How to Pick a Handbag

Handbags are awesome. Not only do they carry our essentials, they also pull together our look and easily upgrade our wardrobe. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find ones that don’t suck.

Often, handbags aren’t ergonomic or very functional even if they look nice. Conversely, sometimes the most functional handbags are the ugliest. Maybe that’s why the average woman owns about 21 handbags and buys a new one every three months or so. Since handbags can cost a couple of hundred dollars, you want to make sure your investment is worth it. So here’s how to find the kinds of handbags that don’t suck, by which we mean those that: won’t kill your shoulders, fit you well, and have that happy marriage between great looks and practicality.

Style and Purpose

The first thing you should consider is when and how you’ll use your next handbag. What will you carry in it? What outfits will you wear it with? How will you actually wear it? For example, if you’re looking for an everyday bag for walking around the city, you might prefer a lightweight cross-body bag rather than a leather satchel with short handles. For work, you might choose a classic shoulder bag that’s roomy enough, perhaps, to carry a small tablet or paperwork.

There are definitely lots of styles and materials to choose from, at least.

Handbag Fit for your Body Type

In addition to your handbag’s purpose, you might want to choose a bag that flatters your body, much like you would choose any other fashion object. HSN has this guide to handbags for different body types:

The size of handbag should be proportionate to the person’s body type

  • Short and petite women appear taller with small handbags and shorter with large handbags
  • Tall and slim women appear larger with small handbags and look best with midsize, large and oversized styles.

The shape of a handbag should be opposite of the person’s body type

  • Short women look taller carrying a long rectangular handbag
  • Slim and tall women benefit from a round handbag

The length of a handbag – where the bottom hits the body – emphasizes that area

  • Short handbags make busts appear larger, so choose styles with longer straps to avert attention
  • Most women look good wearing handbags that hang to the mid-torso

They also suggest using handbags to balance out your figure. For example if you have a pear-shaped or triangle body type (waist and hips wider than your shoulders), a satchel handbag that falls between your waist and your hips could make your top area seem larger and balance out your figure. If you have a rectangle body type (shoulders, waist, and hips about the same width), a hobo or shoulder bag that falls at your waist could add slight curves.

 When you try out a handbag at the store, be sure to check how it looks on you in a mirror so you choose one that compliments rather than clashes with your style.

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