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How To Choose The Right Handbag

By Jessica M. Wright

How to choose the right handbag. Surely the fashion-forward girl can’t stash all her must-haves in her hands or pockets. The latter adds bulk and the former, well it’s just impractical. So when you decide to carry a handbag, be as meticulous about its selection as you are with your wardrobe. When making your choice, think style, size, structure, and season. First, your handbag has to match your outfit. As is the case with shoes, you should use your handbag to render contrast. For example, a red or tan soft briefcase adds just a touch of flair a black or navy suit. A nice black clutch brings polish to a bright print ensemble. Conversely, a fashionable Burberry tote works well with almost any solid.

Catherine Rapetti burgundy pleated patent 'Charlotte' hobo

There are times when the situation warrants form over fashion, but with the plethora of inexpensive options at the like there’s no reason to sacrifice and carry an old, unseemly bag. Even the wishy-washy types with no apparent personal style can make a nice impression with the right bag. The possibilities are endless, so you can set your own limitations. The only hard fast statute is casual bag with casual dress formal bag with formal dress, etc. If you prefer to carry the same handbag most of the time, choose a neutral go with a bag that represents your own unique style or experiment with color and texture without breaking the rules for your body type. So really the choice is yours!

Alexis Hudson black ruched leather 'Bastille' small shoulder bag

Now that you’ve identified a style and size range, seek out structure. Look for a defined shape that will hold even when filled to capacity. Most often good structure can only be found with good material and even better construction. So the quality aspect can take care of itself. Another feature to focus on is expandable elements such as buckles and other fasteners. Detaching these features provides more room, but at the cost of style and structure. Resist the urge to pack in all in and keep the fasteners intact for a more organized appearance. Otherwise, your purse literally starts to resemble a bag straight from your favorite neighborhood grocery.

Bottega Veneta walnut woven leather small messenger bag

Regardless of style, the size of a bag should never overwhelm your frame. This means that taller ladies can carry most any size, while petites should stick with the smaller fare. The same logic applies to straps - straps should not be so long that the bag hits your hip or below. An oversize low-slung bag can make even the most dainty woman come off as dumpy, causing her posture to tilt and stride to break. Control your bag don’t let it control you. Don’t cling to that colorful canvas tote in the dead of winter. Put away to the suede saddle bag when the flowers start to bloom in spring. You wouldn’t floss your corduroy in July, so don’t carry your heaviest leather satchel while wearing your linens. Remember to be smart when storing your handbags. If possible, place them is a breathable dust bag for protection, so when to seasons change again you‘re ready to go change to the right handbag too.

Jessica White loves fashion handbags and writes for an online source for alternative designer fashion. 


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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mom4boys wrote Sep 1, 2008
    • Boy talk about handbags I love to have one with every color I wear



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lilly wrote Sep 9, 2008
    • Any advice on casual fall bags for teenage daughters. She tends to carry the same one but wants to be trendy with whatever may be popular at the time. Thanks!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mary Clark wrote Sep 13, 2008
    • Hey check out this website...B’s Purses....they are the cutest handbags...and guess what you are the designer.
      They are very well made and have been featured on The View and were in the Family Circle magazine last month.  

      [Link Removed]


      Maryclark, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Leeann wrote Sep 14, 2008
    • I love handbags. I have many . My friend has really cute ones.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Bek wrote Sep 17, 2008
    • Oh,  I am a “handbag hoor“-no shame whatsoever!!!  Handbags fit no matter how much you gain or lose, no matter how good or bad your hair-day may be!  Even more than shoes, I love bags because you can express so much style even when wearing a plain outfit, and can be purchased, if you wish, for less than half the national debt!!

      My only question is “where can I buy these posted bags“?



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