Protecting Saggy Bags – Base Shapers for Prada & Louis Vuitton

base_shaperCustom-size base shaper c/o Princess Cut Bags (also avail pre-made for LV styles)
Prada Double Zip Saffiano tote (medium size w/ strap), outfit from this post

As mentioned in my Prada bag review, one of the design flaws with this line of bags is the less-structured base. Anything with a little bit of weight will cause the bottom middle to sag. This is not only unsightly, but also bad for the leather which may stretch out with use. I realized this after seeing a lady with an overflowing Prada Saffiano tote – the base looked so saggy and the bottom of the sides had so many stretchmarks that I felt sorry for the poor bag.

I was first exposed to the concept of base shapers when my pre-owned LV speedy came with one inside. The purpose of these is so that the weight of the contents can push down on the bag evenly, versus at a concentrated point. I initially went the DIY route and simply cut a piece off a cardboard box. This works just fine if the cardboard is thick enough, but apparently being shorter in stature means others can easily peer into your open-top bag. After having to explain a few times why I had coarse cardboard lining a pricey tote, I decided to spend the $20 or so for a clear shaper.
base_shaper1 After a little digging, I found out about this base shaper company from a Prada Saffiano thread on The Purse Forum. I have to admit, my first impression of the website was that it looked spam-y and I wasn’t sure whether it was safe to transact on (Update: I’m now linking to their Etsy store). This bag was also not listed as a pre-made style, so I contacted them about a custom one. Imagine my surprise when I received a completely unrelated message from the owner, saying that his fiancee was an EP fan and saw in my review that I needed a shaper. He patiently answered all of my “due diligence” questions and was receptive to feedback. I am happy with the product quality and the very responsive customer service, thus wanted to share on here. A few other notes:

– Their shapers come in 4 options: clear acrylic, mirror, red, and brown.
– I can only speak to the clear one, which is fairly lightweight (5 oz) & thin (3 mm) but durable. All the edges on mine were smoothly polished.
– Shaper prices start at $15 and go up to $30 for the biggest size. Shipping for most pre-made shapers is $3.50 domestic, and $11-$15 internationally. Custom-sized shaper shipping starts at $6.
– They strive to ship on the same business day for pre-made shapers, and have a 12-day turnaround for custom orders.
– Prada totes come in so many size options, but if you own this exact same bag (style BN2274), the measurements I provided were 12 and 9/16th inches x 5 and 5/16th inches. My shaper came out exactly per the measurements, and fits the bag nicely.

Readers – What do you do to remedy bag sag? LV and Longchamp owners, do you use anything to help shape the bottoms or do you prefer the slouchy look?

79 thoughts on “Protecting Saggy Bags – Base Shapers for Prada & Louis Vuitton

  • Lexi January 15, 2013 at 12:27 am

    this is so helpful! I sometimes hesitate to spend $$ on a bag just because of the sag effect. It makes for an unpretty bag log. Will def keep this in mind next time im shopping for a bag, which is conveniently now.

  • Amy January 15, 2013 at 12:27 am

    Wow, what are the odds about his fiancee being a reader of yours

    Thanks for the review! I might have to try this out for my Michael Kors satchel… one of the sides sags over for some reason so that bag sits lopsided!

  • Nathyness January 15, 2013 at 12:31 am

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  • Nathyness January 15, 2013 at 12:33 am

    What a great idea. I never would have imagined that such a product exists. Then again, there's pretty much a product to fit every need out there! Thanks so much for sharing this with us.


  • Stefanie Z January 15, 2013 at 12:38 am

    These have been around forever for LV bags…I'm so glad they made them finally for Prada bags~!

  • Julia January 15, 2013 at 12:42 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Julia January 15, 2013 at 12:44 am

    I have a Longchamp bag but I actually prefer the saggy look. It looks more casual and it comfortably rests between my body and my arm (a shaper will make the bag too wide). I wouldn't want a shaper for a Longchamp but will definitely try it at some point for my other purses. – Julia

  • gigiofca January 15, 2013 at 12:46 am

    Genius! I never knew about this. I don't have a LV or Prada, but will be looking at my other handbags to see if they sag.

