Wardrobe planning #20: Modern handbags

Having written about and shown my vintage handbags last week, I thought I would turn to my modern (?…is that the opposite of vintage?) bags. Now, I am a very ordinary person with a small budget and so have to be sensible about the amount I can spend on handbags. There is no way that I will ever be able to afford an Hermès’ or any of the other major designers’ handbags. But I can enjoy looking at them on The Purse Forum!

In the early days, my 20s and 30s, I probably only owned one or two. My main bag would be used just about every day until it fell apart. Then I had a couple of small evening bags and beach bags, that kind of thing. My main bag would always be leather and probably black or brown, although I did occasionally branch out into blue or red. I have also always had a weakness for a bit of bling.

As I got older, I began to spend a little more and buy better quality bags which lasted longer. By adding in a few more, I could rotate wearing them and have them for different uses and seasons. I now have a spending ceiling of £300 and can find some lovely items at that price level.

I am generally a shoulder bag person and need to put quite a lot of things inside, especially since I became so ill. So medications and a water bottle are necessary, as well as the usual purse/phone/keys/glasses etc. My day-to-day handbags, therefore, need to be at least a reasonable size. On the other hand, as I am now so weak and ill, I cannot manage anything too large or heavy. So handbag buying from now on will be a bit of a minefield.

When it comes to colour choices, I now think of “my” colours when I am looking for a new bag, so mainly navy, purple, shades of brown, cream and turquoise. I think that this is a good way to choose handbags that will fit with my wardrobe.

So here are some of my bags, in a rough chronological order of purchase:

Small bags

I will get this category out of the way first. Small handbags don’t really suit my present lifestyle, as I mentioned above – I have so much stuff that I need to have close by in case I have a massive coughing fit. As I don’t go out often on an evening any more, my decorated bags are almost redundant, although I keep them in the hope that my health might improve. Anyway, the collage below shows a few of my smaller bags.

Small shoulder bags and evening bags.

Small leather shoulder bags and beaded evening bags.

Medium to large bags

Francesco Biasia (no longer in business but still available from eBay and resellers)

Shoulder bag – glazed leather – purple with gunmetal fittings – Francesco Biasia – SS2005?

This has been my main bag since I bought it on holiday in 2005 and has been used day after day until I retired. I still love it and use it often, especially during the cold months. It has held up well, apart from some wear in the stitching. The colour does fade over time and then I polish it with a good shoe cream, being careful to buff it up well to avoid colour transfer. I have been complimented on this handbag several times over the years.

Purple leather handbag by Francesco Biasia

Purple leather handbag by Francesco Biasia

Peony and Moore (no longer in business)

Hobo bag – glazed leather – fuchsia with brown handles and old gold fittings – Peony and Moore Mariella SS2011. Note: the top image, below, shows the true colour.

I bought this gorgeous colour bag as a treat after returning to work from a long period off with illness. It is a large hobo in a shiny vibrant fuchsia leather with chocolate brown handles and brushed gold hardware. A great summer bag, it doesn’t fit with the colour scheme I now use for my wardrobe, but it looks good with navy jeans or linen trousers and a white top. I wear brown sandals when I carry this bag.

Mariella in fuchsia and brown leather by Peony and Moore

Mariella in fuchsia and brown leather by Peony and Moore

Hobo bag – leather – caramel with brown handles and old gold fittings – Peony and Moore Georgia – SS2014.

This is a similar shape to the Mariella above, but smaller and with a useful outside pocket. The caramel leather is very squishy and goes well with most things. I tend to wear this in the late Summer and Autumn.

Georgia in caramel and brown leather by Peony and Moore

Georgia in caramel and brown leather by Peony and Moore

Jane Hopkinson

Shoulder bag – leather – turquoise and black with silver fittings – Jane Hopkinson – Celeste small plaited satchel – SS2012.

I love the bright turquoise of this bag and the black makes a nice contrast, although I do try to avoid black these days. The plaited handle make a nice touch. The leather appears to have stretched in places and so I cannot carry anything heavy in it.

Turquoise leather handbag - Jane Hopkinson

Turquoise leather handbag by Jane Hopkinson


Tote bag – leather and fabric – Liberty print and tan with gold tone fittings – Clarks Minorca Bay – SS2013.

This bag is used during the Summer months when I am feeling fit enough (and flamboyant enough) to wear the matching wedges! I adore Liberty print fabrics and this Ianthe one in particular.

Minorca Bay in Liberty print fabric and tan leather by Clarks

Minorca Bay in Liberty print fabric and tan leather by Clarks

I bought this bag to go with these lovely wedges. I wish I could wear them more often 😍.

Wedge sandals - purple suede and Liberty fabric - Clarks

Wedge sandals in purple suede and Liberty fabric by Clarks

Isle Clothing

Print shopper bag – fabric – blue and cream – Isle Clothing SS2016.

A useful and very inexpensive bag that looks great with many of my navy and white/cream clothes such as t-shirts, linen trousers, jeans and skirts.

Shopper in blue and cream fabric by Isle

Shopper in blue and cream fabric by Isle


Tote bag – textured leather (Deep Blue Africa) – navy blue with light gold fittings and marine lining – Massaccesi – Midi-zip Selene – AW2016.

My favourite handbag of all time!


The Purse Forum does a great job of enabling.  The gorgeous photos are so tempting, especially to those, like me, with very little will-power! So, when I saw Forum members’ images of Massaccesi handbags, I was hooked. This company, based in Italy, makes beautiful bespoke bags at sensible prices which are within my limit. Each season new designs and new leathers are announced via their website, blog and on Facebook. It is possible to discuss, with their representative via email, which leather type is suitable for the design and then choose the colour of the leather, hardware and lining and come up with a bespoke design that meets your needs. There is a lot of choice!

I love this design so much that I am thinking of getting another one, probably in the Bronze Africa leather you can see on the small pouch below. By the way, I use the pouch as a place to store my silk scarves if the weather turns to rain or it gets too hot. I think I have written this several times before!

Midi zip Selene in Deep Blue Africa by Massaccesi

Midi zip Selene in Deep Blue Africa and Penelope midi in Bronze Africa by Massaccesi

I must repeat that I don’t make any money from this blog! Anyway, if you are interested in Massaccesi handbags, do have a look at their website, blog and also the two main threads on The Purse Forum:

Marco Massaccesi
For the Love of Massaccesi

The Purse Forum threads:
Massaccesi Handbags
Our Massaccesi Handbags Reference Pictures Only

I only have a couple more Wardrobe Planning posts in the pipeline. I am not sure if anyone would be interested in my shoe collection and I am very reluctant to post about my small amount of decent jewellery, for obvious reasons. If anything comes to mind, I will, of course, add more in this series at some point in the future.


About The Librain

Retired School Librarian
This entry was posted in Handbags, Wardrobe, Wardrobe planning and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Wardrobe planning #20: Modern handbags

  1. I love bags Anne, although I get most of mine from Accessorize or Clarks, and I’m always interested in shoes – I LOVE those wedges!


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