I don’t know what my handbag says about me because it is a bag and it can’t talk. And the day that is does have something to say is the day that I’m throwing it in the trash. I’m having bad Muppet creature flashbacks here. I will send it off with a jaunty wave goodbye, and bidding it adieu will be the last words we speak. That being said, here is what I have to say about my purse. I love you. I tend to favour the cross body hobo style bag, letting my shoulders take the brunt of the weight rather than my wrist. I find it easier over the stiffer, more elegant, and currently popular structured bag like the Hamilton, Kelly or Celine’s Boston Tote, though not saying I wouldn’t carry one if it happened to land in my lap. And while I tend to prefer the hands-free option, I am totally prepared to risk pursistis (an inflammation of the wrist and lower arm caused by carrying too heavy of a purse) – yes purse injuries do happen to the best of us.
My current handbag is the Michael Kors Stanthorpe, however, I equally love the MK classic Devon – totally coveting it in grey. Another favourite is the Cynnie Sling from Elizabeth and James. It’s a backpack, no wait it’s a shoulder bag, no wait it’s a carryall. It’s whatever you want it to be.
If you want the hottest shape of the moment, I suggest you go for the bucket bag, though caution it’s vulnerable to pick pocketing if it only has a drawstring closure.
How to pick a handbag
Handbags play an important role in our day to day lives. Selecting the right handbag is key. For some, they are straight function and hold the essentials, but for others they complete an ensemble. I come from the school of thought that they should have a duo purpose and be both functional and pull and outfit together. Too often, handbags are not functional. How many evenings out have I tried to shove my wallet into a clutch, wedging my cell phone in there too, but gave up on the gum because that pack of Dentyne meant I couldn’t close the zipper. I’ll except these limitations in an evening handbag, but for the everyday, we really need to have more of a level of ease and be able to comfortably reach in and find what we need. For me this means zippers and compartments along with a main pouch area. And who says it can’t still be perfect?
When selecting a handbag, the first thing to consider is your lifestyle. What do you need to carry? Is it a wallet with a couple of dollars, your credit and bank cards, and cell phone. Or are you more like me and throw everything under the sun in your handbag, right down to a just in case it rains umbrella, every perks card ever given to me, sunglasses in a jumbo case, my husband’s cap, a gazillion Kleenex, Purel, Chapstick, plus room to smuggle in a soda and a large bag of peanut M&Ms to the movies.
You also want to consider your general style. Are you a casual girl? If so then you will want to select a handbag that is equally casual in style like the hobo or bucket bag. More sophisticated ladies may prefer one that dangles from the wrist like the Hamilton. Weight of the handbag is another criteria to keep in mind. How long will you be carrying it around town? If it weighs to much, injuries can happen – now stop laughing.
Handbags come in a variety of price points and some of the designer inspired equivalents are just as fabulous as the real deal. Start by asking yourself how long do you plan to keep your purse? Is this going to be the purse that you will carry year-in and year-out, or do you like variety of styles, shapes, colours and trends. If you plan to keep it for a long time then go ahead and invest in a designer handbag or good quality leather one in a classic colour and shape. I’ve noticed the more expensive ones tend to have good hardware like zippers that open and close easily. If you are a bit more of a throw-away type then the less expensive ones are probably perfectly suitable for your whimsical ways.
Size and Shape
Consider your size and shape with the size and shape of the bag. If you are teeny wisp of a thing, an oversize handbag is going to be too big for you, will overwhelm your petite frame, and will make you appear smaller. The contrary is true if you are tall or on the plus size. Too small of a bag will not be proportionate and will make you look taller or bigger. Realistically speaking, if you are tall or plus size and don’t want to carry around a big purse, consider an envelope bag, but still it should be fairly large. And if you are petite and like to tote around the world, the structured Kelly style bags are going to be better, but try fitting it in a medium size bag, max.
- Select a purse in the opposite shape to what you are. If you are tall and slender, select rounded or horizontal shapes. If you are a rounder body type, opt for square, vertical or angular shapes.
- If you are an apple or pear-shape, you are better selecting a purse that has a long strap that draws the eye up and down.
- Rectangular or boyish shapes are better in cross body that add fullness to the hip area.
- Tall women are best in a hobo style bag. Avoid shoulder bags that are too short under the arm strap as it will make you look taller.
- Petite women should look for shoulder bags that sit close under the arm.
- Plus size women should look for large, structured bags or a boxy shape. Avoid a bag with too small of a print
How to Buy
Look for details in a purse like whether the zipper or closure opens easily or not. It can be incredibly frustrating if you are in a rush and you can’t open your bag easily. Does it have a zipper or a snap or nothing at all? This can be equally important depending on where you live, where you are going, and what type of transportation you take. Also, look for things like compartments to hold things you need to access quickly or frequently like keys, bus pass, ID badge and cell phone. If the bag is a few years old, you may find the cell phone holder no longer is the right size, but a pack of gum will easily still fit in that space. You also want to be able to reach in your purse and find things without too much effort. I certainly have experienced the black hole effect of a bag where things go in, never to be seen from again. It’s embarrassing when you are in a lineup to pay and are searching around in handbag knowing your change purse is in there somewhere. Just when you give up and pay with your bank card and leave the store, tah dah, it makes its appearance. Sheesh, Twilight Zone moment or what.
So my beloved handbag, I love your ease, I love your rich colour, I love your hardware, I love how beautifully you fit into my life. Pretty little handbag, you complete me.
Handbags available at:
Elizabeth and James Cynnie Sling – http://www.shopbop.com/
Mansur Gavriel – http://www.mansurgavriel.com/products/bucket-bag-black/raw
Michael Kors Stanthorpe – http://www.polyvore.com/michael_kors_stanthorpe_grained_leather/thing?id=76035916