  • maggie January 15, 2013 at 12:47 am

    That's a great idea! The bags I carry aren't large enough to need one currently, but when I get a larger bag, I will keep this in mind.

    xx maggie

  • Ella Pretty Blog January 15, 2013 at 12:57 am

    I have a base shaper for my Speedy 25 – I first purchased a very pricey custom-tailored one – but it made the speedy look too boxy. Now I use a large "purse-to-go" organizer and I love it – it fits in most of my bags (even my small Longchamp one) so changing bags is easy – and it gives enough structure without making the bag look unnatural.

    Also – it has soft rounded edges so I don't have to worry about it cutting into the bag over time 🙂

  • FashionEdible January 15, 2013 at 1:11 am

    What a fantastic idea! The saggy look is definitely unflattering to the bag.


  • sepopley January 15, 2013 at 1:16 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Anonymous January 15, 2013 at 1:42 am

    the bag base from those $1 recyclable supermarket bags help too.
    fits LV Speedy 30 / Gucci totes perfectly 🙂


  • Sabrina January 15, 2013 at 2:02 am

    What a great idea. Currently I'm not in need of a base shaper, but I see so many girls with Speedy bags all day that would really need one! It makes the bag look all wrong and of less value.


  • CoastWithMe January 15, 2013 at 2:24 am

    This is so great! I was looking for a solution to saggy bags! Thank you:)!

  • Unknown January 15, 2013 at 2:36 am

    I should consider this for my Rebecca Minkoff MAB! Thanks for the review.

  • Kittie January 15, 2013 at 2:47 am

    Great info! I am getting myself one for my Saffiano lux and speedy!

  • Anonymous January 15, 2013 at 3:02 am

    Just wondering how you measured your bag, and also do the measurements need to be exact? Wondering if i could use one of them for two of my bags with similar sized bases! (:

  • Jane January 15, 2013 at 7:47 am

    It's a great idea for a great product. But it occurs to me — since the Prada, LV, and others cost close to $2,000, why wouldn't the manufacturer think to put some structure on the base of the bag so that "bag sag" doesn't happen in the first place? I think we need to lobby!!

  • aliami January 15, 2013 at 8:06 am

    this is a pretty good idea…I hadn't realized that you can get custom base shapers, like you I've been making them out of cardboard (and yes, I've had to explain why too). will def. get one now, I really like the clear plastic

  • Professionally Petite January 15, 2013 at 8:25 am

    Thanks for introducing us to this company – I was just thinking yesterday that my new michael kors tote looked stupid in pictures because it was sagging from the contents inside. I'll check into custom options.

    Professionally Petite

  • Sophié January 15, 2013 at 8:59 am

    i usually find your blog to be the voice of reason but in this case I disagree! I refuse to pay THAT much money for a bag and then buy a shaper or carry extra stuff around with me to make the bag look better. I mean who serves who here? I usually check the look of the bag 'unstuffed' before I buy it as in the past I bought an expensive one that looked ridiculous empty. I buy a bag organizer and other than that I use structured or slouchy bags. Nothing in between.

  • Déjà Pseu January 15, 2013 at 9:06 am

    When I had my Speedy, I kind of preferred the slouchy look, but have experimented with bag shapers or even those pull-out organizers (chameleon) for bags without any interior organization. It's really brilliant to make them in a clear acryllic!

  • Isabelle Carpenter January 15, 2013 at 9:34 am

    fantastic!!! thanks!!
    ❤The fashion witch❤

  • PetiteAsianGirl January 15, 2013 at 9:48 am

    Hi there – I should've mentioned this in the post, but you should measure the base of your bag from the inside. I took my measurements from the makeshift cardboard shaper I had cut out just to be sure it'd fit well. If the bags are within an inch or so difference in size, I'd think you could use the same for both. I did try to use another one I had for this bag but it was too small and thus the weight still wasn't applied evenly on the entire base.

  • Janki January 15, 2013 at 9:52 am

    I'm glad you were able to find a good resource and share it with everyone. To echo anyother reader's comment, how interesting that the fiancee was a reader of EP!

