To buy or not to buy: a Coach purse
Cheap is my middle name. I avoid toll roads like the plague. I'm not interested in a dress that is less than 50 percent off. The exception: cheap handbags. It has to be real leather. It has to be Coach.
I've been a Coach girl ever since I traded out my college JanSport for a grown-up look. I blame my expensive taste on my mother, who carried Coach before it was a household name. She taught me that the right bag is worth every dime -- but not all designer bags are worth the investment.
Whether you splurge on Coach or a more expensive brand, you walk the fine line between being classy and showy. Here's how to balance it:
- DON'T buy trendy. Remember Coach's patchwork squares? Me too. Sooo 2006-07.
- DO opt for classic shapes and colors. A satchel or hobo is worth years of compliments.
- DON'T be a walking billboard for your brand. I don't buy Coach fabric bags, because I think it's tacky to show off a brand. Taste is about pairing cheap and expensive, so no one knows.
- DO invest in fine leather, and condition it regularly to keep the color over time.
- DON'T buy an overpriced bag at the Coach store at International Plaza or the Brandon mall.
- DO make the trek to the Coach outlet store in Ellenton for the best deals -- or wait for a sale at department stores like Dillard's, Macy's and Nordstrom.
With the economy circling the drain, I'm not buying a new bag this winter. I don't need to. My black Coach hobo looks better than ever, with a rich patina blooming on the aging leather. I'd have gone through three cheaper purses in the three years that I've owned it. Instead, I bought the one that I loved.
~ Deal Diva Letitia
(Photos: Top, this red leather hobo, $278, will keep its pop for years. Not so for the metallic Sabrina, $298, from the Op Art collection, which will look dated next season.)