Like the women who carry them, handbags too come in all shapes and sizes, and some fancy sounding names too. Just as every woman is beautiful in her own way, so are the various styles of bags. As the handbag is an integral part of a woman’s ensemble, it can play a key role in improving your overall look. Plus you need to know the ‘bag etiquette’ too. Just as you choose your dress to suit the occasion, your handbag style too has to be appropriate for the occasion.
Here’s a look at some of the popular handbag styles and tips on when and how to carry them.
Tote – Perhaps the most popular of all handbag styles, the tote handbag is a medium to large sized square or trapezoid bag with two generous sized parallel handles at top to carry it in your hand. Versatility, functionality and spaciousness are tote bags’ most endearing features making them work, shopping and play favourites of women across the globe. Tote goes well with almost all outfits except for slinky eveningwear.
Hobo – The hobo is a medium to large slouchy bag with rounded bottom and edges, a dip in the middle and one end-to-end shoulder strap. Extremely informal and casually chic in its overall appearance, the hobo is not the bag for the boardroom or the cocktails but it is great for casual outings, friendly lunches and semi-formal workplaces. Think of the hobo as your bag equivalent of denims. Hardy, comfy, stylish but not for formal occasions.
Baguette – The baguette is a small to medium sized, structured and rectangular (more wide than high) bag often with a flap and a detachable end to end shoulder strap. With smaller baguettes with detachable shoulder strap, you can remove the strap and turn your baguette into an evening clutch. The baguette usually tucks in above the wearer’s waist making it an ideal accessory for the pear shaped woman. Depending on the material and hardware, the baguette can go beautifully with most outfits and occasions.
Clutch – The clutch is a small to tiny rectangular handheld or tucked underneath the shoulder bag that’s goes amazingly well with eveningwear and formal occasions (It is what female celebrities carry walking the red carpet). Bows, tassles, sequins,crystals, metallica- you name it and there is a clutch somewhere carrying it as embellishment. The clutch is not meant for carrying more than a lipstick, a tiny comb and a slim and sleek cell phone.
Foldover clutch – A foldover clutch, a dual-purpose avatar of the not-so-great-on-space clutch, is a handbag with a flap that folds over to form a clutch. If it has a detachable shoulder strap or handles or both, you can use it in daytime as a handheld or shoulder hung bag and as a clutch in the evening.
Bucket – A bucket bag is a medium to large sized, more long than wide and unstructured carry-all bag with drawstrings on top. Like the hobo bag, it is all casual chic and carefree nonchalance. Leave it at home if you are a white collar worker or going to a fancy restaurant for dinner but otherwise, you will love to carry this roomy bag everywhere with you.
Crossover – A crossover bag literally goes across over your body i.e. it is worn on one shoulder, crosses your body diagonally with its long strap and comes to lie on your opposite side hip or lower back. Amazingly comfortable for daywear as it leaves your hands free, distributes the weight evenly and is roomy enough to carry many essentials and more, its only drawback is that you need slim hips to carry it as it draws the eye to your lower half.
Messenger – The messenger bag is a larger version of the rectangular crossover bag which makes it roomier for carrying your paraphernalia. Great for taking to college or office as it can hold your laptop/ tablet, a couple or more notebooks and a slim lunch pack too.
Satchel – The satchel is a medium to large bag with a flap closure that snaps shut. The traditional satchel, very popular with students for its roominess, usually has a long strap for wearing across the body and a short strap for holding by hand. The ladies’ handheld versions of satchels are more structured and may be large, medium or small is size. The satchel is a great office or day bag.
Bowling – The bowling bag resembles a dome-shaped satchel with top handles and shoulder straps. Its retro looks, structured shape, generous size and roomy interiors are stylish as well as practical for day use. A smaller bowling bag can go well with evening and formal events too
Now that you know the major bag styles, here are some general rules for carrying just the right bag style to office, shopping, casual, dressy, formal, semi, informal, gala or red carpet events. Here are some general guidelines:
- Large bags give a relaxing aura, small bags add sophistication.
- Large bags go with casuals and small bags go with formals.
