Luxury fashion houses vs boutique and beautiful

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Pre-Mammahood, I had a slight obsession with bags. I didn’t indulge in big designer brands as not only were they well out of my price range, but I really had a thing for boutique Melbourne designers like Elise Caarels and Elk Accessories. These bags at the time ranged from around $250-$500, and were made of just the most beautiful and luxurious leather. The designs were always a little different and I was always complimented on what original bags and clutches I wore.

In fact, I didn’t just love boutique-style bags – I loved unusual everything. You would always find me and my best friend at Paddington Markets on a Saturday spending a small fortune on handmade jewellery, and clothing made by up-and-coming Sydney designers.

I still have the rustic, un-treated wooden framed drawings that I bought there many years ago hanging up in my room, and they look as beautiful as ever.

And then I moved abroad with my now husband, where we spent some time in Europe. Gone was the close proximity of the fashion markets I so loved and I was introduced to the commercial world of Zara, Mango… And of course Prada, Jimmy Choo and Miu Miu among others.

While Zara and Mango were the affordable choice of fashion wear for my time in Holland, being in Europe presented a whole new dimension of shopping for this Australian girl. Living in Sydney, you aren’t as exposed to big luxurious brands in your local stores or boutiques (back then, you had to go out of your way into the city and face judgemental stares from apprehensive shop assistants and security guards) and so I wasn’t used to having a plethora of gorgeous designer clothes, shoes and bags sold so casually and openly – and just a little walk away from my apartment in my little Dutch Village.

I think that’s when my appreciation of large fashion-houses kicked in. When I saved up and bought my first pair of Prada shoes, I noticed the intricate beading, quality of leather, and comfortability of them. The bronze, flat Miu Miu sandals I had on my mind for my next purchase just reeked of high fashion, despite the lack of a stilletto. I became a little obsessed with quality vs quantity, allocating the great majority of my fashion budget on fewer but more luxurious things.

And when it was time to pack our things and come home to Australia, I took with me the few designer things I bought and they have stayed with me years later, along with a few extra purchases along the way to add to my collection.

However when I had a baby, gone were the beautiful bags and in came the great big baby bag, of which was designed to carry everything but the kitchen sink. I stuck with this theme until just recently, when I walked into a gorgeous gift-like boutique selling gorgeous bags from yes, you guessed it, Elk Accessories, one of my old local favourites.

It was a small, cross body gorgeous mint and brown leather and it was just big enough to fit my wallet, phone and lip gloss – a far cry from the enormous Mimco baby bag I had been carrying for the last few years.

And $149 later, my obsession for Cross Body Bags started. The only problem I had was that I still needed a separate bag for my girls things and so I invested in a cute little hobo Seed backpack to carry their drink bottles, sandwiches, snacks, nappies and change of clothes.

It was the perfect situation.

I’ve always loved vintage leather so I started looking on sites such as Etsy for restored Cross Body bags and found two that I loved – for a grand total of $60! I just found a Coral one on sale at Witchery for $99 reduced from $199 and today, darling, I found my next splurge item, the Chloe Marcie Cross Body bag of deliciousness.

So what’s my style today? I would call my style a good mixture of everything. I love high fashion but I am realistic enough to know I simply can’t afford it all the time. One thing I will not ever compromise is quality, I don’t care if its $10, if the quality is good I will buy it (but chances are it won’t be at that price)

And the same goes for copies! At the risk of sounding like a snob, I will never do imitations, because what is the point then?

Bottom line, I will always be a sucker for boutique and beautiful things, and because they are in my price range, they are even better. I love having non-commercial yet simple, high quality things that won’t date and chances are I will never change.

But on that note… my Chloe Marcie Cross Body bag awaits… Add to cart…

Pictured

- Elk Accessories Stockholm Clutch

- Chloe Marcie Bag in Blue

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