How To Match Your Handbag With Your Outfit

Kate Middleton, Victoria ‘Posh’ Beckham, Miranda Kerr, Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie, Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman ….every style diva worth her name and fame makes headlines not just for the outfit she wears but also for the handbag that she carries with it. Check any style blogs or glossies and see how much space is devoted to outfit-handbag pairings of the rich and the famous!

It is a no-brainer style secret that clothes and bags work together in creating that ‘it’ look. However great your outfit or other accessories, the perfect finishing touch comes from a good bag. So, to up your style quotient to the next level, you need to choose your bag with due care to go with your outfit.

Here are some great tips on how to get it right.



What occasion are you dressed for?

Office, shopping, casual, dressy, formal, semi, informal, gala, red carpet- what you wear and which bag you carry with it depends first and foremost on the occasion. Generally speaking, large bags give a relaxing aura, small bags add sophistication. That’s the reason, large bags go with casuals and small bags go with formals.

The first rule to remember is that a stiff bag and casual outfit, or a casual bag and a formal outfit do not work together. So lay off that combination and go by these suggestions:

Going shopping wearing shorts, tee and sneakers? Carry an over sized hobo or duffel bag to add casual chic.

Wearing skinny jeans with tunic or blazer? Carry a hobo or a tote bag for semi-formal elegance.

Wearing summer dress and sandals? Try a simple sling bag over your shoulder to look cuter.

Going to office in a tailored trouser suit, carry a roomy tote or a structured boxy bag or a satchel to look all business (office bags should have enough space for all the odds and ends plus your laptop/ notebook). Satchels also look good with high waist trousers worn with gauzy tops and skirt and cardigan combos.

If want to appear a power dresser with a lean and mean board room presence, stay away from hobos, duffels and slouchy bags. Try a top handle tote or a briefcase bag to add a touch of formal sophistication to your look.

If attending a dressy and formal event wearing a long gown or a cocktail dress or an LBD, carry a glamorous minaudiere or a seductive clutch. A plain sophisticated sheath dress will go well with a sequined or metallic envelope clutch. A dress with much embellishment or heavy detailing will look good with a plain clutch.

What’s your body shape?

Like you clothes, your bag too should help in upping your positives and taking the eye away from the unseemly bits. In other words, your bag’s shape and length should counterbalance your curves. Here are some tips for the uninitiated.

A pear shaped body will look heavier in hip length bags. Try waist length to draw eyes to your slimmer region.

Big busted women should avoid saddle bags as these will draw all eyes to your cleavage. And that my dear, is certainly not classy.

Petite women should avoid satchels and anything with long hanging straps. Plus sized ladies should carry medium sized bags.

If your body shape is short and curvy, carry long, slim bags to appear taller and slimmer. Avoid low hanging bags as they make you appear shorter.

On the other hand, if you are tall and thin, long and slim bags will not work for you. Try a rounded, oversized bag and roll up your sleeves or go sleeveless to reveal your slim and toned arms. Wear a few slim bangles to add that fab touch of contrast.

How matching should your outfit and bag be?

Too much matching between clothes and bag is quite injurious to your style quotient! The real trick lies in getting it right without looking like a monotone, monochrome mannequin. Here are some clues to getting it just right.

If you are wearing a monochrome or colour blocked ensemble, try a patterned, printed or textured bag to catch the eye.

A multi-coloured outfit requires a neutral monotone bag to offset all those colours. Try an all-time classic black or beige leather bag. For a flirty touch, tie a slim scarf in outfit’s colours to the plain bag.

If wearing a printed outfit, either play safe and go with a monochromatic bag that picks just one colour from the print to highlight it. Or if you have it in you, carry a printed bag with a printed dress by co-coordinating the colours. Remember that this is tough territory to tread. You need really high fashion sense to get this quirk right.

Go classic (and play safe) by matching your bag and shoes. If adventurous, keep either the bag or the shoes neutral and amp up the other for a glam look.

There is one unbreakable rule of the outfit/ bag duo matching though. The hardware i.e. the metallic detailing, if any, should match. You can’t have golden hardware on your bag and silver buckles on your shoes. Or bronze details on cardigan and copper studs on your bag. Or a rose gold necklace in your neck along with a silver metallic strap for your bag on your shoulder. These are total fashion faux pas; commit them at your own risk.

What’s the overall look you are aiming for?

Bags say much with their own style quotient. If you are using your outfit to make a style statement, let your bag add its own subtle chic message of resonance. Here’s how it works.

Leather clutches are classic. Crystal studded clutches are glamorous. Hobos are playful. Studded bags are edgy. Satchels and totes are practical. Cross body bags are casual.

Decide the look you want. And carry the bag that echoes it.

Leather lovers have it in the bag.

There is good news for leather bag lovers. Leather is versatile and goes with most dress fabrics. Soft leather bags suit breezy summer styles better and heavy structured leather bags add gravitas to winter chic.

So now you know how the divas get their bags and outfits so right. Go on, it’s your turn now to let your outfit and bag make a style statement for you.