The belts

The comfortable width is about 2.5 cm.

We try the bag on the shoulder to make sure the straps are good and that they are long enough to go with a jacket or coat. Vinyl belts tend to slip.

If you like to carry your bag in your hand, you are looking for short and comfortable straps, like those that are rounded.

A lined strap must be sewn and not only glued.

We like that the simple strap adjusts like a belt.

The strap clip

Ideally, we look for straps cut and formed in the same piece as the rest of the handbag, without fastening or stitching. Otherwise, to be solid, they must be retained by a good seam or a doubled and reinforced piece.

The ring that serves as a seal must be well welded.

Avoid bags with straps riveted directly into the material. The weight of the contents of the bag may cause the walls to tear.


The material used should be flexible, but not brittle. If the leather or PVC is too rigid, it may crack, especially in the cold.

If you choose a leather model, you can recognize the quality of the material by touch. On the back, the leather has a suede look. Many so-called leather bags are not 100%. In this case, the strap, the underside, the sides and the interior are generally made of PVC.

Canvas is a tough option, but be aware that it stains more easily than leather and PVC.

The bellows

We are looking for bellows sewn with the front and rear panels: those that are only glued will eventually open.

Vinyl bellows are avoided if the bag is made of leather, otherwise they will wear out faster than the rest of the bag.

The seams

We are looking for more solid double seams.

The more seams, the more risk of breakage. To make sure that they do not open, we pull them slightly.

Little bits of wire sticking out? It’s a bad sign!

The format

It all depends on our needs. At the very least, we should be able to put our agenda and a novel in it.

The bottom

It should be reinforced from the inside or the outside: the bag will stand better, keep its shape longer and better support its content.

If he doesn’t already have one, we can add plastic feet under the corners of our bag to extend his life ($ 6 to $ 12 in total, from a shoemaker).

The colour

If we opt for color, we prefer canvas or leather since, under the effect of heat, colored PVC may rub off on our clothes.

The ornaments

Beware of unnecessary buckles or the many zippers, especially on the back of the bag: they may get caught in our clothes and our nylon stockings.

The interior

We check the resistance of the lining along the seams.

A light-colored interior is preferable, because it allows us to identify the contents of our bag at a glance.

The compartments

The ideal bag has, at a minimum, a pocket and two sections inside, and a small pocket accessible from the outside.

The compartments for the cell phone and other independent pockets should be accessible from the inside or closed by a flap.

Space for cards, check books, etc. should not be easily accessible.

The clip

WE love:

the metal zipper, well sewn to both ends.

magnetic loops. Contrary to popular belief, they do not degauss cards.

the buckles that close like a belt, even if they take longer to handle. If they suit us, we make sure that the needle is solid and stays well centered.

We avoid:

Velcro fasteners, which collect hair, foam and dust and quickly become ineffective.

the snaps that force us to force to close them. In addition, over time, the material often tears.

Thanks to Julie Tremblay, manager of the Bentley store at Promenades de l’Outaouais, for her precious advice.