Master of Design in Fashion, Body and Garment School of
"Fashion Advice on How to Buy & Wear Handbags"
Courtesy of Big Buddha/Zappos
Here you'll find shopping and styling advice on Womens handbags - from what to look for in a bag to styling your outfits. Simply put, you'll learn how to get the most out of your bags! Want to look for the latest handbag styles and shop instead?
Here you'll find fashion advice & tips on:
As much as a handbag can enhance an outfit and really define your style, it can also break your look. The wrong bag can draw the eye to areas you're self-conscious about and make you look bigger/smaller and even ruin your signature image!
So it's super important to thoroughly think about what bag styles complement your personal style, to make sure you have a bag-collection that you love!
Let's take a look at important pointers to buying womens handbags:
What Handbags to Invest in?If you want to get the most out of your handbags then I recommend that you secure handbags in simple, timeless styles that cover your major daily activities.
A tote and hobo handbag are examples of classic everyday bag styles that you can take from day to evening.
The wardrobe bag essentials are:
- Structured tote handbag for polishing your look
- Hobo handbag for everything else
- Casual messenger bag
- Laptop bag
- Chic clutch purse for the weekend cocktails
- Cross body or messenger bag works for day-out occasions
- Pretty evening bags in a dark neutral (black) and light neutral (eg. cream) that go with special occasions
- Leather travel bag in a dark neutral (eg.black)
This is just a minimum list - after securing these staples, feel free to go wild on other trendier handbags! You might also want to look into suitcases as well. I personally love Diane von Furstenberg's luggage collection. Pink luggage is cute too and are easier to spot.
Versatility is Chic
A tip is to secure at least one quality bag for each of your daily activities (work, casual evenings, traveling, parties, etc.) in neutral, versatile colors such as black, brown, dark navy blue, and white/cream.
Courtesy of John Lewis and JC Penney
This ensures that you can match them with the rest of your wardrobe without having to think twice about if the colors and style clash with the outfit. Learn more about neutrals and universal colors.
You might want to put the bulk of your closet budget in basic, quality handbags, to make sure they will endure your lifestyle. So if you're an office worker, invest in durable tote bags that you love and can see yourself using for many years to come.
Also before buying a handbag, you might want to ask yourself these questions:
- Do I need it as an accessory or for practical use?
- How often will I be using the bag?
- How practical is it? (for your lifestyle, activity you'll be carrying it to, will it accommodate all of your important belongings?)
- Can I wear it with the rest of my outfits?
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Does it Suit Your Style?One of the most important things when it comes to selecting fashion handbags is matching them to your personal style.
Here are a couple of examples:
For example if you have a Sporty style - pick a simple messenger, satchel or canvas handbag.
Sporty Satchel Handbag from Bagsbuy
If you are more into a Bohemian style - it should be larger, made of original material like real leather or suede. Perhaps a bit slouchy and vintagey.
Brown Slouch Hobo Handbag from Baghaus
If you're Classy you might want to choose medium-sized leather tote bag in neutral. Preferably tailored in design.
Tailored Handbag from eBags
The point here is that selecting a handbag that suits your personal style is important in defining your image! Look for details that are you but are versatile to wear with the rest of your closet.
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Will it Suit Your Body Shape?Have you ever thought that the shape and length of your evening bag can affect your silhouette?
As with any piece of clothing or accessory, it can either take off or add pounds to your body figure, depending on the bag's size, shape and where it falls on your body.
Generally, if you want to add volume and width to your frame, choose a wide and detailed handbag. Do the opposite if you want to slim down your body shape. Click here to learn more about how to dress your body shape
Also, pay attention to where the bag falls. It can draw attention to parts of your body you don't or do like!
To give you a general idea, take a look at these guidelines:
If You Have...
Full/Wide Upper Half
If you have a full or wide upper body, then you most likely have narrow hips.
Select bags that widen and add width to your lower body (hips and thighs). So choose a handbag that finishes off at below hipbone level.
Examples: Cross body bags, messenger bags. Preferably with some details to add fullness around your hips.
Full/Wide Hips and Legs
If you have a full or curvy lower bottom (hips, thighs), then you're likely a Pear or Hourglass.
Look for handbags that visually add volume around your upper body part. So opt for a bag style that finishes off around your upper bust and midsection.
Examples: Leather shoulder bags at mid-riff length, or longer bags but with narrow bodies.
Straight Hip/Waist Figure
Add volume and dimensions to your frame (add curves around the hips) but if you're skinny avoid overdoing it with really oversized bags as they'll only make your frame obviously smaller.
So look for broad and unstructured handbags with details like tassels, fringes, straps, studs, etc. Think slouch and hobo.
Examples: Studded motorcycle bags, metallic and shiny patent materials, cross body bags at hip length to create curves.
Go for bigger bags (medium if you're Petite), preferably solid-colored and with vertical details to draw the eye up and down. Avoid carrying small bags as this will only emphasize your full-figure shape.
Examples: Oversized handbags, big leather tote bags.
See Style & Shopping Guide to Womens Plus Size Fashion & Clothing
Also work with the guidelines for your body shape.
You need a bag scaled to your body size and height, so avoid humongous bag sizes unless you want to look shorter and smaller. If you're a Plus size, opt for medium-scaled bags, but look for details and shapes that are slimming.
In general, look for handbags and purses with a long strap to help create a long, lean line on your frame. Do pick a bag with a vertical shaped bag to help elongate your body frame.
Examples: Bags with narrow bodies, details that run at a vertical line.
See Style & Shopping Guide to Womens Petite Clothing & Fashion
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Now that you know what suits you, it's time to put together an outfit with a bag!
How to Mix & Match with a BagIt depends on what your purpose is with a handbag.
Are you wearing it to accessorize your look, make a bold statement or for practical purpose?
A rule of thumb is to always keep your overall outfit balanced. This means: avoid mixing too many patterns in one, keep the rest simple if the evening bag or purse you're carrying is flashy or eye catching.
Here are a couple of tips on how to mix & match your fashion handbags:
If You Want To..
Look Classy but TrendyYou can never go wrong with a bag that matches your jewelry and/or shoes - evening out the overall color scheme.
This gives a polished look which works for any occasion.
Create a Statement with a BagWear an eye-catching (studded, fully beaded, colorful) bag with a plain and solid colored outfit.
Make sure that the bag falls on the right places where you don't mind drawing attention to.
Accessorize a Multi-Colored Dress or TopChoose a bag in one of the colors in the print. If you see any pinks or reds in the print, pair it with a purse in any of those colors.
You can also go for a completely neutral, basic bag to let your print clothing be the focal point of your outfit.
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Time to Shop for the Latest Womens HandbagsNow that you've gone through my fashion tips and shopping advice on handbags, it's time to shop!
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