Love It or Hate It: Vera Bradley Bags

June 12, 2009 by Anna   | Filed under Style & Trends


Vera Bradley bags at the Tony Awards

Seeing these bags is a little bittersweet and comes with many stories for me. First I'd like to start off by saying, "bag be ugly." Alright.
order xenical oristat

I am from Kentucky and these bags were so incredibly huge when I was in high school and still now. All of the preppy girls had a Vera Bradley bag and they totally thought they were awesome. I wanted one so bad, not because I thought they were cute, but I wanted to be cool too. But my mom couldn't justify spending $50 on a bag she could quilt herself for less than $10. So she went on a rampage and started sewing me her version of Vera Bradley totes, luggage bags, duffle bags, purses, cosmetic bags, etc. Looking back on it, they aren't even that expensive. But instead of Vera Bradley's, I sported 'Momma Bradleys' and no one knew the difference.


Fast forward after high school, I moved to California and attended FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising). A very swanky high fashion Los Angeles Fashion school that's overpriced and filled with extremely trendy, high fashion, and creative girls. Vera Bradley's were no where in sight. "They must be behind the times." I thought. For a class project, I had to bring in a lot of supplies which only my 'Momma Bradley' duffle bag could hold. I threw everything in there and didn't think twice. No one will even knows what kind of bag it is. As I sat in class waiting on my turn on the presentation, a girl looked at my bag and asked, "Is that a Vera Bradley?" and I was surprised! I replied, "You know what a Vera Bradley is?!". And in the nicest way she could have said it, she says, "Yea, my grandma has one." From that day forward, I removed the bag and never used it again. I never thought it was cute and I should have gone with my instincts! The best thing I could take from it was that my mom was very sweet to make all of her bags for me and I'm glad she didn't spend money on this overpriced southern grandma purse. And for that, I truly appreciate her.

But here I am in 2009, faced with the Vera Bradley bag once again. Like any award show, the attendees get gifts galore and Vera Bradley has made it's way into the Lipton Gift Lounge at this years Tony Awards. They even had something for the guys. It's not as grotesque as I remembered it, but still kind of burns my eyes. So here are my thoughts.

There's only 3 exceptions to getting a Vera Bradley:
1. You have grand kids and you are obsessed with quilted things.
2. You live in the Midwest and Louis Vuitton bags are just too expensive for you to indulge in.
3. You're 10 and you love pink. This pink bag is actually kind of cute for a little girl and therefore acceptable.

It's cool to totally disagree with me here, so if you must purchase a Vera Bradley bag, I suggest ebay. So much cheaper that way.


13 Responses to “Love It or Hate It: Vera Bradley Bags”
  1. Hi Anna,

    I enjoyed your post (even though I’m on the other side of the fence on this issue). I grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana, which is Vera Bradley’s hometown – I would say about half of the women here own a Vera Bradley (and no one owns a Louis Vuitton – you know us Midwest women well!).

    For people that think they look like “granny bags”, I always recommend they check out the microfiber styles. The microfiber bags are very classy looking – and they hold up great…

    Anyway, keep up the great work here!

  2. MarcomMom says:

    I so agree with you that they’re fug-ly. I feel bad, because someone gave it to me for Christmas and I immediately hated it, but tried to act pleased. I had never even heard of Vera Bradley, so when I (guiltily) went to sell it on eBay, imagine my surprise to see that these things sell for $50 and up. And I’m 47 years old, the age of the moms of some teenaged girls seeking advice on which Vera Bradley bag to buy for them. Maybe because my daughter is younger (nine), I live in a younger-Mom world, but I honestly wouldn’t be caught dead carrying one. I just hate it.

  3. Am working all this weekend!

  4. June Bug says:

    I like your article, but don’t be a snob. :)

    Vera Bradley bags are beautiful to me, and the anthropomorphic vegetative designs that they have been sporting as of late are gorgeous. I also enjoy the paisley prints and the bold colors of the fabric.

    As for overpriced, there are few bags more overpriced and commercialized than Louis Vuitton, the gold standard for the supposedly trendy bunch of women who generally prefer cities to the countryside. Do you see any knock offs of Vera Bradley at Canal Street? Never. Instead, you’re likely to find a bunch of Somalian immigrants standing in front of suitcases splayed open to ugly, monochrome Louis Vuitton imitations of the equally boring originals. Their bags are brown, black, and the occasional beige. In fact sellers say “Louis Vuitton” in hasty syllables as you walk past, as if they are someone aware that the name will snag you more than the bag.

    In truth, there’s no color or vitality in those plastic monstrosities with cheap metal trinkets and predictable lettered or checkered prints. I can find prettier bags in my local shoe store for half the price. And the originals sell for hundreds of dollars? Truly a waste of money – like buying a purse for the namesake, not for taste or beauty. I have never found the rich, “designer” purses to be attractive – instead, they scream pretentious.

    By contrast, a Vera Bradley bag will set you back a slightly pinched $50 – $70, but you can get new ones or even pre-owned bags for as low as $30 on ebay.

    And compared to high price designers, the Vera Bradley bag is far more pleasing to the eye. The texture of the quilted fabric is oh – so – soft, the pattern is complex, feminine, full of brilliant color (not. just. pink), and the whole thing feels vital and alive – the polar opposite of a boring designer label that rides on reputation, as opposed to taste. I am no granny or preening Southern belle but I am happy to carry a Vera Bradley.

