We haven’t even got as far as talking about handbags! Announced one of my clients recently as our session drew to a close.   I knew that to start discussing choosing a handbag at this late stage would be overload!

My styling sessions are extremely informative and I don’t expect clients to take any notes. as I will send them the details. But even so there’s a limit to how much information anyone can absorb.

finishing touch choosing a handbag

I will blog about handbags, I promised as I collected my things. Then we can discuss what’s right for you. Her next client had arrived, so it was a perfect solution.

So what do you need to think about when you are choosing a handbag? There are a few points to consider.   But let’s first dispel the myth that you need a bag to match your shoes.

I think I’ve only ever subscribed to that theory once, about 12 years ago. However the shoes I’d bought were so uncomfortable that they were abandoned under my chair as soon as we sat down to dinner!   I’m still using the handbag though!

So what do you need to consider when choosing a handbag?

What Do You Want It For

This might sound blindingly obvious but I’ll admit to having been seduced by the colour or detailing when choosing a handbag.

Choosing a handbag

An ‘interesting’ drama when I had to take my leather jacket off to save my personal belongings! A heavy and unexpected shower meant my stuff would have been soaked just because I HAD to have that gorgeous crushed velvet bag!

Consider the practical elements when choosing a handbag:

  1. Are you a mum and so does choosing a handbag mean finding a really practical one to carry around all those essentials?
  2. Do you want it for going to work? Does it need to be able to hold a tablet, your lunch or perhaps your laptop?
  3. When choosing a handbag you may be tempted by fabric or suede but if you’re outside in all weathers with your bag, this might not be practical

If you’re choosing a handbag for social occasions you probably want to consider a much smaller bag. This helps to avoid the temptation of taking too much stuff with you whenever you’re going out socially!

choosing a handbag for an evening out

Think About Your Body

When you are choosing a handbag think about your own body your shape and scale.  Remember your bag becomes an extension of you and part of your outfit.

A petite woman carrying a very large handbag will make you look smaller. This also works in reverse a larger woman with a small bag will look bigger.

choosing a handbag consider your scale

If you have a large bust be wary when choosing a handbag you want to wear on your shoulder. Avoid short straps that mean your bag will fall in line with your bust.

But equally if you have a pear shaped body with a small bust and larger hips, a good choice would be a bag that sits on your shoulder and falls in line with your bust. But avoid a longer strap that means the bag sits in line with your hips.

If you have a large bust cross body bags might be practical but will not be the best look for you.


Straps And Handles When Choosing A Handbagchoosing a handbag for an evening out

Now is time to think about the one of the design features you want when choosing a handbag.

. If you are standing around with drinks and possibly canapés or shaking hands you will run out of hands!! How much easier is it to pop your bag on your shoulder?

Adjustable straps are really useful. This will enable you to fix the length of the strap so that it flatters your bodyline.

Handles. A lot of bags have a grab handle as well as straps. This can be a really useful feature when choosing a handbag, particularly if you are using it for work and going to lots of meetings. It can be much simpler to just simply pick up your bag while you’re finishing a conversation, rather than scrabbling about putting it on your shoulder.


Other Design Details


If you are a curvy bodyline, then a handbag with soft edges and curves will look good. If you have an angular bodyline a more boxy shape bag with squarer edges will work for you.


Think about the clasp or closure when choosing a handbag.   Not only do you want to prevent your belongings from falling out, sadly you need to protect them against thieves.

That said I’ve had two handbags stolen. On both occasions the thieves made off with the entire bag!


This didn’t’ even occur to me when I was feeding my Guess Bag addiction on EBay last year! Consequently my latest acquisition only gets an outing when I don’t have to hold it on my shoulder for long! It weighs 750g before I put anything in it!


Pockets And Compartmentschoosing a handbag number of pockets and compartments

When choosing your handbag, think about what you will be carrying and convenience.

Do you want easily accessible pockets to put items like keys and phone? If you commute do you want an outside pocket for your season ticket or oyster card?


Personality and Style

Your handbag should be an extension of your personality and style.

If you want to make a statement, then your handbag is a great way to do this. I’ve definitely bought handbags not just because I loved them, but they made a bold statement! For those readers who know me, I’m sure that will be a big surprise!!

If you have a more elegant style you will be attracted to bags that offer a more classic design.

For someone who loves a feminine look you will probably be attracted to bags with lots of details, colours and a fun look.choosing a handbag to suit your personality

In terms of colour while I am adamant that you do not need to match your shoes and your handbag, you may want to consider your colours if you have had your colours analyzed. Just because your bags will co-ordinate more easily with your outfits!

Has That Given You Bags Of Ideas?

Sorry I couldn’t resist that one!! But I do hope this post has given you some ideas of points to consider when choosing a handbag?

Do you find yourself sticking to one bag at a time for everyday use? It prevents the risk of forgetting anything when you change bags? Or do you prefer to swap your bags around and look for different bags to work with different outfits? If you are worried about swapping bags and forgetting things, you could consider a bag liner.

If you would like to learn more about choosing a handbag and how to accessorise I will be running a workshop in May check out the details here.