Aspinal’s creative director Mariya Dykalo on making the right investment

You should spend more on handbags than on clothes and shoes. A good quality bag is an investment, which can be passed down through generations. A bag is a statement; it says a lot about a person. And a new one will refresh your whole wardrobe.


Think about your lifestyle. If your look is low-key, go for a slouchy leather bag, like our Hobo shape. If you like a sporty look, or ride a bike, choose a hands-free messenger bag or backpack. Structured bags look great for work, or if you have a lot of dressy daytime events. Petite women can go for small or medium bags, but if you’re tall, it’s important not to choose a small bag, because it can look a bit out of proportion.

Choose the right fabric. Saffiano leather has a great finish; it doesn’t get as damaged as some leathers, and you can wash it. Even light coloured saffiano leathers stay clean. Canvas is lovely for summer. Suede and nubuck look beautiful together; people assume they’ll get dirty quickly, but actually, they wear very well.

If I could only choose a bag in one colour, it would be nude. You can wear it any season, it adds light to the skin in winter, and it will go with any outfit. Otherwise, silver bags are good for spring and summer, a brightly coloured bag will add life to toned-down clothes like jeans and tee shirts, and brown and black bags will always look stylish.

If you’re buying for someone else, think carefully about their style. Evening bags make great gifts, because everyone has parties and summer events to go to. And it’s unlikely that you’ll go wrong with a classic, ladylike bag, like a Kelly bag.

If you want your bag to last, you need to look after it. Many brands offer care creams and sprays. The terrible English rain can be very damaging to leather. And when you store a bag at home, don’t put anything on top of it; that way it will keep its shape. Sometimes you see women who’ve just killed their bags, but in a way, I love that, because it means they really love the bag.