- An embellished bag is for evenings. Day bags are meant to be simpler and starker. If you must have some add-ons, opt for a bag with showy hardware or tie a bright scarf at the junction where the bag’s body andshoulder strap meet.
- A stiff bag and a casual outfit, or a casual bag and a formal outfit, do not work together.
- Your bag’s shape and length should counterbalance your curves. Tall and skinny? Carry a hobo. Heavy on hips? Choose a bag that ends at your waistline. Short and thickset? Carry a long and slim bag.
- When in doubt, carry a medium sized tote if it’s daytime and a clutch, if it’s after work hours.
Everyone wants to look their best at work. You pick out your most professional outfit, hair looks nice, perfect shoes to match, and then the dreaded question. What handbag goes with this? A purse for every day and one for the office could be two different handbags or just one. There’s a vast world of fashion handbags. It’s best to remember to keep it simple and stick to a basic color scheme. Here are some helpful tips that can help you out.
We’ll start with the tote bag.
The large handle and bulkiness of the bag make it easy to carry almost anything in with you. If you remember back, Marry Poppins even pulled a floor lamp out of hers. It’s great for bringing back documents you might have had at home the night before or bringing your favorite lunch in a large container. Totes come in several textures and colors, patterns, and are made by almost every brand. Stay away from crazy colors if you want it to go with more than one outfit. A sleek leather look in black, brown, khaki, or white is an easy way to allow your bag to be interchangeable with several different outfits. If you’re going for a more eloquent look, the tote is a bit big, bulk, and overpowering. Let’s keep moving down the list.
A top handle bag is great for transporting a bit more also..
but gives you a somewhat smaller look. The bag itself is usually rectangular and can hold a lot of items mentioned above, but allows you carry it by the handle or daintily across the forearm. This makes your outfit look a bit more put together than the tote, while keeping the same general idea of functionality. Top handle bags come in a variety of colors and textures also, and some are a bit larger or smaller than others. Depending on your style, a sleek leather finish, especially an Italian leather top handle bag will hold up quite nicely for transporting belongings and finishing off your look for the office. For added quality, take a look at leather handbags made in Italy. The quality leather and sleek design are a great way to look your best and invest your money the wisest. Top handle bags in Italian leather are a great way to make a great impression at any office or professional workplace.
A city bag can also add a lot to a professional wardrobe
A city bag can be worn in the traditional shoulder position, forearm carry, or cross-body. Keep in mind that a cross-body bag can portray a more relaxed and casual vibe. The shoulder position of the city bag is a bit more sophisticated and professional looking. The bag also comes in a variety of colors and textures, most commonly in leather varieties. City bags are a great way to add to an outfit without taking away from the professionalism. If you choose a pop of color for your bag, be sure it is a color that can go with several outfits. You can get a bit fancier with this bag and it won’t take away from your ensemble because the size is smaller than the larger bags mentioned above. Have fun with this one if this is what you choose.
Shoulder bags are a great way to carry all you need to the office if you don’t always have a free hand.
This is probably the most common and versatile handbag there is. The varieties offered in this particular style are basically endless. Italian leather, faux leather, patterned, textured, branded, printed- the list goes on and on. When dressing for the office, a more muted color palate is more ideal. A flashy shoulder bag can give the impression that you just grabbed a bag and went out the door. A studded leather or a leather bow added to the front can be all the statement you need. Remember, the more simple the outside of the bag, the more outfits you can accompany. Several high end designers make a leather style with beautiful hardware that can fit with any style. While the shoulder bag might seem like it has all the answers, just remember that if you are carrying a lot of items with you to the office, the smaller size could be a problem. You may still need to add a briefcase if you are transporting your work with you.
Last, but not least, is the messenger bag.
The messenger bag has a range of functionality. Its large size makes it ideal for carrying work with you, it can be worn cross-body or shoulder to keep your hands free, and it comes in mostly neutral colors making it an easy add-on to any wardrobe. The messenger bag is slightly bulky; however, the bag combines a briefcase and a purse making it perfect for the office place. Most styles come with inner organization pockets, making your daily life much easier.
