Bag Buying Tips
Pockets and compartments – interior and exterior
Shoulder bags and tote bags should have plenty of pockets and
compartments. There is a whole category of handbags called
“organizers” that have a place for everything from credit cards
to keys to cell phones. Soft-sided luggage, especially carry on
bags, benefits from external pockets to stow airline tickets,
water bottles and those last minute purchases. Special purpose
bags like golf bags have separate compartments for golf balls,
tees and other necessities. Interior pockets are useful in
almost any type of bag. They help you keep the bag’s contents
Stitching should be tight and even, with no broken stitches and
stitched reinforcement where straps and handles are attached.
Discount bags often compromise construction with poor stitching.
If you can, look at both sides of a seam. The stitching should
look the same on each side, with no visible pulling or looping.
If the design of the bag includes contrast or decorative
stitching, it should be evenly spaced and straight. Critical
stress points should be reinforced with extra stitching.
Examining the stitching is one of the best ways to tell a true
designer bag from an inferior knockoff.
Designer or manufacturer
A brand name product is almost always a better choice than a
bargain brand. Designers put their name on the line when they
market products and designer products are generally superior in
form, construction, design and function. Designer bags are the
top level of quality. The next level is a recognized
manufacturer’s name. Before you buy, visit a luggage store and
take a look at all the high-end products. You may make a
purchase then and there, once you see the difference quality
construction makes. Or check the Internet for discounted prices
on similar items.
Straps and handles
Whether it’s a shoulder bag or garment bag, straps and handles
are critical components. Look for padded straps and ergonomic
handles. The best bags will have reinforced attachment points.
Either rivets or stitching should reinforce straps and handles.
Some straps are removable – be sure the strap is easy to remove
and attach and that the hardware is sturdy and secure. Nylon
webbing is a popular choice for straps and handles. Be sure it’s
securely stitched and reinforced.
Wheels, locks, hardware and other accessories
Some luggage comes with wheels that make it easy to move.
Soft-sided luggage typically has two durable inline skate wheels
and a telescoping handle. Hard-sided luggage has normal wheels
and a strap for pulling. Whether you’re buying leather bags or
garment bags, make sure the hardware is sturdy and functional.
It should also be decorative, complimenting the look of the bag.
If security is an issue, make sure the external zippers have two
pulls. You can run a small padlock or luggage lock through the
two pulls to secure the zipper. If your bag doesn’t come with
padding on the shoulder straps, you can buy a separate pad for
it. Hard-sided luggage usually comes with combination locks.
Sure, hunting for bargains is fun. But quality and value are
better choices. That cheap bargain handbag in “faux leather, “
i.e., plastic, will crack and fray long before a leather bag
will. Even a small cosmetic bag will last longer with quality
construction. Regardless of the kind of bag you’re purchasing,
if you take the time to make an informed and sensible decision –
if you opt for quality in design and construction, you can’t go