Womens Handbags

"Fashion Advice on How to Buy & Wear Handbags"

Handbag by Big Buddha
Courtesy of Big Buddha/Zappos

Here you'll find shopping and styling advice on Womens handbags - from what to look for in a bag to styling your outfits. Simply put, you'll learn how to get the most out of your bags!

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Here you'll find fashion advice & tips on:
As much as a handbag can enhance an outfit and really define your style, it can also break your look. The wrong bag can draw the eye to areas you're self-conscious about and make you look bigger/smaller and even ruin your signature image!

So it's super important to thoroughly think about what bag styles complement your personal style, to make sure you have a bag-collection that you love!

Let's take a look at important pointers to buying womens handbags:

What Handbags to Invest in?

If you want to get the most out of your handbags then I recommend that you secure handbags in simple, timeless styles that cover your major daily activities.

A tote and hobo handbag are examples of classic everyday bag styles that you can take from day to evening.

The wardrobe bag essentials are:

Wardrobe essentials bags and purses

This is just a minimum list - after securing these staples, feel free to go wild on other trendier handbags! You might also want to look into suitcases as well. I personally love Diane von Furstenberg's luggage collection. Pink luggage is cute too and are easier to spot.

Versatility is Chic

A tip is to secure at least one quality bag for each of your daily activities (work, casual evenings, traveling, parties, etc.) in neutral, versatile colors such as black, brown, dark navy blue, and white/cream.

Wardrobe essentials bags and purses
Courtesy of John Lewis and JC Penney

This ensures that you can match them with the rest of your wardrobe without having to think twice about if the colors and style clash with the outfit. Learn more about neutrals and universal colors.

You might want to put the bulk of your closet budget in basic, quality handbags, to make sure they will endure your lifestyle. So if you're an office worker, invest in durable tote bags that you love and can see yourself using for many years to come.

Also before buying a handbag, you might want to ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I need it as an accessory or for practical use?
  • How often will I be using the bag?
  • How practical is it? (for your lifestyle, activity you'll be carrying it to, will it accommodate all of your important belongings?)
  • Can I wear it with the rest of my outfits?

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Does it Suit Your Style?

One of the most important things when it comes to selecting fashion handbags is matching them to your personal style.

Here are a couple of examples:

For example if you have a Sporty style - pick a simple messenger, satchel or canvas handbag.

White sporty satchel womens handbag
Sporty Satchel Handbag from Bagsbuy

If you are more into a Bohemian style - it should be larger, made of original material like real leather or suede. Perhaps a bit slouchy and vintagey.

dark brown hobo womens handbag
Brown Slouch Hobo Handbag from Baghaus

If you're Classy you might want to choose medium-sized leather tote bag in neutral. Preferably tailored in design.

Black classy tailored womens handbag
Tailored Handbag from eBags

The point here is that selecting a handbag that suits your personal style is important in defining your image! Look for details that are you but are versatile to wear with the rest of your closet.

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Will it Suit Your Body Shape?

Have you ever thought that the shape and length of your evening bag can affect your silhouette?

As with any piece of clothing or accessory, it can either take off or add pounds to your body figure, depending on the bag's size, shape and where it falls on your body.

Generally, if you want to add volume and width to your frame, choose a wide and detailed handbag. Do the opposite if you want to slim down your body shape. Click here to learn more about how to dress your body shape

Also, pay attention to where the bag falls. It can draw attention to parts of your body you don't or do like!

To give you a general idea, take a look at these guidelines:

If You Have...

Best handbags for full/wide upper body

Full/Wide Upper Half

If you have a full or wide upper body, then you most likely have narrow hips.

Select bags that widen and add width to your lower body (hips and thighs). So choose a handbag that finishes off at below hipbone level.

Examples: Cross body bags, messenger bags. Preferably with some details to add fullness around your hips.

Best handbags for wide/full hips and thighs

Full/Wide Hips and Legs

If you have a full or curvy lower bottom (hips, thighs), then you're likely a Pear or Hourglass.

Look for handbags that visually add volume around your upper body part. So opt for a bag style that finishes off around your upper bust and midsection.

Examples: Leather shoulder bags at mid-riff length, or longer bags but with narrow bodies.