    You bring up an interesting point that I never thought of: how taller folks can actually peek inside my bag! Gotta make sure it's neat and tidy.

  • Pretty in Polkadot January 15, 2013 at 9:55 am

    What a brilliant idea! Thanks for sharing 🙂


  • PetiteAsianGirl January 15, 2013 at 9:59 am

    I agree with your point, Sophie (like Jane's above) that designers which charge that much should have a high standard of product quality, esp for known issues. That being said, as we become more discerning shoppers it's harder to find things that meet all of our standards right off the rack – more often than not I have to do something to alter, adjust, or protect the items I buy regardless of price point. I've come to believe that if an item meets all of my needs/ specifications except for an issue that can be fixed by an easy DIY or ~$20, I don't have a problem buying it. I see this as similar to getting shoes re-soled to protect the bottoms, getting a pricey garment altered to suit specific tastes/fit, etc.

  • lisacng @ January 15, 2013 at 10:21 am

    If I had your tote, I'd certainly want a base to even-out the distribution. Like other readers have said, if designers want to keep the shape of their bag in-tact when carried by customers, they should have a feature to do so. I mean, some of my 50 cent resusable shoppers have an extra thin base shaper! That said, I have an LV Speedy 30 and hadn't considered a shaper before because I don't mind the floppy shape. Now a tote is a different story! Tks for the thorough review. Hope it stands the test of time and doesn't dig into the leather of your bag. That'd be so sad.

  • Elle January 15, 2013 at 10:33 am

    Thanks for the review, Jean…I am still using my unsophisticated cut-up foam board covered in clear tape in the prada. It, uh, does the job but it's not pretty but I normally load my bag full of trinkets so no one can't see the bottom of the bag. Needless to say, I have not yet felt pressured to upgrade. 😀

  • R.L. January 15, 2013 at 10:44 am

    Great post, Jean! I was just looking at base shapers on ebay for Longchamp totes. Normally I only use them when I'm carrying a lot of stuff, but I definitely need one for lighter days.

    And on a somewhat related topic, how do you carry your DSLR around stylishly (especially when on vacation)? Do you just keep it in your tote with or without a case?

  • Ana January 15, 2013 at 11:00 am

    What a great tip! I borrowed a great bag from my fam earlier and I haven't returned it yet, but I think I am going to order one of these shapers to put in it as a "thank you for letting me appropriate your awesome bag!"

  • Mady T. January 15, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    this is an amazing idea! thanks for sharing!


  • Candice January 15, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    Hi Jean! Thanks for sharing this wonderful idea.

  • zelya January 15, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    Hi Jean,

    I bought a bag organizer on my trip to Philippines. Found it in SM Dept. Store. I use it on my Longchamp Planetes and LV Neverfull. It's perfect and I find it easier to change bags with this.

  • Anonymous January 15, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    I do that too with the "purse organizer" concept….keep items in my bag organized and in smaller 'bags' so that I don't have to worry if a pen/lipstick/etc explodes thus risk ruining the lining, can easily transfer items from bag to bag when mood strikes, can easily access whatever I need since I sometimes refer to my speedy bag as "a black hole" since I would find myself digging for what I needed. I will definitely be looking into these purse shapers for all my bags that sag. Great review! Thanks!

  • Anonymous January 15, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    is the shaper heavy? i carry a lot as is, and hate the idea that i have to carry more weight.

  • Christie January 15, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    Such a nice review. It definitely makes the bag more shapely! Also, the bag is an absolute classic!

  • elisa cesarini January 15, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    Very nice idea!I love DIY and i like so much your posts.
    I have a personal blog about fashion and Diy too….I'd like you will visit my!

  • Tess January 15, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    Wow I'm impressed Jean, great job tracking this down!

  • Anonymous January 15, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    I agree with you 100% Jean! If I absolutely love something and it fits all needs I have no problem spending a little extra to make it perfect. Something small like that isn't the deal breaker on something I have my heart set on.

  • Anonymous January 15, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    Hmmm . . . The base shaper looks kind of like those plastic/acrylic mats you find in the quilting section of the fabric store. I wonder if those would work if you could find the right size?