    All of the New Yorkers who frown down upon Vera Bradley and those marvelous splashes of color as “low class” (and I know a few) should do a double take on their likely forgettable clothing and accessories. When I lived in New York I was surprised at how many people wore drab, boring clothes – regardless of class – and they looked disturbingly alike – even the ones who carried those fancy, boring purses. Maybe it was the bad economy, but it was disappointing.

    I called most stylish ones “funeral chic,” as even the fashionable urban women stuck to monochromatic clothes. It is a shame, considering I expected the big city to have a lot in terms of colors, styles, and fashion. In the Southern states, especially in the summer you see women who dare to wear lots of bold color, soft floral prints and tiered skirts with beaded sandals or turquoise and silver accents, for instance. And they make do without paying insane fees for “designer” labels. They are not obsessed with brands like Giorgio Armani, Louis Vuitton, or Gucci as they are in the city.

    Where was I going with this letter? Ah, yes.
    From a country girl to an undoubtedly urban maven – don’t dig on my Vera Bradley!

  5. Autumn says:

    I believe Vera Bradley’s are really cute,i mean they make the boring-est outfit look so cute. But i do also have to admit that i have many myself, am a teen, and i live in a very tropical colorful part of Florida.Here there very popular, but i just like them because there cute,affordable, and not too mature looking. Great article though i appreciate opinion!

  6. pjg says:

    Very funny! I’m actually a grandma, but a young one, and also a student. I love the bags, but can’t justify the price, so like your mom did, I sewed my own. I love them, they cost me 13 dollars to make and are very sturdy. I have a big one for my books and the messenger style for my netbook. I’m pretty much a nerd, so I don’t care about whether they’re fashionable. They are practical though (at least the ones I made myself).

  7. jane says:

    I am from Indiana and struggle with my loyalty to Vera Bradley because some of their patterns are old fashion. But, I have decided to sport a VB bag because the company was started and owned by two women. We don’t have enough women owning their own companies, especially in the clothing and accessory field, and I want these women to be successful and an inspiration for other women to start their own business. So, all women should buy a VB just because the world will be a better place if more women are successful.

  8. Kimberly Raygor says:

    I used to hate Vera Bradley purses. I refused to buy one because they were too common and appealed to the masses. I thought leather bags were classier. Then I bought one and loved it. I dress very plain. Tan, grey, brown, and black are my favortie clothing colors. These bags look good against my neutral wardrobe. They also have many organizational pockets that I utilize. They are cheap as far as handbags go. I have many and switch them around frequently, which is fun. You can buy at least six Veras for the price of one Coach leather. So I’ve gone from ripping on the bags and making fun of them to loving them.

  9. Hayley says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed your article and agree with your points. I have received a Vera Bradley bag as a present twice in the past year and, both times, I totally disliked it and pretended to be happy. It’s quite rude to snub a gift after all. However, I instantly gave them to my mother and she happily uses them now. As a girl who is fresh out of college and on a tight budget, I find Coach bags to be ridiculously expensive and girls who have them tend to have either rich parents, a boyfriend who likes to spend money on them, or nothing better to do with their paychecks. That being said, I’d probably own one if I could. However, I tend to buy purses from an internet website which has thousands made by independent designers. I find these bags beautiful, chic, and great for many different occasions. You have to love originality!

  10. Carrie says:

    Love your article. I lived in Indiana for two years for graduate school and could not figure out why young girls were carrying bags that I would picture with an elderly woman…. they were so cool to the midwesterners. I’m back in California and I now see them only when I travel …. usually to the midwest (although Boston girls seem to be fans too). I think they are cute for grandmas and young girls…. not me. Ever.

  11. Diane says:

    I couldn’t agree more. The first time I saw one that my friend was carrying, I thought- what a cute craft project. Then she told me she bought it! And then what she’d paid for it. It is kind of funny that Vera Bradley is laughing all the way to the bank making some of the most atrocious bags ever sold! They go with no outfit, they will never coordinate well with shoes and are completely inappropriate for a professional look. The complaint that led my friend to kick hers to the curb? It’s shapeless. I would have thought she’d stop using it because of the years it added to her. These bags are cute for the elderly.

  12. juleigh says:

    I’m from Illinois so maybe owning a “Vera” is mostly a Midwestern thing. I will say that the earliest patterns and styles looked frumpy, but no more. Plus they are wonderfully lightweight, which works for me, considering all the crap I tend to carry. I do appreciate a lovely leather bag, but I find the VB bags very cool and just plain fun.

  13. Wanda C says:

    I’m not a grandma, not (originally anyway) from the Midwest, And I’m not 10 (though I admittedly adore pink! My vb obsession started this year. I don’t know why. But I am in love with the patterns, the variety, the fun accessories… Not so much with the prices or some of the bag styles. Sadly, they know me by name at the local store ;) I own 5, mostly tote size. I carry a lot and these don’t weigh my arm down with heavy material like my Greyson (I think that was her name!) or my Coach (which I sold) did. They brighten up all my outfits and my rainy days. When hung on a wall or hook, they even double as funky decor. And they are attention getters! I can’t afford lv, nor would I want to. Even the knock offs are ugly and boring. And how does one match letter patterns to clothing?! I hate all black or all brown outfits. I like color in my attire (but not just pink!!) anyway, to each her own, but vb has style and function, something other bag designers seem to often lack.

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!