Last Saturday I spent the day re-living the weekends of my teenage years, working on the shop floor. Although I used to love my Saturday job at BHS (except for the terrifying weekly possibility of being sent to the manager’s office for not pushing enough ‘Gold Cards’ – only slightly offset by the Bacardi Breezer incentive for the winner) it was a real treat to be in the more premium environment of the Radley store at Westfield, Shepherds Bush.
Radley have a bright and colourful spring/summer 2013 handbag collection and asked Colour Me Beautiful to collaborate with them to help launch it. The launch was marked with a series of short films about colour analysis and some in-store events comprising the winning combination of vibrant macaroons, pink champagne, handbags and mini-colour consultations with Colour Me Beautiful consultants. So I had the pleasure of offering browsers the chance to discover their most flattering colours and find their perfect handbag.
At the end of the day I had the excitement of choosing a bag of my very own! However, as I discovered, choosing a handbag is not always easy. I had been on the Radley website for weeks in advance of the event doing my research, but just couldn’t narrow it down. I wanted them all. In the end I took the scientific approach, using the following criteria to help me:
Purpose: Gents, I’m afraid it’s a fact of life that women need more than one handbag. Imagine arriving in the boardroom with a beach bag or at ball with a satchel – no siree! So make sure you’re clear on the job of your handbag before you buy.
My purpose: I wanted a medium sized bag, large enough for my diary and Kindle, to take to the office for my other part-time job.
Colour: If you want to play it safe then find a neutral colour that suits you and goes with everything. If there are colours that are in your colour palette that you love but are shy of wearing, a handbag in that colour is a subtler way of wearing it and will add fun and interest to your wardrobe. Clashing colours and two-tone bags are on trend so if these suit your personality, go for it.
My colour: I wear a lot of colour and prints so I want to avoid overkill with my bag. I chose a plain bag in a gorgeous, neutral, charcoal-blue from my ‘light’ palette.
Shape: The shape of your bag needs to follow the line of your body. For example, Rectangles, Lean Columns and Inverted Triangles need structured bags to reflect the lines and angles of their bodies. Softer, unstructured bags work best for those with a Full Hourglass or Round shape. Triangles should avoid bags that hang at hip level as they will add width to the widest area.
My shape: I’m a mixture of curvy and straight and managed to find a bag with a structured shape but curvy edges.
Scale: your bag needs to be in balance with your overall scale – a small bag will be lost on a larger woman and an oversized bag will swamp someone who is petite.
My scale: I chose a medium sized to go with my average scale – happily, this fits with the bag’s purpose too – not always the case.
Style personality: You might prefer neat and classic bags to slouchy, more relaxed styles or you might be drawn to dramatic details or colours – go with your gut on this!
My style personality: Hmm I’m a ‘romantic’ and love lots of pretty detail. The bag I chose is relatively plain but I can add frills and fancy elsewhere. Sometimes you have to bend the rules and compromise on one of two of your criteria.
So – here is the little beauty! This is my second Radley, the first was a graduation present many years ago…but I think this is the beginning of a long relationship.