Rue La La, a members-only online designer retailer, recently released a handbag guide that I think is an amazing jumping off point for anyone interesting in handbags. I particularly like their advice about designer labels (I often buy vintage handbags, and it’s important to be able to spot a fake) and their history of handbags. I thought I’d share my own four favorite handbag shapes and what I carry in each as a bit of my own handbag 101.
The Clutch / Wristlet
I probably have more of this type of handbag than any other due both to cost and versatility. A good wristlet is an easy, inexpensive accessory that can add a great pop of color to an outfit.
Mine generally contain my wallet (bonus points for the Kate Spade in the upper left that actually is a wallet), my phone, and some lip color (or just chapstick).
I use my clutches and wristlets primarily to accent evening and formal wear. They make it easy to keep your things on you while dancing and squeezing through packed bars. I also use a wristlet to keep my work keys together–my office has a beep card I need to use all the time. A wristlet keeps it handy.
The Small Carry All
This is my go-to purse for errand running and daytime activities. Its got slightly more room than your average wristlet or clutch, but not so much as to be bulky and get in the way.
What goes in? Add wristlet contents plus fast flats (if I’m wearing heels) and sunglasses and their cases.
Behold, the queen of the handbag world (in my opinion). Nothing trumps a good satchel in my mind. They have all the space you need without looking boring (see next: totes). You can take a satchel to work, to a party, shopping, out on a date, pretty much anywhere.
What goes in here? The most important item of all: shoes. Satchels have saved me from so many evenings of foot distress. If you’ve only got a small purse, but you’ve worn heels out, what do you do when your toes are aching so bad that you’d rather just go home than keep walking on them? You go home, and miss out on the rest of the evening. But if you’ve brought a satchel, you can quickly swap out your heels for flats with ease.
Other than shoes, I often keep a spare cardigan, a water bottle, a granola bar, winter accesories (hat, gloves, scarf), and miscellaneous items in there (pens, change, receipts, etc.)
Big, utilitarian, and slightly boring are the adjectives that come to mind for me when I think about the tote. I’m a bit left of center in the fashion blogger community on this, I think. Totes are all the rage these days–when I look around the city, totes are the most common designer bag I see. I find them to be undeniably useful (my trusty Longchamp accompanies me to work almost every day) but ultimately a bit homogeneous in style. My recommendation for totes is to by one in a neutral color that’s built to last, and spend your big bucks on a unique, beautiful satchel.
On the average work day my Longchamp contains a wristlet with my wallet and cell phone, sunglasses case, lip balm, breakfast and sometimes lunch, and my gym clothes.