When I walk through the handbag department of any department store, I don’t just see a bunch of trendy accessories on display. No, my bag is everything to me, so I see my life line on the shelves, the place I keep my most important items: wallet, keys, glasses, take-home work, my favorite lipstick, and my brown-bag lunch.
When I shop for a purse, I look for one that can comfortably cradle all this tuff, and still be something I’m going to absolutely love dangling by my side day in and day out—because like most of the 1,000 women we polled in our recent ShopSmart survey, I only change bags seasonally.
Yet, for such a life essential, our responders also told us that they had a tough time finding the perfect purse. And you know what that means—a closet full of shopping regrets. I have a few myself—bags that are a tad too teeny or a bit too heavy after I load them up. What was I thinking?!
Truth be told, I picked those bags with my heart, not with a smart shopping criteria. Our poll told us that there were plenty of other women out there who could use a few tips to help them better navigate the purse aisle. After talking to a slew of experts, here are just a few of the key things to look for in a bag to find your right match. For more tips, plus the hottest handbag styles, read the full article in our October issue.
Size it right.
If you’re petite, don’t go too large or your bag will dwarf you. That goes for satchels and shoppers, too. They’re great for toting work back and forth; just make sure the one you choose doesn’t hit the floor when your arm is down.
If you’re tall or plus size, skip the tiny purses and bags that accentuate the fullest part of your body. For instance, if you’re big-busted, opt for a shoulder bag that hits below your bustline. And when it comes to this season’s hot new clutches, keep proportion in mind and go with an oversize envelope.
If it’s heavy skip it. Your back neck and joints will feel it when its full, and you’ll regret it. Thirteen percent of our poll recipients say they have been injured by their bags! The back-friendliest bags are small and made of lightweight material. Trendy cross-body bags are another healthy choice.
Think about the closures
You won’t love using a bag if it’s not easy to get your stuff in and out. Also consider safety: Zippers are best for thwarting pickpockets.
What do you look for in a handbag? What’s the most important quality or feature in a bag? Check out our October issue, on newsstands now!