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

  • 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!

    xoxo,
    Suzie Q
    http://www.StyleCueBySuzieQ.com

  • 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!
    http://www.expressionthrustle.com

  • 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!)
    http://www.expressionthrustyle.com

  • GEMMA January 16, 2013 at 4:32 am

    Super helpful

    Come say HI: http://www.gemmamonclus.blogspot.com

    Love,Gemma

  • 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!

    http://everyprettypenny.blogspot.com/

  • 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.

    xo
    Sam
    http://fabulouspetite.blogspot.com

  • 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 ~ http://www.mlncrd.com

  • 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 etsy.com 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

    http://www.etsy.com/search?q=purse%20shaper&view;_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…

    http://www.threadflip.com/items/198060-handbag-bottom-piece-louis-vuittonpradamichael-kors

  • 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!
    http://www.jetsetmichaelkors.com/

  • 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

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

  • Anonymous December 20, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    I got my base shaper off http://designerbaseshapers.com/, 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: http://www.yoox.com/us/45203296BJ/item?dept=women#sts=sr_women80&cod10;=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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