  • chicken314 January 15, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    i have the same Prada bag as you and had the same issue. I asked my dad to cut a thick cardboard insert and it works like a charm! (for free!)

  • Suzie Q January 15, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    Thanks for the helpful review, it's great to hear your honest opinion and experience with a website that may look spam-y to begin with. I will keep the site on my list if I ever need a bag shaper!

    Suzie Q

  • Katie C January 15, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    I'm so glad I came across this – I hate the bag sag. But, I might just (ask my dad to) cut down some plexiglass for me. It's so inexpensive at any home improvement or glass store; and it's very easy to cut.

    By the way Jean, I had a peek at your Loubie's for sale — I have to ask – HOW do you keep them in such great condition!? I know Boston is a walking town (kind of like NYC)… my shoes never last more than a couple of years. Do you just wear them sparingly!? The bottoms look as if you've never touched the pavement… I'm seriously astonished. A lot of the leather on the backs of my heels have peeled back from cracks in the sidewalk or steps on the subway… which is why I'm always hesitant to buy extra price shoes (like your beautiful Louboutin's.) Any suggestions?… or am I just a terrible klutz…

  • phiphis blog January 15, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    i got a base shaper for my LV neverfull off ebay as well. i'm glad to find another source thanks to this review!

    xox P

  • newpetite January 16, 2013 at 1:11 am

    Haha.. Ive used cardboards before but i glued it up with some fun printed fabric to match my bag. Wanna know how it holds up after a while.

  • Debora January 16, 2013 at 4:21 am

    What an awesome idea! Not only had I never heard about the base shaper before today, but the idea to use a purse organiser in its place is great! Thanks for the share!

  • Debora January 16, 2013 at 4:29 am

    What an awesome post. I actually read it yesterday though didn't comment. Then today, I kept thinking about it. I have never really thought about a base shaper, though see the difference it makes in the look of the bag. I think I am going to try and find a purse organizer to take the role of the base shaper (like another poster discussed), as I don't use one bag enough to warrant buying one specially made (however would if I had beautiful bags like yours!)

  • GEMMA January 16, 2013 at 4:32 am

    Super helpful

    Come say HI:


  • Anonymous January 16, 2013 at 5:57 am

    I also use a purse organizer which in addition to keeping my stuff in its place and easy to find, also helps preserve the structure of the bag! The shaper seems great too, but jean you should also consider and organizer…I have a pursefection brand and they make them in 2 sizes I think.

  • Sisters Kim January 16, 2013 at 10:00 am

    Thanks for the helpful tip! I love you blog!

  • Anonymous January 16, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    Hi Jean what is the measurements of your bag, the outside that is, since I am trying to locate it in the prada store.

  • Fabulous Petite January 16, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    Thank you for sharing Jean. I have a Prada too and LV so will def check them out.


  • Marlene Lam January 16, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    I LOVE this idea!

  • sand January 17, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    I have the Speedy 35 and I don't like the saggy look. So, I have a shoe box top in the bottom of my bag. But, am going to check around to find a shaper like yours. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Sam January 17, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    thanks for this…just in time before i buy the same prada double zip lux tote. Please please if you could answer my question…Does it bother you that the double zip tote is essentially open and anyone can peek inside? im feeling weird about that…makes me want to buy the prada lux tote without the double zips as that atleast has a button closure to secure the opening!! what do you think???

  • eris January 17, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    I like Samorga's felt organizers but they are a pricier option ($30+) and not just a base shaper. It's great for my celine mini

  • Anonymous January 18, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    MY THOUGHT EXACTLY! As far as I'm concerned, this is a design flaw.

  • Angela January 18, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    I personally don't mind the sagging in LV bags. It makes them look more casual, and the sagging is also a key feature of their canvas bag anyway.If their canvas bags were supposed to look super-shapely, they wouldn't fold their bags and sell them that way, right? =)

    However, I would agree that for the Prada Saffiano, using a base shaper is the better option. The bag was intended to look shaped and very-well structured, so the sagging bottom doesn't match the original perception that bag gives.

