Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Shoes versus bags

Bags have been getting a bad rap these days for being overpriced. Buy shoes instead! we are told.

Today I went to the V&A for a private view of the jewels which will be on exhibit in the the new William and Judith Bollinger jewellery Gallery which is opening on 24 May. I lugged home a catalogue, a press pack and a copy of Grazia to read on the tube. The receptacle in which these items were contained, along with my wallet, lipstick, compact, keys, mobile phone, was my Anya Hindmarch cream Carker. The same bag took me though three weeks in Australia, frequently having to bear the load of my lap top as well, when the airline refused my carry-on and consigned it to the hold.

The Carker still looks as mint as when I got it, eighteen months ago. So here's a question, what pair of designer shoes, worn day after day after day, would still be wearable a year after you bought them?

The cream Carker was the It bag of AW06, but it's a classic (it's been around since the mid-90s). I imagine I'll still be using it in a decade or even two decades. Of which shoes can one say that?


miss cavendish said...

I have two beloved pairs of Via Spiga patent leather, high heeled, perforated toe, lace-up oxfords--one in oxblood, the other in black.

I bought them in the mid nineties, while still a graduate student, and while I felt the cost was guilt-inducingly high then ($167 a pair), the shoes remain as fresh in terms of style and quality that I'm delighted I bought two pairs!

Perhaps this is an anomaly . . .

Anonymous said...

I do have some shoes I've had for a very long time, but if they are very special to me, I don't wear them often because I want to keep them.

I'm a shoe fan and find that that love bleeds over to bags, but not as strongly. I'm carrying a Tignangello now (much cheaper than your Hindmarch, for sure) that I'm quite liking and is holding up well.

Deja Pseu said...

The thing that keeps me from being a Shoe Gal is my wide feet and inability to tolerate a heel over three inches or anything that hurts or that I can't walk in. Bags, on the other hand, almost always fit, and rarely hurt. :-)

Bag Snob Tina said...

Dear Linda,
You are absolutely correct. 'tis shoes that are overpriced. Louboutins for $800 anyone? When did shoes rocket to astronomic-sphere? I remember when I thought $500 for Manolo Blahniks was a big deal... that was a mere two years ago.

And shoes get worn, dirty (sometimes with undesirable items I will not mention) and who can say they sold their (used) shoes for more than the retail price? No one. Your bags, however, are an investment. An Hermes bag from 20 years ago will fetch double what it did then. Do you think a pair 20 year old pair of shoes can boast same?

Not that I am biased or anything:)

And your Carker is lovely, I have it in black patent and it's as nice as the day I got it.


Gi said...

Bags, definitely bags.

I currently use a black suede hobo bag from an unknown Italian brand. It made my heart skip and I gladly paid some pretty pennies for it. I use it everyday for work and sometimes on weekends. The suede (has silver glitter in it, it's amazing) is durable. I throw it onto the ground on a daily basis and all the corners of the bag is still in great shape!

Shoes on the other hand... usually shoes I love I have to buy two pairs just so I won't mope when they die.

Anonymous said...

I'm usually lugging 15-20 books, so I stick with replaceable and washable fabric totes with a side order of amiable budget bags (I too love my Tignanello!) when I'm freed of the behemoth.

Like deja pseu, I have wide feet and no tolerance for heels over three inches. However, I can't afford the designer stuff anyway, so those are limits that keep me relatively safe, and since I was restricted to dull, essentially orthopedic footwear until a few years ago, I can get a tremendous kick, if you'll pardon the pun, from just being able to wear shoes that are actually pretty even if they're not Louboutin or (the one designer who actually makes shoes for wide feet) Weitzman. Bags just don't feel like they're about me in the same way.

dana said...

Marvelous, now I can spend whatever on a new bag! ;)

Belle de Ville said... way. When decent shoes cost $500 and bags $1500 or more it's time to consider putting the money into a more durable accessory, jewelry.
Jewelry lasts...can I repeat that, it is a lasting accessory that you can wear forever or alter or sell or melt and get your money back from.
I can take a Jackie O vintage brooch that I got from my mother that I can convet into a pendant. I've got earrings that convert into double clip brooches that I can wear on a suit lapel or cocktail dress.
This new focus on shoes and handbags is a result of our throw away mentality. A beautiful pair of Edwaridan earrings, that are 100 years old and are still wearable... and will still be wearable in another 100 years are a better choice, in my opinion for an accessory that I would spend serious money on.
And, never forget that you can melt the jewelry and get the intrinsic value of the metal and the can melt a leather pair of shoes..or handbag. When they wear out of go out of style they are without value.