When choosing a leather messenger/shoulder bag, how do I decide between brown and black? Should I try to match to the clothes I usually wear, or just pick what I like?
I'm planning to buy a leather messenger bag to use in professional situations like conferences, meetings (especially of the networking variety), and the like. (Right now I'm looking at this
, but I haven't yet decided - suggestions more than welcome!). I'm a PhD student, female, late 20s, and have finally been convinced that appearance matters. I can get away with jeans/t-shirt the vast majority of the time, but I do occasionally meet with non-student colleagues in professional research settings (think conference room, not laboratory), and would like to look more like them (the kind of job I aspire to) than like a part-time undergrad gopher (been there, done that).
I'm planning to buy some better clothes a little at a time (quality button-down shirts and nice slacks; perhaps a suit or two up the road), but want to buy the bag now. Should I try to match it to what I'll usually be wearing when I use it? Sometimes that would mean a brown bag, and at other times black. Some bags come in a dark brown color (like the espresso bag linked at amazon, above) - is this a solution for getting around the brown/black dichotomy altogether?
I have the same question about leather shoes, actually - usually I wear navy (nice jeans, navy top), sometimes navy and black or navy and grey, sometimes khaki and navy, sometimes navy or tan pants with a white shirt, etc. (Yes, these actually are the colors that I like wearing - don't hate!) Which bag/shoes go with which clothes?
If it seems like I'm overthinking this, it's because I'm willing to spend $100-$400 to get a quality bag that will last - hopefully for decades. Thus, I want to make sure that what I choose will have staying power.
I look young for my age, am on the petite side (5'2", small but not tiny), and would like to do what I can to present myself more professionally in certain situations. A more polished appearance in general wouldn't hurt, either. Please help me figure out how this matchy-matchy stuff works when it comes to leather bags/shoes. Thank you!