Protecting Saggy Bags - Base Shapers for Prada & Louis Vuitton

base_shaperCustom-sized base shaper c/o Base Shaper Store (also avail pre-made for popular Louis Vuitton styles)

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 the Base Shaper Store 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. 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 comments:

  1. 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.

    ReplyDelete
  2. 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!

    VeryAmy.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  4. 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.

    -Nathy

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

    ReplyDelete
  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  7. 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

    ReplyDelete
  8. 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.

    ReplyDelete
  9. 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
    saltandleather.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  10. 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 :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 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!

      Delete
    2. 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!
      www.expressionthrustle.com

      Delete
    3. 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.

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

    -FashionEdible

    ReplyDelete
  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

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

    x.x.
    JC

    ReplyDelete
  14. 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.

    xx
    Sabrina

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

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

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

    ReplyDelete
  18. 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! (:

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 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.

      Delete
  19. 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!!

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

      Delete
    2. 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.

      Delete
  20. 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

    ReplyDelete
  21. 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.
    -Elissa

    Professionally Petite

    ReplyDelete
  22. 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.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 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.

      Delete
    2. 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.

      Delete
  23. 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!

    ReplyDelete
  24. 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.

    ReplyDelete
  25. What a brilliant idea! Thanks for sharing :)

    Melissa
    www.prettyinpolkadot.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  26. 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.

    ReplyDelete
  27. 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. :D

    ReplyDelete
  28. 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?

    ReplyDelete
  29. 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!"

    ReplyDelete
  30. this is an amazing idea! thanks for sharing!

    xoxo
    Mady

    thegirlfromthemirror.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hi Jean! Thanks for sharing this wonderful idea.

    ReplyDelete
  32. 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.

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

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

    ReplyDelete
  35. 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 www.blackstarstyle.com!

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

    ReplyDelete
  37. 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?

    ReplyDelete
  38. 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!)

    ReplyDelete
  39. 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
    www.StyleCueBySuzieQ.com

    ReplyDelete
  40. 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...

    ReplyDelete
  41. 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

    ReplyDelete
  42. 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.

    ReplyDelete
  43. 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!)
    www.expressionthrustyle.com

    ReplyDelete
  44. Super helpful

    Come say HI: www.gemmamonclus.blogspot.com

    Love,Gemma

    ReplyDelete
  45. Thanks for the helpful tip! I love you blog!

    http://everyprettypenny.blogspot.com/

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

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

    xo
    Sam
    http://fabulouspetite.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  48. 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 :)

    ReplyDelete
  49. 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???

    ReplyDelete
  50. 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

    ReplyDelete
  51. 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.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Thanks for the tip ;)

    Love xx
    Melanie ~ www.mlncrd.com

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

    ReplyDelete
  54. 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.

    ReplyDelete
  55. 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.

    ReplyDelete
  56. 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!

    ReplyDelete
  57. 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!

    ReplyDelete
  58. 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

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

    ReplyDelete
  60. Hi

    You can also get it on eBay, here's the link:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Clear-Base-Shaper-Liner-For-Prada-Saffiano-Lux-Tote-BN1844-/251305139666?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3a82f41dd2

    :)

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

    ReplyDelete
  62. 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

    ReplyDelete
  63. Love the bag! such a lovely giveaway - I am sure the future owner will be happy!
    http://www.jetsetmichaelkors.com/

    ReplyDelete
  64. 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?

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

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

    ReplyDelete
  67. 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!

    ReplyDelete
  68. 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.

    ReplyDelete
 
Pin It button on image hover