The importance of a great bag to your style – style lesson from Desti Saint

by Sylvia

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Today I’m introducing you to Desti Saint, a 40+ woman living in Singapore who launched her own accessories label by the same name. I’m always inspired by stories of women who pursue their passion for their careers and it was also a great chance to discover something about her own style and how handbags add to it.

Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?

I’m a business woman, wife, mother of 3, sister, daughter and friend and the typical chameleon woman.  I love life, cramming as much fun and exuberance into every day.  I love to laugh as much as possible.  I also love to do what I love, which in my case is creating beautiful handbags for women, complementing their personal style and completing their look so they become even more fabulous. I’m an Asiaphile and have a constant love and fascination with anything Asian – the colours, flowers, fauna, people and fabrics are my creative inspiration for my handbags.

desti

As a point of reference which age group do you belong to or perhaps you are willing to share your age?

I’m 48 and proud!  However, I feel a lot younger than 48.  Didn’t someone say 48 is the new 38?.  I believe age is an attitude.  If you love life, are at ease with where you are in life and doing what you love, this keeps stress at bay and helps you to look and feel young.  Whilst I know life is a rollercoaster of challenges, I have a whimsical yet grounded view of things, with humour, laughter and resourcefulness being my survival strategy.

You started your label Desti Saint Handbags after 40. Can you tell us a bit more about what you did before and why you decided to launch the label?

They say life begins at 40.  I say my third career began at 40…. As a handbag designer with a difference.

My first career was in banking, predominantly at Dow Jones in the 90’s.  My second career was as a mum to my 3 gorgeous kids Maddie, Ollie and Fin.  My third career then began when I finally responded to my creative side and went to work for a leading brand of handbags.  I could never really find my perfect handbag on the market, so after much wavering, I finally decided it was time to start my own designer handbag label, aiming to create beautiful, contemporary bags which are fabulous to look at and practical to use. I also wanted to create a look for confident women who have a strong sense of personal style as opposed to uniform, utility, expensive established luxury brands.

destisaintlongdress

How important in your opinion is a handbag to a women’s style?

You hug and hold your bag for the bulk of your day, when you are out of your house and on the move.  It’s a very intimate relationship women have with their handbags.

  • You put them in on a chair next to you in the restaurant or on the table when you have lunch.
  • You constantly showcase your handbag to your friends and everyone you meet along the way.
  • Your handbag completes your personal style and overall look and outfit.
  • Your handbag is a great way to affirm your personal style and your attitude and mood.

I say the handbag is very important.  I hope so, as I spend nearly every waking hour thinking and creatively fantasising about great handbag designs.

How many handbags should a woman own?

I’m like Carrie Bradshaw – all my funds and personal assets are wisely invested in handbags and shoes.  I say women should have everything they need, want and desire – so as many as they want!.  The only limits are of course the size of their closet or house and the extent of their fashionista imagination and personal style.

vivacollection

What is unique about a Desti Saint handbag?

My handbags are unique so they stand out in a crowded market.  Our uniqueness comprises the quality, the craftsmanship (many of them are crafted by artisans with a handmade element), a creative wow factor, the Desti Saint signature tassel, the softness of our selected premium quality leathers and also our fascination with unique colours and textures

Can you tell me about your own style. How would you describe it?

My personal style is an eclectic and creative mix of a wide range of influences, colours and styles.  I definitely have my own personal brand of style, which like any woman takes me a while to put together each and every day.  I definitely like to make an entrance, I like it when people do a double take,  and I love to receive a big nod of approval from  my husband and my 13 year old daughter and also a tacit nod of approval from my friends and other ladies.  I guess to sum it up I am Carrie Bradshaw, meets Coco Chanel with a twist of Asian influences and bling, Boho accessories.

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 Can you tell me where you live and how that influences your style choices?

I live in Singapore these days.  Singapore is definitely the hub of East Meets West and has a dynamic fashion scene of inspiring local and international designers and a never ending fan base of fashionistas.  Needless to say, every day is so inspiring with so much choice in terms of fashion and accessories.

What inspires your outfit choices the most?

Colour, my mood and whether my bum looks smaller in the outfit and my boobs look bigger.  Typical woman I guess!

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Do you take things like color profiling or body type into account when you dress?

Like every women I have done my due diligence, colour profiling and body type “How to Look your best courses”.  However now as a proud, mature 48 year old confident modern woman, I just feel that I instinctively know what works for me, my personal style and optimal look and it just happens these days naturally.  I think over the years I have definitely learned a few lessons through bad hair days, numerous fashion gaffes and outfits I should never have been allowed to leave the store with – but that’s life and life’s rich journey of experience.

