Balenciaga: An Unlikely Love Story

When I first saw the classic Balenciaga city bag, I did not find it attractive at all.

When my love affair with designer purses began I was interested mainly in very structured and classic shapes (Speedys, Neverfulls, Phantoms, Birkins, ad nauseum) and saw pictures of Balenciaga bags online thought, “Ick, this is one bag I definitely would never buy, EVER!” I thought it looked horrendously cheap, I didn’t like the tassels and whip-stitched handles and how slouchy it was, and I thought that it was well-suited for a grungy, hygienically-challenged roadie and not my mainly business professional attire.

My mind started to change once I started incorporating more diversity of style in my looks. I gained a lot of inspiration to change up my outfits from my years of living in France. Before, I used to think that having a “classic” and “put-together” look was the epitome of style – think a dark peacoat with skinny jeans and a Louis Vuitton speedy with ballet flats. While this is a perfectly fine outfit to wear, I saw more interesting and chic ways to dress that I’d never thought of before. I started mixing textures, colors, and styles in a way that brought diversity and originality within each look. I wanted to master that fine French art of looking effortlessly chic which requires a balance of high-street and high-end, structured and casual, and above all, confidence in showing the world something a bit different and unexpected.

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Enter the Balenciaga handbag: What was once so thoughtlessly dismissed as impossible became somewhat intriguing. To be specific, a black Balenciaga Giant 21 City with gold hardware became intriguing. I noticed that the qualities that at first glance had repelled me were the same reasons I wanted – nay, needed – the bag. I no longer saw a cheaply thin, outmoded rock chic leather bag but a scrumptiously buttery soft purse with just enough edge to take the (admittedly) hoity-toity vibe out of my style. I instantly felt more cool and different in a way that didn’t sacrifice my professional style. The black was neutral but the Giant 21 gold hardware brought an unexpected punch of boldness that I was comfortable with in all situations from work to weekend.

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Speaking of work and weekend, the Balenciaga work and weekender sizes are very chic as well. While I’ve not had the pleasure of adding a weekender to my wardrobe, I can tell you that the work size hangs off the body in the most divine way. My light olive green Giant 21 Work in gold hardware is perfect for days when I need to pack a bit more; the work size is extremely accommodating and even when a lighter load is the order of the day, the work gives into itself deliciously and as a lover of all things sparkly, I adore the Giant 21 gold hardware.

This is the Cinderella story of designer purses for me, but I’m not alone in this. In perusing forums, discussing handbags, and in my experience no other purse has been at the end of such distaste transformed into adoration.  Its an unexpected love story for many purse lovers alike and if you’re just starting it out, I invite you to rush forward and embrace the classic Balenciaga in all of its smooshy splendor because you were bound to anyway.

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