Visual Handbag Glossary | Choose Your Handbag Style
For many, handbags are the first fashion love; these accessories double as wearable pieces of art and are one of the most important components of any outfit. If you're looking to educate yourself in the ways of the handbag world, it pays to know how to make the right choice when looking for a handbag that will be best suited to your lifestyle.
How to Choose a Handbag Style
Bags come in various shapes and sizes, like minaudiere or envelope and cocktail purses. But which one should you get? In this section, we'll discuss a few basic rules for choosing the right handbag style.
Always Try it On
Thrills are short; admiration takes time. If you see a bag for the first time, and your reaction is as emotional as a little girl's reaction to kittens, you might be on a good road to a very bad decision. Just because a handbag is cute doesn't necessarily mean it's useful and of good quality. So, always try the bag on first. It's crucial to see how it looks on you.
Everybody is unique, and personal characteristics such as height, size, hair color, and skin tone vary. So grab the bag, try it on, and check yourself in the mirror. Holding the bag in your hands, take a close look and consider whether you like its shape, texture, details (such as pockets and zippers in silver, gold, or metallic), color, belts, and other features.
Choose the Right Size
It's important to choose the right material for your handbag, following your preferences and tastes. Some like patent leather handbags with long straps, while others prefer Nappa grain leather bags with a rounded bottom or a simple tote bag. However, you should always give priority to the size of the bag before deciding on the material.
Choosing the right size of the bag is as crucial as choosing the right dress or pants size. The improper size might look out of proportion, much like the wrong pair of trousers. A well-matched bag will enhance your silhouette and add to your stylish appearance.
So, if you're short, you might want to avoid oversized hobo bags. If you're taller or large, you similarly prefer to avoid things like very small crossbodys in favor of a more spacious bag.
Choose the Right Model
Besides choosing the right size, it's also essential to choose the right model that will complement your style and personality. A good rule of thumb is to think about where you plan to use your bag. For example, if you know you need something you can comfortably carry on public transit, a handbag that you can’t throw over your shoulder might not be practical.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for something you can feel chic wearing out to dinner, a large tote bag might be comfortable but feel too casual for the occasion.
Comfort is Crucial
As we previously stated, for many, handbags are their first fashion love. Others went for shoes. And while there's nothing wrong with that, heels can be a bit uncomfortable. But handbags don't have to be. If you're already trying on the bag before purchasing it, look beyond aesthetics.
Consider the comfort of your bag rather than just giving it a cursory glance. You should also feel the bag to see how light or heavy it is and how comfortable it is to touch. A handbag is like a silent companion, don't purchase one if you're not comfortable with walking around carrying it.
Popular Bag Types
Backpacks are basically bags with shoulder straps that would allow you to have both hands free. You'll be carrying it on your back, eliminating that one-sided feeling you get when tugging a heavy and large shoulder bag all day.
This type of bag is primarily designed for carrying rather than aesthetics, and while there are some luxurious products on the market, backpacks usually prioritize function over form. They typically have several pockets, including a water bottle pocket, and newer models even have integrated laptop sleeves and anti-theft features.
Also known as cross-body bags, messenger bags have become a ubiquitous replacement for the briefcase. However, it's more versatile, and even utility techs use variations of messenger bags to carry their tools. Modern messenger bags are designed to fit commonly-sized laptops, tablets, and document folders while also maintaining high levels of comfort.
Their single-strap design makes it incredibly easy to just swing the bag to the front and retrieve what you need. They're particularly useful and efficient for urban mobility; most agree that messenger bags look more professional on both men and women.
Clutch bags are designed for carrying the bare essentials, thus minimizing the number of things you can carry. Thus most ladies actually carry a clutch bag as their cosmetic bag within their day bags, with a bit of cash, a credit card, lip balm, and a pocket mirror. They're perfect when you want to step out of the office or your workspace to run an errand or grab a quick bite. They’re also popular for more elegant evening looks.
They're basically modernized fanny packs and sling bags but without any straps or handles. In fact, most of them are designed with aesthetics in mind, which is why you'll find that plenty of clutch bags were actually designed by high-end fashion houses like Gucci.
Duffel Bags and Drawstrings
Duffel bags and drawstrings aren't your typical daily fashion bags since they're mostly used to carry sports clothing on your way to and from the gym. But that doesn't mean that they shouldn’t be fashionable or high-quality. In fact, a good-quality leather duffel bag is a sound investment, as it can help you carry your gym clothes or accompany you on your travels for a whole lifetime.
A wristlet is a tiny bag or a wristlet phone case that offers just enough space for your phone, cards, cash, and keychain. Wristlet bags are becoming increasingly popular due to their practicality, the variety of different styles, and different features.
Bags are more than a mere fashion statement — they're a fusion of form and function. If you're in the market for a new bag, check out B.Eclectic, a fashion brand based in Columbus, Ohio, with a unique collection of handcrafted bags and stylish accessories.