The Budget Babe | Affordable Fashion & Style Blog

Vera Bradley: Yea or Nay?

Since its launch in 1982, Vera Bradley Designs' signature cotton quilted handbags, luggage and accessories have become recognized worldwide. The fabrics are a tad too "country cottage" for me, so they don't work with my personal style, but here's why I still give them a big ol' thumb's up:

  • The Vera Bradley success story is the epitome of the American Dream. Two longtime friends start small and make it big through hard work, passion and a loyal fanbase.

  • It's a women-owned business. Gotta love that.

  • The headquarters are in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Midwest represent!

  • The styles appeal to all generations. Last time I was at the airport, I saw a daughter/mother/grandmother trio toting Vera Bradley carry-ons—too cute for words.

  • They're affordable. Vera Bradley has something for every budget, from inexpensive wristlets to under-$100 tote bags, and discontinued styles always go on mad sale.

  • Those delightful prints. How can anyone hate on those adorable little paisleys and florals? It would be like hating Care Bears. No one hates Care Bears.

OK, I've made my case. What do you think about Vera Bradley? Yea or nay?

I don't love their purses... but I do own the ID case, Hang Bag, and 2 duffels in the Medallion print.

It all depends on the print and style. I would never carry around a purse by them. I just think it's tacky... but If you need a duffel, why not go with a cute monogram one?
#1 Elyn on 2009-07-23 12:35 (Reply)
I used to roll my eyes at my friends' obession with all the Vera prints and styles (I'm not a huge fan of brightly-colored paisley anyway)... then I was given a couple ID cases and office supply items as gifts, and the fun prints in small quantities grew on me. Then, I discovered the pink elephants print, which I thought was absolutely adorable. It happened that the print was "retiring," so all of the pink elephant items were on sale - plus, it was a Breast Cancer print, so some of the proceeds went to fund research. I wound up getting a bookbag, a sunglasses case, an eyeglasses case, a wallet, and a tiny little purse (perfect for sporting events). I haven't gotten anything else since, but now I'm wrestling with the idea of getting a really cute big purse from the line - it's a saddle bag style (perfect size) in the cupcakes pink pattern. It's so bright and busy that I'm not sure it's very practical for me (I'm a purse-lover, so it wouldn't be a problem except that I tend to dress in pink and patterns anyway). :-( it's a delimma.

Sorry for the super-long comment.... clearly I'm more distressed over this than I originally thought.
#2 Kelly C (Homepage) on 2009-07-23 13:09 (Reply)
Well, as I really DO hate Care Bears, it is no surprise that I hate Vera Bradley patterns, too. But I don't begrudge others their love of VB. You make several good points about things to like about the company!
#3 Betsy on 2009-07-23 13:33 (Reply)
I just don't get these bags. I just don't.
#4 Sal (Homepage) on 2009-07-23 13:52 (Reply)
I like the print...the shape just doesn't do it for me.
#5 noh on 2009-07-23 13:54 (Reply)
Not liking these bags...never liked Care Bears, either.
#6 Terri Walton on 2009-07-23 14:07 (Reply)
Vera Bradley is the Louis Vuitton of the Midwest.
#7 CK on 2009-07-23 14:12 (Reply)
a big NAY
#8 milly on 2009-07-23 14:25 (Reply)
My mom might like them...she's 63.
#9 Wanderlusting (Homepage) on 2009-07-23 16:17 (Reply)
I have a few Vera Bradley items. Mostly items that go in my purse - glasses case, camera case. I do have one of the small purses. Perfect for running errands - it switches from a cross body bag to a shoulder bag in one quick move. There is the signature line(the bright patterns) and then there are two other lines with soild colors. These new lines are much more my style. But the sale deals are amazing.
#10 Stephanie on 2009-07-23 16:43 (Reply)
I'm just so not into the diaper bag look.
#11 Justine Urbikas on 2009-07-23 18:35 (Reply)
I don't find most of their stuff attractive, but I've been lusting after their All-in-One Wristlet in Raspberry Fizz.
#12 Stacy Z on 2009-07-23 21:28 (Reply)
I only own an eye glasses case that my daughter (3-years old) picked out for me for my birthday. That said, I agree with Budget's opinion. Vera Bradley bags are like L.L. Bean backpacks or boat bags. They are not fashion statements, purely functional items, which is ultimately what travel bags/luggage are meant to be. They were really overdone about 5 years ago, so they won't be "classic" for quite some time. I prefer Jane Marvel bags in the meantime.
#13 Sara on 2009-07-23 22:02 (Reply)
Big "nay." I, too, admire their success story, but it's all a little too chintz jumpers, hair bows, and craft-y looking for my taste.