Would you say you have a signature style? And if yes, what are the main elements?

My signature style is about looking good and feeling good by presenting a personal style which flatters your assets.  The main elements of my personal style are killer heels, bling accessories, a fabulous handbag and either black, florals or rich contrasting colours.  I am definitely not a twin set and pearls kind of girl.

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Has your style changed at all after turning 40?

Since turning 40, I am definitely more confident in my personal style and I will wear what I love and what makes me feel great as a 40 year old, curvaceous woman who likes to be noticed.

Do you believe in dressing ‘age appropriately’ and what does it mean to you?

For me age appropriate is just about wearing clothes which look good and feel good wearing.  The great thing about my handbags is that they are age appropriate from 25-55.

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Would you say that at this stage of your life you are now more, or less interested in fashion, style and the way you look?

I have always been interested in fashion.  Now that I am a recognised designer of Desti Saint Handbags – I am much more fascinated and preoccupied with new fashion trends and also for creating new fashion trends.

Why is the way you look important to you?

How I look shows the world my attitude to life and how I  feel.  If I look and feel good I have a great day and I am much more creative and productive.

Which bag from your collection is a personal favorite and why?

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All my Desti Saint Handbags are my favourites and the survivors of hundreds of designs and samples – the crème de la crème.  I can say hand on heart I totally love them all!.  Asking me which are my favourites is like asking which of my kids are my favourite – so rather hard to answer.

Having said that I love my new Viva Collection – it’s the most colourful so far and pays my own personal homage to Boho Chic.

Do you follow trends?And if yes, which trends excite you at the moment?

I try to create trends with my handbags rather than follow them, driven by my own sense of personal style and my passion to create something different for the fabulous women of the world.

Do you have any fashion and style tips for women over 40?

Cultivate your personal style.  Dare to be different.  Wear anything you like if it makes you feel and look good

What are your plans for your business and how do you see it develop over the coming years?

I spend most of my time working these days and am passionate about what I do and the designs I create. I plan to nurture my business and grow it into a recognised and preferred handbag brand around the world.  Already we are opening a wide range of markets, driven and encouraged by our fan base.

Thank you Desti for an insight into your style and business! You can check out more information about Desti Saint handbags at her website.

How important is a handbag to your style?

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Saskia

Desti”s passion for designing handbags is splashing in your article Sylvia. The buckle and frills in the photographed handbags show me the boho element of style wich I love very much. Most days I don’t take the time to switch handbags although the bag in bag is a proven concept but unfortunately increased in numbers to 3 bags in a bag.
Good luck Desti with your business. The grab factor of your handbags is very high, so maybe I’ll get ‘bag’ to your site.

Rebecca

Terrific interview. I hope to see your bags in NYC soon!

Greetje

Very nice to see a woman following her passion. Great bags. Not yet for me, but I will be watching her site.

Lisa

I just recently acquired some new handbags and have been changing them pretty regularly — quite a change from my black for the season, white for the season, goes with everything approach. I particularly like adding a handbag color that contrasts — bright red with a yellow outfit, orange with a white and turquoise set. And that enables me to echo that splash of color in other accessories. It just looks more interesting that way!

Switching out purses is actually is helping me stay organized because every night I have to empty my purse of wallet, keys, sunglasses, phone and put them in their place and that means anything else in the bag needs to go! LOL.

Sylvia

True Lisa. That is an extra benefit of switching handbags!

Trina Grandinetti

I believe a handbag can add or distract from your overall appearance. I also believe in investing in good basic handbags such as a nice black one, a nice cream or cognag leather, etc, that way you don’t always need to changing out your handbags with every outfit. Although, it is fun to buy some that are colorful and trendy.
I enjoyed your interview with Desti and it is fun to be introduced to a new style of handbag.
I do have a question to throw out there, since I find myself accumulating handbags (and I don’t want to part with any), do any of you readers have some good storage ideas?

Greetje

Hi Trina, I have uploaded photos of my bag storage to the Forum. See here:

http://40plusstyle.com/forum/?mingleforumaction=viewtopic&t=534

It is not ideal, but I have a tiny house, so you can improve on the idea haha.
Greetje

tgrandinetti

Great idea, thank you!

Sylvia

I’m lucky to have plenty of storage space at the moment, so they are placed in my cupboard and arranged by color, so I can get a quick full overview.

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