You Are What You Tote
Purses speak volumes about our style tendencies and personalities, communicating a sort of visual shorthand signalling what this lady is about. What does your purse say about you?
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Essentially, a purse shaped like a bucket with four rivets for two short straps that hold the purse just under the shoulder. Roomy and slouchy, these are the workhorses of today’s styles. They are deep, good for stashing things, and usually outfitted with a few pockets for quick access to keys, cell phones, and wallets. But again, they are deep and it is easy to loose a few things in there.
One of the most basic purses, very popular in the ‘50s when handbags where neat and square and very keen. Closes with a magnetic clasp. Extremely ladylike.
The challenge of this purse is not overstuffing it in order to preserve its perfect rectangle shape.
Like a mini duffle bag, this purse is one of the most enduring totes of recent years. Two short handles make the bag a natural for those who carry their purses in their hands or rest them in the elbow just at the crook of the arm. Often the ends are rounded, making these totes a natural for those who like to pack a purse well. Don’t be surprised to see a massive, janitorial-issued key ring or a Diet Coke come out of this thing.
Right now, Hobo (Hobo International, www.hobobags.com) is an actual brand-name purse, but “hobo” connotes a hippie-esque, casual style of purse that is fun and oh-so tote-able.
The clutch, a.k.a. “framed wallet” or “wristy”
Small, square bags that are essentially large wallets with extra room. They function as evening bags, because women carry them instead of hold them over their shoulders where the bag might detract from the outfit. Because they are small, one cannot pack the whole kitchen sink in here -- just the essentials, ma’am. The clutch also doubles as a roomy wallet, so if purses are changed often, it’s easy to stow and transfer in different bags. A clutch is a good place for stashing pens, lipsticks, and other stain-makers. A final point on clutches: One must hang on to them. Because they are small and need to be held in one’s grasp or around the wrist, they are a bit of a challenge to track on a night out.
The Shoulder Bag
Just as the name suggests, it’s a bag characterized by a longer strap that makes it almost mandatory that the purse be hung on the shoulder. It’s an easy-going style that allows the user to dig through the bag’s contents without having to put it down. Good for people who need to keep their hands free for holding other things, such as children. Yes, this is the ultimate mom purse.
The MessengerWhile not really a purse, too many people use messenger bags as such for them not to be included. From the bags that actual messengers carried, often on bikes in cities, these flappy briefcases carry a full workload, from papers and files to laptops, yoga clothes, and the de rigueur ipod. Very urban, very utilitarian, these are popular among those younger ladies transitioning out of school backpacks to actual purses.
Often worn in the manner of real messengers (i.e. slung diagonally across the chest), these satchels boast a plethora of pockets and are generally constructed with durability in mind. If the wearer had a bumper sticker on this thing (usually a high school trait) it would read: “Someday my purse will be a Pucci!” You’re looking at the purse of an ambitious woman on her way up.
A big bag for those who plan to do a fair amount of shopping. Right now, purses are generally bigger than they need to be. That’s just the style, as one is not really supposed to fill the shopper or tote to full capacity. Shoppers are a more stylish version of the briefcase, or a small version of weekend luggage. But don’t treat the shopper as a literal shopper! Mais, non! These purses look best when carrying a lean amount of stuff inside. Your shopper woman is fairly trendy, treats herself well, and takes herself seriously. You don’t really picture someone with a true shopper in a crowded happy hour bar. More likely she is on her way to work!
- Do-It-Yourself Handbags
- Designer Handbags
- Fakes and Knockoffs
- Celebrities and Their Bags
- Handbag Dos and Don'ts