Choosing a Handbag You’ll Love

Recently a friend and blog reader asked me to do a blog post about choosing handbags. I hadn’t really thought about it much before, but truly there are some important things to consider when you’re buying a handbag, so you don’t end up with a bag that you just can’t stand.

I’ll start off by saying that I’m not a real “purse girl,” I’m much more of a “shoe gal,” meaning that of course I carry a handbag, but I don’t have a ton of bags waiting to be used. I have a tough time committing to a new purse. I don’t like the ones that look cheap and preferring leather, the ones I really love just seem out of my price range/comfort zone, although I’m beginning to work through this.

Here are some points to consider when you’re handbag shopping.

1. What size do you need or prefer? What all do you carry? Are the items big or small? You’ve got to accommodate your largest item and of course all of your other daily essentials. I was looking at bags the other day and found something cute, but it was too thin to hold my huge sunglass case. The salesperson suggested carrying it for evening, but it just didn’t feel like an evening bag to me. I passed.

If you’re not sure a bag will hold all of your stuff take the stuffing out and try your things in the bag. (My husband would just cringe if he was with me doing this, but really how else will you know?) Everything should fit and then you should have a bit of ease. There’s nothing worse than having to take everything out of your bag to get to something at the bottom.

2. What materials do you prefer? For the most part I like leather, even in the summer. Canvas seems like it would be fun and light, but it is pretty casual and unless the canvas were black, it’s going to get dirty and won’t last well. If you’re vegan, there are some fantastic vinyl bags out there. You just need to really analyze the quality and look of the bag. I got the most compliments ever on a vinyl bag from Target.  Lastly, consider whether the handbag material will be kind to your clothing.  Straw bags are cute for spring/summer, but straw has large potential for snagging your clothing. Avoid this with a smooth, high quality straw. (It’s going to be expensive, but if you love straw it will be worth it to save your clothing.)

3. Color, i.e. how often do you like to change your purse? Do you prefer something neutral or are you willing to change your bag daily? For a short time, I had both a black bag and a brown bag, but I got fed up with changing my bag out almost daily. I know some women who mix black and brown brilliantly, but it’s not my style. My solution was to get a dark purple leather bag with the theory that it will either match my outfit or it won’t. If it doesn’t match, it will create a contrast and because it’s dark, it will at least go with what I’m wearing.

On the other hand, if you don’t mind changing your bag often, have fun with color. Bright colors are on trend for spring, and handbags are a great way to compliment or contrast with your outfits.

These are just a few tips that will make a difference with your handbag happiness. Check out my next post for more handbag tips. There’s really much more to it than you’d think.

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