You and Your bag

The Handbag: The soul on the shoulder...

Not only does a handbag serve as a gal’s most basic fashion beacon, it also corrals her necessities in life -- her wallet, her keys, her cell phone -- into one precious bundle. Without it, we are lost. Driver’s licenses wind up deep in the pocket of weekend jeans, lips stay chapped, and appointments are kept on a memory-only basis.

So it goes without saying that there are certain critical elements that factor into the selection of just the right purse. Most women shop for something that appeals to the eye and/or brand sensibility and then inspect for straps of certain lengths, handy compartments, textures, and other considerations such as durability, color, etc. As a vital daily accessory, careful consideration must go into its selection. And a little attention to current trends.

What is the right number of purses to own? Apply the Pursageon Theorem. Don't know it? Click to learn more.

What elements factor into your handbag selections? Click EasyEdit to add your advice below.

How to carry

Why is it that when you carry a clutch, you get a date? Or when you have your over-the-shoulder bag, Moms start making small talk with you? Every bag has a cue. And it is in how you carry your bag.

Purse size: Bigger is better, to some.

Especially if you want to look super thin! because a babboon-sized bag makes the carrier look small. Who knows that the logic is? But celebs are going GIGANTIC with some of their choices. While many can efficiently trim their must-haves to a neat pile, others still carry checkbooks, makeup bags, books, pens, ipod, crosswords, medications, daybook planners and organizers, hairbrushes, five months of receipts, several coffee cards with one stamp on them (hope burns eternal), and scads of plastic-sleeved pictures.

The efficient purse is one that has room for a few extra things but is not overly full. Remember, purses are not luggage, for heaven’s sake! While it is efficient to carry gym shoes or flip-flops, mind that your purse is not super-heavy every day. More than a pound and you are really toting some heft there, which is not good for the shoulders or posture. The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) warns against carrying heavy purses. If you absolutely must carry a heavy bag, think about using a backpack with both straps over the shoulders. Less elegant in the here-and-now, maybe, but you’ll be glad you avoided developing an unsightly dowager’s hump.

Textures: Give vinyl a chance

Some of today’s faux leather is a stylish pick. It looks great and holds its shape. From leather to straw to synthetics and fabrics, what a purse is made of is a serious form-and-function factor. A purse has to feel right and it has to hold its own. Purses will take a beating, and nothing feels as good as decent leather cut just right, mellowing to that perfect pliability while maintaining its form. Leather is the choice of the day, but during summer months, many shed the leather -- unless it is white -- in favor of lighter, often cheaper options. A good purse will last a lifetime, truly, if one takes care of it.

A dirty purse? Get the black light out!

Really, if one fumbles around in her purse every time she has to pay , that’s her business. Chances are, a person keeps her purse just the same as she keeps her house, car, and closet: tidy or totaled.

Now, a dirty purse is not necessarily a disorganized purse. It’s that build-up of loose change, unwrapped pieces of gum, hair, or whatever that stuff is that seems to form at the bottom of the purse, aided in its clumping by that time when the top of the lipstick unattached itself. This stuff can start to stink.

Put your nose in there. Do you smell that scent of dirty money, mixed with mint and just a hint of tissue paper? Would the black germ light glow neon in the purse cavity? Clean her out, ladies! Try to clean the purse before it starts to look as if it needs a good sprucing, or a CSI team.

For fabric purses, run through the washer on a gentle cycle or hand wash and hang dry inside out. To be on the safe side, use cold water for all washing.

Leather purses need treatment with a nice leather balm. Use hand soap or leather soap and an old toothbrush on some of the really dirty areas, too. Suede is its own animal, so to speak, and needs more daily care. Brush it regularly and use products made specifically for cleaning suede. Don’t brush too aggressively or else you will erode the texture. For mixed mediums, clean the different parts separately. See Handbag Repair for a few more tips. Oh, and as a last resort for a brutal stain that has ruined a purse: Dishwasher soap. Apply only as a last resort. Seriously! Do not soak it, either. Rinse and wash, rinse and wash. Nice.

See also:

How to wiki

This is a "click-and-type" website, so anyone can start new pages and add text, links, images, photo galleries, and video to existing pages. Create your own page about handbags, add info and pictures of your favorite handbags absolutely everywhere, help Pursella find the right bag on Purse Forum, and let's start talking about purses! Click on the EasyEdit button on any page inside to get started.