When you decide on the right style for you, you can start researching the different companies and textures. The office is a place where you want to look and feel your best and sometimes you need more than just your every day brand purses. You need style with functionality. Just remember: if you carry your work to and from the office with you, a bigger bag is probably necessary. If you want quality, Italian leather is where you should start looking. If you’re just in it for the fashion, look at a smaller bag to get the job done. With this information, you’re sure to dress for success!
Update: Check out Bidinis new range of women’s briefcases.
It has become next to impossible to pick up a magazine or watch a movie without seeing movie stars, reality show stars, supermodels and a host of other celebrities parading around with their oh-so-perfect bodies and beautiful clothes. How many times have you thought to yourself, “I want to look like that!” If you are anything like the average person, every single time would be the answer.
People are doing everything they possibly can to emulate these public figures, leaving no stone unturned in the quest to perfection. Botox and bariatric surgery have gone from “So-and-so has got this done!” to “Haven’t you tried it yet?” It’s become commonplace to go under the knife to measure up to society’s pre-conceived notions of beauty. An alarming number of teenagers battle bulimia and anorexia trying to remain thin. It’s high time we woke up to the dangers of trying to fit in and created an identity for ourselves.
What you wear is what you are!
Here’s where our dress sense comes into play. And this is not just the red carpet we’re talking about. Everyday life: going to work or simply stepping out to run errands are all occasions when you need to look your best. It is common fact that when you look good, you feel good. Dressing well imbibes you with a sense of confidence that projects outward and gives you the poise that’s so often elusive.
A lot of people equate being well turned-out with an expensive wardrobe. But nothing could be further from the truth. It is easy to look good without shelling out a fortune on branded designer wear. You just need a wee bit of knowledge of what suits you and your body. Once you know what to wear, it won’t matter whether your body is ‘perfect’ or not.
Are trends all that important?
Following trends blindly is never smart because people are not the same nor do they look alike. It makes more sense to make trends work for you and find a style of your own. Individuality is something that’s highly precious and makes you stand out in a crowd. Wearing an outfit that’s straight off the catwalk or because everybody else is, only serves to make you uncomfortable. The best way to feel you’re in vogue would be to pick one or two fashion essentials that look good on you and design your look around it.
The role of accessories
In a world where body image issues are becoming more and more common, holding your own is not easy. All of us are different and we don’t have much control over what we are. The first step in getting over this is embracing and celebrating who you are because aspiring to be someone you aren’t is not healthy. Fashion can play a huge role in self-expression and self-empowerment. The thing to do is let clothes showcase your personality without letting it define you.
Accessories are often ignored when it comes to dressing up, which is a shame because they can give you an edge and take a staple piece of clothing from boring to happening. Even a simple jeans-and-white shirt outfit is spiced up when you pair it with leather accessories like a smart jacket. Or maybe a leather handbag that’s made in Italy, which transforms your whole look and makes it classy.
Men are also not to be left behind when it comes to looking good. Accessories for men are equally important and could be anything from a leather wallet to an awesome watch.
The best part about using accessories is that they can be used by anybody without worrying whether they fit. Make sure you have a good collection of Made in Italy handbags and accessories and give your wardrobe that instant pick-up. Just use one of your statement pieces and say goodbye to ever feeling less than perfect!
Shopping, nowadays, has gone from being something done for basic necessities to a form of recreation and is synonymous with fashion. It’s supposed to even alleviate depression, for women anyway. But women can no longer claim exclusive rights to the greatest pastime there is. Men are equally interested in dressing well and looking Sauvé.
The world has a lot of shopping destinations that make the avid shopper salivate; the thought of all these brands and couture are enough to make you want to plunge into the whole experience.
Here are a few cities where shopping is sheer pleasure and you just can’t resist its magnetic pull.
Shop your way through Hong Kong
Hong Kong is considered by many to be the best place for shopping. With malls that let you shop in comfort and skyscrapers wrapped in branded designers, it’s heaven for those who love luxury. Of course, you also get cheaper versions on the kilometre-long stretch of Tung Choi Street, popularly known as the Ladies’ Market.
The best buys in Hong Kong are cosmetics, clothes and electrical appliances. Park Lane Shopper’s Boulevard is much-loved by women for its moderately priced, stylish clothes. Chain stores for cosmetics and factory outlets for clothes can be found at Canton Road, Grenville Road and Beijing Road.
