There was a time in my life where I was adamant I would never have a handbag. A handbag signified a grown-up life that was organised, repetitive and definitely working a 9-5. I envisioned a different kind of lifestyle for myself- free from societal constraints and rules. Yes, I was a teenager.
Then I grew up and started accumulating stuff. Very Important Stuff that I had to carry with me everyday. For a while my trusty rucksack sufficed. Slowly I came round to the idea that handbags might actually be a good idea, gasp! This really highlights the amazing ego a teenager can have. People have used handbags (or purses) in one form or another for centuries.
Handbags are symbolic though – often they are one of the emblems of conspicuous consumption I rallied against as an idealistic teen. The simple fact of the matter is that people like nice things. In fact, purchasing a handbag is a worthy investment. People covet Chanel bags, with the 2.55 being one of the most influential of them all. Coco Chanel decided she wanted a bag that she could wear over her shoulders which allowed her to free up her hands. Chanel designed the first version of the iconic 2.55 back in the 1920s then updated it on February 1955, hence the name. While I love Chanel I’ve always preferred quintessentially British brands like Mulberry and Radley London (hello little scottie dog).
Radley London launched in 1998 after the founder Lowell Harder made the move from her London market stall. Oh which reminds me of another London designer who I first encountered on her handbag and accessories stall in Spitalfields market in the 2000s Kate Sheridan. I loved the handbag I purchased from there, a lovely little bag with a horse pattern. There’s actually LOTS of amazing British handbag designers, some of which you can read about here.
So for someone who was so against handbags I now proudly own the most perfect work bag from Radley London from the Burnham Beeches range*. My Radley shoulder bag is perfect for organising all your daily essentials and handily my 13″ Macbook Air as well as my 3 year olds assorted paraphernalia.
The whole Radley bag exudes sophistication and quality. It’s a bag for life and no not like the 10p ones you get from Sainsbury’s. The brown tan leather (there’s other colours available too) is soft yet hardwearing (just like me). The inside of the Radley bag reveals several compartments, one of which is secured by a zip and there’s also a smaller zipped compartment. The lining feels sturdy and the stitching flawless. The flap is secured by a magnetic clasp and a further pocket is on the outside which is the perfect size for your mobile phone or kindle.
The Radley London Burnham Beeches shoulder bag feels grown-up, exactly the kind of bag my teenage self would have hated. My 40-something self however absolutely loves it. The quality is exceptional and the practicality is perfect. It’s a cracking bag and I feel swish AF when I use it. What more could you want?
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