Protecting Saggy Bags – Base Shapers for Prada & Louis Vuitton

base_shaper
Custom-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 $30 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 eBay store with verified customer reviews). 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?

Leave a Comment

80 Comments

  1. GEMMA wrote:

    Super helpful

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

    Love,Gemma

    Posted 1.16.13 Reply
  2. Debora wrote:

    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

    Posted 1.16.13 Reply
  3. Debora wrote:

    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

    Posted 1.16.13 Reply
  4. newpetite wrote:

    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.

    Posted 1.16.13 Reply
  5. 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

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  6. Katie C wrote:

    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…

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  7. Suzie Q wrote:

    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

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  8. chicken314 wrote:

    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!)

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  9. Anonymous wrote:

    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?

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  10. Anonymous wrote:

    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.

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  11. Tess wrote:

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

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  12. 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 http://www.blackstarstyle.com!

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  13. Christie wrote:

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

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  14. Anonymous wrote:

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

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  15. Anonymous wrote:

    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!

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  16. zelya wrote:

    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.

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  17. Candice wrote:

    Hi Jean! Thanks for sharing this wonderful idea.

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  18. Mady T. wrote:

    this is an amazing idea! thanks for sharing!

    xoxo
    Mady

    thegirlfromthemirror.blogspot.com

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  19. Ana wrote:

    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!"

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  20. R.L. wrote:

    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?

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  21. Elle wrote:

    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. 😀

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  22. 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.

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  23. 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.

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  24. What a brilliant idea! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Melissa
    http://www.prettyinpolkadot.blogspot.com

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  25. Janki wrote:

    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.

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  26. 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.

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  27. fantastic!!! thanks!!
    ❤The fashion witch❤

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  28. 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!

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  29. Sophié wrote:

    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.

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  30. 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

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  31. aliami wrote:

    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

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  32. Jane wrote:

    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!!

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  33. Anonymous wrote:

    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! (:

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  34. Kittie wrote:

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

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  35. Unknown wrote:

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

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  36. This is so great! I was looking for a solution to saggy bags! Thank you:)!

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  37. Sabrina wrote:

    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

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  38. Anonymous wrote:

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

    x.x.
    JC

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  39. sepopley wrote:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  40. What a fantastic idea! The saggy look is definitely unflattering to the bag.

    -FashionEdible

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  41. 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 🙂

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  42. maggie wrote:

    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

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  43. gigiofca wrote:

    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.

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  44. Julia wrote:

    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

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  45. Julia wrote:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  46. Stefanie Z wrote:

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

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  47. Nathyness wrote:

    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

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  48. Nathyness wrote:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  49. Amy wrote:

    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

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply
  50. Lexi wrote:

    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.

    Posted 1.15.13 Reply

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