Fashion & Style

“Purse-onality”: What Your Favourite Handbag Says About You

beautiful purse & woman handbag

When it comes to your handbag, let’s be honest, it’s not just a fashion “accessory” as it is commonly called. Oh no, ladies, you know it and we know it–a purse is a “necessity,” as much as a little black dress and power pumps are must-haves in every closet.

Most of us have a few practical go-tos, while some of us are well on our way to building a collection worthy of a national purse museum, and even then, we’re always open to the idea of just one (or two) more. We all have a favourite in our closet, that one bag, big or small that makes us extra happy when it’s swinging by our side as we head out the door. Whether it’s an easy-going, modest hobo bag bought on sale in first year of college, or an ultimate fashion statement from a luxury Italian designer like Bottega Veneta, we never leave home without one.

Let’s have fun and try to break down what different handbags say about who you are, or at least who you are on that day.

The Tote Bag

tote bag purse handbag

You’re pragmatic, goal-oriented, multi-talented and ready to handle (and carry) almost anything life throws at you.

The tote is perfect for a strong woman on the go (think #GirlBoss), you can pack what you need to last the day, and still have room to pick up a few more things along the way. The tote has an open top for easy access to your “stuff” but usually a single compartment means you need to be organized where you put things, otherwise you may be digging for minutes every time you go looking for your keys or lip balm.

The tote comes in various sizes and varying quality of materials, so there’s a tote for everyone out there, and even if it’s not your signature statement piece, it’s definitely a practical handbag that every woman should have in the closet when needed. Extra-roomy versions will allow you to carry not only your laptop and a change of shoes, but also your full makeup and hair touch-up kits, your lunch and leak-proof water bottle and even your fave hard-cover book.

The Shoulder Bag

shoulder bag purse handbag

You know what you want, you’re confident, stylish and don’t mind letting everyone know it. You likely have chosen a shoulder bag that will stand out and get the occasional compliment, which you always love hearing. And since you’re so stylish, you probably have a few showpiece shoulder bags for different days and different occasions, which all put extra strut in your step.

The shoulder bag, often worn as a status symbol, is a favourite style for high-end designers, so there truly is an unlimited treasure trove of gorgeous bags to choose from. While it doesn’t have the capacity of most totes, the shoulder bag is usually big enough for the basics to get you through your day and evening.

A little purse history: Coco Chanel designed her first women’s purse, a handheld, in 1929, and in 1955 she introduced an iconic shoulder-carried purse, inspired by French soldiers who carried shoulder bags with a similar design.

The Clutch

clutch purse

If this is your favourite purse, then you are definitely a glamour girl, with dreams of red carpets, champagne and parties that no-one wants to leave. You are meticulous about getting things just right in life (including your makeup, hair, and wardrobe) but you also live for fun times, being social, and you can even be a little bit reckless at times.

The clutch is often seen as an evening purse, mainly because it pairs so well with evening attire–high heels, flirty dresses, manicured nails and hair ready for a photoshoot. But if you’re the type of person who loves to dress up for work, or any daytime engagements, then by all means, consider taking along your trusty clutch.

Obviously, its small size means you’ll have to stick to bare essentials: a couple credit cards and ID, a lipstick and compact, keys and your phone. Its job is not to carry a tool kit to fix a whole bunch of problems, rather it’s to exude so much elegance that other people will want to fix anything you may need help with.

The Cross Body

cross-body handbag

You are fun, free-spirited and ready for adventure wherever you find it. You’re particularly fond of traveling, whether it’s checking out new cafes and restaurants around your hometown or jumping on a plane and exploring new cities and cultures.

Cross body purses are typically small to medium sized with room for the necessities you’ll need for your day or evening around town, and just as suited to take to the office. They can be super stylish or casual and practical depending on your itinerary, and more than any other purse they allow both your arms to be free. Most straps on these are adjustable which means the purse will fall exactly in the most comfortable spot for your shape and size and the outfit you’re wearing.

And an extra bonus, especially for travelers, the cross body purse is by far the most difficult to steal. I can personally attest to the effectiveness of the cross body style, having watched my friend thwart a would-be purse snatcher in Marrakesh (whose bad day got worse when a nearby police officer chased him for several blocks before giving up).

hobo handbag

Our lives are wonderfully varied and sometimes complicated, so we really need to use the right tool for the right occasion. Have fun perusing your local high-end department stores or vintage shops, or check online for a nice selection at online retailers such as to have your ultimate “accessory” delivered right to your door.

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