Best handbags for Rectangle, straight waist body shapes

Straight Hip/Waist Figure

Add volume and dimensions to your frame (add curves around the hips) but if you're skinny avoid overdoing it with really oversized bags as they'll only make your frame obviously smaller.

So look for broad and unstructured handbags with details like tassels, fringes, straps, studs, etc. Think slouch and hobo.

Examples: Studded motorcycle bags, metallic and shiny patent materials, cross body bags at hip length to create curves.

Best handbags for plus sizes

Full/Curvy/Plus-size Figure

Go for bigger bags (medium if you're Petite), preferably solid-colored and with vertical details to draw the eye up and down. Avoid carrying small bags as this will only emphasize your full-figure shape.

Examples: Oversized handbags, big leather tote bags.

See Style & Shopping Guide to Womens Plus Size Fashion & Clothing

Also work with the guidelines for your body shape.

Best handbag styles for petites

Short/Petite Frame

You need a bag scaled to your body size and height, so avoid humongous bag sizes unless you want to look shorter and smaller. If you're a Plus size, opt for medium-scaled bags, but look for details and shapes that are slimming.

In general, look for handbags and purses with a long strap to help create a long, lean line on your frame. Do pick a bag with a vertical shaped bag to help elongate your body frame.

Examples: Bags with narrow bodies, details that run at a vertical line.

See Style & Shopping Guide to Womens Petite Clothing & Fashion

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Now that you know what suits you, it's time to put together an outfit with a bag!

How to Mix & Match with a Bag

It depends on what your purpose is with a handbag.

Are you wearing it to accessorize your look, make a bold statement or for practical purpose?

A rule of thumb is to always keep your overall outfit balanced. This means: avoid mixing too many patterns in one, keep the rest simple if the evening bag or purse you're carrying is flashy or eye catching.

Here are a couple of tips on how to mix & match your fashion handbags:

If You Want To..

Look Classy but Trendy

You can never go wrong with a bag that matches your jewelry and/or shoes - evening out the overall color scheme.

How to look classy with a handbag

This gives a polished look which works for any occasion.

Create a Statement with a Bag

Wear an eye-catching (studded, fully beaded, colorful) bag with a plain and solid colored outfit.

How create a fashion statement with a handbag

Make sure that the bag falls on the right places where you don't mind drawing attention to.

Accessorize a Multi-Colored Dress or Top

Choose a bag in one of the colors in the print. If you see any pinks or reds in the print, pair it with a purse in any of those colors.

How to select a handbag for a print dress

You can also go for a completely neutral, basic bag to let your print clothing be the focal point of your outfit.

More Shopping & Chic Inspiration at the TCF Blog:
The Chic Fashionista's Latest Trends Picks - Chic Runway Looks and Must-have Trends and Trendessentials The Chic Fashionista's Chic Inspiration-blog - Outfit ideas, celeb style and trend styling tips The Chic Fashionista's Stylish Finds - Latest trends and shopping picks, sales & discounts, link round-ups and featured posts & blogs/sites Learn more about the fashion basics on how to look your best and dress stylish
Also check out the Style Makeover Shop!

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Time to Shop for the Latest Womens Handbags

Now that you've gone through my fashion tips and shopping advice on handbags, it's time to shop!

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Related Content:

How to Buy and Wear Fashion Hosiery - fashion tips on how to select the best hosiery for your legs and body figure How to Buy and Wear Jackets and Coats Guide to Buying and Wearing Dresses How to Buy and Wear Fashion Skirts - How to style your skirts
How to select the best skirt styles for your body figure Guide to Womens coats Guide to Womens Fashion Scarves Guide to Buying and Wearing Shoes

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More Shopping & Chic Inspiration at the TCF Blog:
The Chic Fashionista's Latest Trends Picks - Chic Runway Looks and Must-have Trends and Trendessentials The Chic Fashionista's Chic Inspiration-blog - Outfit ideas, celeb style and trend styling tips The Chic Fashionista's Stylish Finds - Latest trends and shopping picks, sales & discounts, link round-ups and featured posts & blogs/sites Learn more about the fashion basics on how to look your best and dress stylish

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