Handbags 101

If you’re like most women, you love to shop. We have so many options, however, making smart buying decisions when it comes to handbags is not as easy as it once was. There is not just one It Bag or style that’s en vogue. And not everyone can afford dozens of bags in all shapes and sizes, so it’s important to choose wisely. The good news about having so many options is that there are a variety of styles and price points, so you can find the one that works best for you.

Handbags should match how you dress and your lifestyle

Before buying any handbag, think about your wardrobe and lifestyle. Are you more sophisticated with a polished look? Do you have a corporate job and attend a lot of work events and travel for work? Or, do you have more a casual work environment, like a yoga studio or spa? Your handbag should reflect the way you dress and fit your lifestyle as well. If you hit the clubs on a regular basis you will probably have different needs than a mother of three (then again, maybe not!).

Think about what you want or need to bring with you. If you only care about the bare essentials (id, cell, mad cash and lip gloss) or are you a walking drugstore? Deciding which handbag is worth the investment is unique to each woman. Some women strictly follow seasonal trends, while others confine themselves to specific handbag sizes (e.g., I could never carry a small clutch/oversized bag).

If you’re stuck in a handbag rut, the best way to get out of it is to try something new! Here’s an overview of the most common handbag styles. Choose one that fits your personality.

Choosing the right handbag for your body type

Even though you don’t actually wear a handbag, you’re carrying it up against your body, so it shouldn’t be out of proportion with your body type.

It may seem counterintuitive but fashion experts advise choosing a shape that’s the opposite of your body type. If you’re tall and thin, a slouchy, rounded hobo bag will compliment your figure. If you’re shorter and curvy, choosing a handbag that’s longer and more rectangular or long and sleek like a clutch looks best.

The rounder your figure, the more structured the bag. But you don’t have to go severe-rectangular or square shapes in soft leathers will offer a complimentary silhouette.

On the other hand, the size of the bag should be in proportion to your figure. Think about it, if you’re 5’10” a mini handbag would look out of place. Likewise a 4’11” with a humongous oversized bag the size of a TV would look equally silly.

And keep in mind that a handbag’s length-where the bottom hits your body-will accentuate whatever part of the body it comes near (eyes are drawn to the bag). The most popular length is mid torso because it flatters the waist.

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