  • Melanie January 20, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    Thanks for the tip 😉

    Love xx
    Melanie ~

  • Anonymous January 23, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    Since your handbag is so expensive, you shouldn't have to buy something to keep its shape! grrr

  • The short asian chick January 24, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    OMFG, I just discovered your blog and I'm in love!
    What's fantastic is that we have pretty much the same stats: I'm 4'11 (and 1/3!!!), 95 lbs, 32-24-32. Now I can know what's petite-friendly and what will fit me before making the purchase.

  • Anonymous February 7, 2013 at 9:47 am

    Hello Jean, My name is Yen. I have been a fan of your blog for awhile now. I resently bought a prada double zip saffiano satchel in large and it seems too big for me. I haven't seen the medium in person yet but it looks much more proportion on you than the large size on me. I thought I may be able to get away with the large size since I'm 5'9". Can you let me know if there is much different between the medium and large? I have seen it in measurement on pictures but not in person. Im not sure if it is because I'm not use to carry a large bag or it is really too big for me. Thanks for helping.

    P.S. I wanted to email you in private but cannot find your email address.

  • Elizabeth Saucier February 8, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    Ingenious post!

  • Jennifer Ng February 28, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    Hi Jean, can you share with me your measurements for this Prada bag? I think I have the same size, but I'm not sure because mine is the black one but it doesn't have the shoulder strap. I bought it maybe 2 years ago. Do you know if the new ones have the straps, or is a maybe a smaller size? Thanks again, and love your blog!

  • Anonymous April 5, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    I am hoping this will work for my Valentino Garavanni Couture! I didn't think about the lining being black when I purchased it and find that I am always rooting around!!! I am hoping that this red shaper not only gives some structure but also brightens the bottom!

  • Oanh Nguyen May 27, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    hey ladies, i've just found on that they also have purse shapers as well… LV's are running about $17+shipping, longchamp's are about $21+shipping. i'm not sure about their quality, but it's def worth a try considering theyre offering the same products as Jean mentioned on this post. i will order one and update my post as soon as pay day comes LOL;_type=gallery&ship;_to=US

  • Oanh Nguyen May 27, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    base shaper store is selling it for about $31 + shipping

  • Sarah Sim July 17, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    The price on eBay is cheaper, only $22 with free shipping

  • Oanh Nguyen July 20, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    XP, do you reserve the rights to your pictures? i just want to make sure…

  • Simply Sarah July 29, 2013 at 4:59 am

    Love the bag! such a lovely giveaway – I am sure the future owner will be happy!

  • Anonymous August 29, 2013 at 8:17 am

    Hi Jean,

    I am traveling in a day, and just purchased the Planetes tonal, large. I am worried that it dips at the bottom when one adds too much stuff, including a laptop, and loses shape when one does not add enough stuff?
    Should I find a base for it?

  • classyposh October 19, 2013 at 4:22 am

    This is so helpful Thank You. I am going to purchase the base shaper using the measurements that you've provided.

  • Doctorb October 20, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    Some of the latest Prada bags are coming with reinforced bottoms (starting last season) so that they won't sag, but you have to ask the salesperson and check for yourself because not all of the bags have been redesigned yet. You can easily tell the difference between one with reinforced bottom versus one without as the ones with reinforcement have a much sturdier bottom. When in doubt, I just take all of my stuff and put it into the the bag that I'm looking into purchasing. If there is even the slightless hint of sag from the very beginning, I know that it will only get worse from there.

  • Nor A December 4, 2013 at 9:32 am

    i have the same bag, what's the exact size that you gave them please?
    length and width

  • Anonymous December 20, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    I got my base shaper off, I had a look at the baseshaperstore, but they're so expensive for custom made base shapers! You can also find plenty on eBay and Etsy!

  • Open Mouth January 5, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    I have a bag that is kinda slouchy at the top, where it only looks good if my bag is full. If my bag is empty, then the top kinda deflates a little.
    I have this bag in black:;=45203296BJ&sizeId;=1
    Any tips on how to get the shape right?
    My solution right now is to have paperwork in plastic sleeves so that it pushes out at the top of the bag. I would love to have a better solution, like a bag shaper.

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