Harbour City, Hong Kong’s largest shopping mall, is renowned for its designer boutiques. Louis Vuitton, Prada, Polo, Versace, Salvatore Ferragamo, Yves Saint Laurent, Burberry, Hugo Boss and Ralph Lauren all jostle for space in this mall which extends from China Hong Kong City in the north to Star Ferry Terminal in the south. Here, you’ll be able to find exclusive accessories for men and women. Everyone agrees that beautiful leather handbags, particularly the ones made in Italy are the high point of fashion and it’s easy to pick up a few classic pieces, right in the middle of Hong Kong.
New York is chic and sophisticated
Home to bustling crowds, the very mention of New York brings to mind Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman and other such department stores and landmark boutiques. Of course, New York is also home to the top designers in the world including Versace, Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Ralph Lauren. Macy’s has a great selection of leather handbags, if you’re looking for quality stuff. If jewellery is what turns you on, there’s nowhere better than Tiffany and Co.
Areas like Midtown, West Village and Hell’s Kitchen offer great deals on leather goods. Sample sales can be found in certain parts of New York like Soho, where you’ll be able to pick up great bargains. New York definitely deserves the sobriquet of the fashion capital of the world.
Splurge in Milan
In terms of its fashion sense, it’s different from other cities because you’ll see the newest trends, straight from the catwalk, on the streets. All the latest styles are first seen here while the rest of the world lags behind, usually by at least a year.Milan is the grand dame of all things trendy and luxe; a powerhouse of fashion and style. You’ll be hard-pressed to find the quality and style that is evident everywhere, even on a casual stroll through the streets, anywhere else. Quadrilatero d’Oro which means the rectangle of gold, is a square which houses all the designer boutiques.
Apart from clothes, accessories for men and women are very popular here. Milan is famed for its leather accessories, particularly leather handbags with Made in Italy tags. It’s a fashion statement to be seen carrying one of these exclusive pieces.
There’s a huge market for seconds because fashion changes in the blink of an eye and if you keep a sharp look-out, you’ll be able to snag some great pieces for low prices.
London – Timeless Elegance
London is another place that’s always at the forefront of a shopper’s map. If you’re someone who believes in spending on high-end fashion, Mayfair and Bond Street are where you should go. Everywhere you turn, you see fashion biggies like Burberry, Tiffany and Co., Victoria Beckham and Louis Vuitton. If expensive fashion is not your cup of tea, Covent Garden and Regent Street are great. Here, you’ll find the latest in street wear and moderately priced shops, so there’s no lack of choices. Leather goods and accessories are found at great prices at places like Notting Hill and Neal Street.
Of course, the world famous Saville Row is also to be found here and is a must if you’re in the mood for suits hand-made the old-fashioned way, but only if you have deep pockets. Shopping in London is incomplete if Harrods and Harvey Nichols are not visited. Even if you’re not the kind to splash out on expensive clothes or accessories, you have to at least window shop. It’s the ultimate shopping experience!
Classy and Seamless – That’s Paris for You
Parisians have an innate sense of style that’s difficult to emulate. They dress with flair and panache, managing to make it look effortless. Paris has room for all kinds of shoppers, bargain hunters to designer lovers. The fashion district here is sprawling and Avenue des Champs Elysées and the Faubourg Saint-Honoré are the focal point of Paris design and fashion. Classic designers like Versace, Yves Saint Laurent and Hermes have all made themselves at home here. Alongside these, you’ll also find trendy stores like Colette. The Palais Royal has a string of upscale boutiques and vintage shops with everything from jewellery to art.
Department stores like Galeries Lafayette and Printemps on Boulevard Haussmann have created a niche for themselves, among the well-known names.Galerie Vivienne boasts of old books and toy shops with luxury designer boutiques like Jean-Paul Gaultier.
The flea markets in Paris are equally famous and yield some great finds in the form of antique furniture and vintage clothes.The Saint-Ouen flea market, the largest, is located at the northern tip of Paris and goes as far back as the 19th century. With so many varieties, the average shopper is spoilt for choice.
