie. XXXX

Hey Buhle, thanks for the comment lovely lady 🙂 I agree with you, a bag says SO much about one’s style. I can’t afford the ‘Hanna’ either – well I could, but I’d have to save up for like two years! However, that said, a bag like the Hanna would never date and I would wear it for the rest of my life and hand it down to my daughter. So glad you enjoyed the selection and thanks for leaving a comment. XX

I dislike any accessories made using exotic skins. I do like the Monique tote though. Please can you tell me where I can buy good quality fabric bags? Thanks.

I hear you about Exotic Skins, Melanie, but there is still a huge demand for them worldwide. In terms of fabric bags, I suggest you try Missibaba (www.missibaba.com) and Accessorize – they always have gorgeous, reasonably priced styles in bright, vibrant colours. I remember seeing a few really nice options at Country Road & Trenery a few weeks back (and they may just be on sale) too. Thanks for the comment.

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