LOL at Justine's diaper bag comment--spot on!
#14 Robin (Homepage) on 2009-07-23 22:29 (Reply)
I love a success story as much as any girl, heck I'm even trying to start a clothing line with a friend right now.

But I'm sorry the Vera Bradley purses are the most boring things invented.

I fell out of love with the quilted look when I was 10 and I feel like you either have to be 10 or 85 to be carrying around a purse that looks like knitting needles belong in it.
#15 Ariana on 2009-07-23 23:31 (Reply)
Not a fan of VB but I can't hate on Care Bears. Love and miss my Care Bears!
#16 Roxanne on 2009-07-24 00:32 (Reply)
OK for the beach or soccer moms........too cutesy for me.
#17 Olga on 2009-07-24 07:08 (Reply)
Nay these things all the way back to the factory where they came from. but I still love care bears
#18 Dina (Homepage) on 2009-07-24 08:33 (Reply)
If you have a child in need of diapering, they're fine. Otherwise, not so much.

I do admire the story, though, and I certainly don't begrudge any woman her success in the business world.
#19 Nikki on 2009-07-24 12:51 (Reply)
I don't know how popular Vera Bradley is in other areas of the country but it seems everyone in Texas has one. I don't hate Care Bears but I really don't like Vera Bradley and never have. If I'm going to spend that much money on something it's going to be Italian.
#20 Adina (Homepage) on 2009-07-24 13:23 (Reply)
I have to say I love VB bags! While I agree they are not the most stylish or fashion forward they are always coming out with great colors and patterns. I own mostly the totes, duffels and make-up bags and love that I don't have to worry about dirt or stains because I just toss them in the washer when I get home. Plus when I travel they are perfect to pack for sight seeing and bring home all the great buys I pick up!
#21 Jenna on 2009-07-24 14:55 (Reply)
Until reading this post, I knew nothing of the company. And it is always nice to hear of a woman-owned-run-success story company (Bejo, anyone?). But the bags themselves? HIDEOUS.

#22 arden on 2009-07-24 15:09 (Reply)
What do Care Bears and Vera Bradley items have in common? Several points, both are: 1) Tacky 2) Annoying to look at 3) Highly overrated.

Enough said.
#23 Nikki on 2009-07-26 13:18 (Reply)
I have mixed feelings about Vera Bradley, but genuinely like the products. For most of my life I've hated patterns. I really prefer solid colors. If I wear anything with a pattern, it really needs to be subtle. So naturally, I would have ignored Vera Bradley line altogether. But then I started seeing a few Vera Bradley patterns that I could actually stand, and a few that I fell in love with.

The prices are ridiculously high IMHO. So, again, normally, I would ignore this product line, until I realized the degree of quality and design. There are many sweet little details in purses, clutches, wallets, hipsters, crossbody bags, etc. that I would love in any other designer bag or accessories line. For, example, where else can you find a breakaway lanyard to match your clutch wallet? Or a ziparound ID case that matches your hipster purse AND your laptop bag? Or a backpack that fits your lunch sack and pencil case? Just try to find any of these coordinating features in another bag line. It can't be done. d.

Of course, beauty is all in the eye of the beholder. Some Vera Bradley patterns make me puke. Others I adore. The way I handle my mixed feelings to is find a pattern in a bag or accessory style that I want and wait for it to go on sale. The VB website has unbelievable discounts on retired patterns. I recently ordered small and medium packing cubes in Cuban Tiles pattern that were about $10 each because of 40% coupon on already reduced items. (The y retail at $24 and $28 each) You can't even get that kind of deal at anywhere else. I'm still waiting for them to arrive and can't wait to try them out.

For now, I am trying to be judicious with my spending. Good luck to everyone!
#24 VoiceOfReason on 2017-09-21 23:09 (Reply)
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