Shoppers in these cities are forgiven for thinking that they are in paradise, so varied and magnificent are the collections here. All-in-all, a shopaholic’s dream!
What does your wallet say about you
What’s in a wallet? Quite a lot, actually! I mean apart from the very obvious cash, coins, credit/ debit cards, receipts, a photo or two, ID and driving license etc. If it’s a female wallet, add a small mirror, comb, lipstick and cell phone also to the list. Every man carries a wallet and so do most women.
The sizes of men’s wallets are not very standardized as American wallets are usually a bit smaller than European ones, still most are around 4.5”x 3.5” or nearabouts when folded. On the other hand, women’s wallets can range from 7”x4” to 9”x6”. Men’s wallets are usually bi-fold or tri-fold and are meant to be carried in the hip pocket of trousers or the breast pocket of their jacket. Women usually place theirs in the handbag. Some ladies give up the handbag and simply carry a larger-than-regular wallet that’s often referred to as wallet purse with a strap to carry it conveniently. Nowadays these wallet purses for women are becoming more and more popular as you can also fit a 7” tab into it along with other essentials. Either way, wallets are omnipresent and dead giveaways of their owners’ personality and financial habits.
Your wallet is your introduction
Picture this scenario:
You are following a lead and meeting a prospective customer who has the potential to become a big client if all goes well. After small talk, you take out a tattered and overstuffed denim wallet to literally fish out your business card to hand over to him.
Have you created a reasonably good first impression? Is the prospect likely to become your customer?
Not likely, you will agree. Yes, your wallet is far more than a pocket friendly container for your essentials. Like the state of your nails and shoes, your wallet says much about its owner. Here is how it goes:
- How does your wallet look from outside?
- What are the contents of your wallet?
The outer appearance of your wallet
- A flashy logo on the outside says you are as yet immature and need to grow up some more. 😉
- A pure leather wallet says you have class and appreciate quality and refinement.
- A synthetic leather wallet puts you firmly in the ‘wannabe/I don’t care’ section.
- A high quality but scruffy wallet says you give a damn about proving yourself to others. On the flip side, it also says that you need to treat your money with more respect.
- A scruffy wallet says you are careless about your appearance and not too careful about your money.
- A bi-fold wallet says you like being comfortable.
- A tri-fold wallet says you like carrying your baggage.
- A bursting-at-seams and overstuffed wallet says you are a hoarder who needs to lighten up.
- Your wallet is rags and tatters and you still can’t give it up (not because you can’t affordto, but because you don’t want to). Well, there is some major issue in your life that you are afraid to acknowledge.
The contents of your wallet
- You don’t know how much cash is in there as your generously proportioned wallet is full of so many outdated receipts, stubs of papers, crumpled notes.
You are an escapist from your financial responsibilities. To give a poetic turn of phrase, when it comes to money you are like an ostrich with its head in sand. On the other hand, you rely on intuition and can succumb to sob stories.
- You know exactly how much money is in your wallet down to the last cent and dime. A careful planner and resource allocator for sure.
- All your cashnotes are carefully segregated, kept in the order of denomination. You always have a plan B. You are balanced and careful, at times too balanced, too careful. Loosen up a bit and enjoy life before it slips through your fingers.
- A lot of cards show you are fond of spending but not toting up the outgo.
- Too many receipts say that you would like to know where you are headed but don’t have the heart or the stamina to start.
- Cash and coins stashed together imply social nature and lack of planning.
- A secret pocket with a large denomination cash note says you are a loner and hate to be indebted to anyone.
- An organizer in your wallet says you are a careful planner and equally careful spender as well. To be fair, this applies only to women as men’s wallets are not big enough for accommodating organizers.
- Too many credit cards but no debit card, you live for today and believe in letting the tomorrow take care of itself as and when it comes.
How does your wallet reveal who you are
You need not be a Sherlock Holmes to crack the wallet code. Think of your personality as a puzzle with a set of revealing clues. Psychologists will tell you that the key indicators to a person’s personality and behaviour are hidden in their private zones, the small and seemingly innocuous aspects of their life. A wallet is a very personal item, a private space for a person and hence it carries much information. So take a good hard and long look at your wallet and see if the proverbial shoe (or wallet) fits!