Monday, September 20, 2010

Handbags Guides - What You Need To Know

Tote bags and Shoppers

When you need to bring along many of your belongings, tote bags and shoppers are the large bags for you because:
Tote bags and shoppers have a bigger capacity than other handbags.
Most tote bags and shoppers have a heavy-duty design.
Totes bags and shoppers are available in several types of materials, often in canvas twill and leather.
Totes and shoppers usually have a functional square or rectangular shape and an open top.
Some tote bags are wide open and ready for whatever you want to put in, while other totes have handy storage compartments for key, cell phones, water bottles and anything else you may need.
Tote bags always have some sort of handle, and occasionally the handles are long enough to use as a shoulder strap.
Tote bags have one other special quality: The bigger the purse you carry, the smaller you look -- instant weight loss from your accessories!

Where you'll be taking your tote bag or shopper
On an airplane as a carry-on
To the beach with all of your gear
To work when you need to bring along a full day's supplies, including gym clothes for after work
Out shopping so you won't have to use any plastic bags
Do: take advantage of the utilitarian design of tote bags and shoppers and use one of these purses when you're wearing casual clothing, like jeans and a sweater or a tracksuit.
Do: choose a tote bag that can be taken to the office by selecting one in a neutral color, possibly out of leather, so it won't take away from your career look.
Don't: use a tote bag when you're wearing an evening gown, even if your tote bag is a designer handbag.

Shoulder bags

Perfect for everyday, shoulder bags are the workhorses of a handbag wardrobe because:
With straps long enough to go over your shoulder (hence the name), shoulder bags will keep everything you need handy without taking up one of your hands.
The shoulder straps may allow the purse to hang as low as your hips or up high by your waist.
Many shoulder bags have outside pockets as well as interior places to organize everything you need, from your cell phone to your keys.
Shoulder bags are available in many different styles, like the softly crescent-shaped hobo bag, the functional and necessary diaper bag and all manner of luxurious designer handbags.
With a variety of sizes, shapes, colors, closures and designs, there's sure to be a shoulder bag that you'll love to bring with you.

Where you'll be taking your shoulder bag
To the store, with your wallet, cell phone and keys tucked inside
To the movies with your friends (we won't tell if you sneak in your own candy!)
When you go out to eat at a casual restaurant or bar
To the office, but remember to choose a higher-quality material to maintain a professional look
Do: let your shoulder bag be a pop of color when you're wearing a neutral outfit.
Do: adjust the strap so your shoulder bag doesn't hang any lower than your hips.
Don't: wear your glamorous clothes with a shoulder bag unless it has a very delicate strap, like a chain; otherwise, the shoulder strap will interfere with the beauty of your evening wear.


Satchels are true handbags because the handles are short enough that you hold it in your hand. You'll want to use these luggage-inspired purses because:
With their wide, flat interiors and double handles, satchels have a classic look that never looks inappropriate.
Available in a variety of sizes, satchels can be filled with most women's day-to-day necessities.
You can achieve the perfect laid-back cool look with jeans and a leather satchel.
When you need a hand, your satchel easily rests in the crook of your arm, or if you pull the straps over your shoulder, your satchel tucks into your underarm.

Where you'll be taking your satchel
On a date when you want a handbag with a ladylike look and plenty of storage
To a bar or club on girls' night out with your hottest party dress
To a party when you won't mind that all eyes will be on your handbag
Do: look for satchels with fun details like leather trim or fancy buckles on exterior pockets.
Do: choose brightly colored satchels in the spring and summer.
Don't: leave the detachable shoulder strap attached -- if your satchel comes with one -- when you plan to use the short handles; store it in a drawer for days when you want a change of pace.

Evening bags

Evening bags, including clutch bags (which have no strap and you hold -- or "clutch" -- in your hand) and wristlets (which have a strap just long enough to hang over your wrist), are the handbags you'll want for a special night out because:
With lovely details like beads, fringe and sequins and fine fabrics like metallics and satins, evening bags will complement your evening wear perfectly.
You can choose between soft, leather evening bags or handbags with structured metal frames, depending on how formal your eveningwear is.
If your evening bag has a handle, you can tuck it inside to transform it into a clutch bag .
You can use a clutch bag as a wallet inside your larger handbag during the day, and then pull it out for evening.
Nothing says glamour and romance more than accessorizing with a beaded or rhinestone evening bag.

Where you'll be taking your evening bag
To a holiday party when you're there to impress
To a fine restaurant when you're there with your special someone
To a wedding with a few tissues inside
To a cocktail party, where a cocktail ring-clad hand holding a clutch bag will be the perfect elegant look
Do: get dressed to the nines and take advantage of the style of evening bags.
Do: let a fun evening bag, clutch bag or wristlet take center stage when you're wearing a little black dress.
Don't: try to cram too much into your evening bag. Only bring along the essentials: cell phone, mints, a credit card, lipstick and cab fare.

Other handbag features

Think about the type of closures you would prefer as you are shopping for handbags. Do you need the security of a zipper or would you like an open top? Would snaps be a bother or are they just the right amount of closure? Do you prefer a flap with a magnet or would a drawstring be to your liking? Be sure to read the description of the closure and make sure it's one you'll like using.

From leather handbags to satin handbags, the materials available are seemingly endless. Evening bags work well in fine fabrics, but your everyday handbag should be made out of a more durable material. If you plan on using your new purse often, be sure to notice if the fabric can handle the use, like leather, canvas twill or even a sturdy PVC material.

Remember to consider how the shape of your handbag and the storage compartments will affect its functionality. Do you want easy access to your cell phone or a compartment just for your keys? Do you like to carry a north-south handbag (one that is tall and narrow) or an east-west handbag (one that is wide and short)? Be sure to read the handbag descriptions as you are online shopping so you'll love every detail when your handbag arrives.

Common handbag questions

How should I care for my handbags?
Most handbags can't go into the laundry, so prevent stains and dirt as much as possible, especially when you have designer handbags. Handle your handbags with clean hands, and think about using darker-colored handbags when you go places where there's food or other things that may stain your handbags. If you take your purse to the movies or to a restaurant, place it on a chair instead of on the floor. Keep items that could stain the interior -- pens, makeup or snacks -- zipped into another small bag that you put into your handbag.
Many handbags can be spot-cleaned with a soft, damp cloth. Use leather cleaner on your leather handbags, but be sure to do a test patch in an inconspicuous area to check for color-fastness. For tricky spots or delicate fabrics, take your handbags to the dry cleaner.
Store your designer handbag in the cloth dust bag it came with, in a pillowcase or in bubble wrap -- not tissue paper which may attract moths. If there is a chain handle, then store it inside the handbag where it can't scratch the exterior. Unbuckle any buckles and loosen any straps to prevent marks from the metal.

Does my handbag need to match my other accessories?
If you like the classic look of matching your shoes and handbag, then go for it! Matching your handbag, shoes and even your belt can be an easy way to look quite smart. Mismatched -- but coordinated -- accessories can look very modern, so if you like that style, then you can make it work. Many women find this look to be fresher and less fussy. When your accessories aren't matching, be sure to maintain a similar feeling; for example, try carrying a tote bag with casual shoes but use a clutch bag when you're wearing pretty pumps.

Which handbags do I need to have a good handbag wardrobe?
Make sure you have a handbag that will suit everything you do and everywhere you go. You wouldn't want to carry a big shopper when you're wearing an evening gown just as you wouldn't want to carry everything you need for work in a little clutch bag. The basics are a large handbag, a medium-sized everyday handbag and an evening bag. Then fill in your handbag wardrobe based on what you do, where you go and what you wear.