How To: Pick out a Bag

How To: Pick out a Bag

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photos: dana for we heart this

Variety is the spice of life. If that’s true, I have way to much spice in my life. When I started the Art of Accessories, I decided to blog about accessories and makeup because that’s what I’ve always had an abundance of in my closet. Since I was probably 15, I’ve owned over a hundred pairs of shoes and as I’ve gotten older, my handbag collection has also grown in leaps and bounds.

One of the questions I get asked frequently is how do I pick a handbag. Well, that’s a tough question to answer but I thought I’d explore that a bit here.

First, I don’t believe there is a single handbag out there that can do everything for all occasions. So now you can breathe a sigh of relief over the 5 to 10 bags you’ve got in your closet. In my experience, the bags I carry fit into one (or more) of these four categories:

• Evening bag – Every woman needs at least one handbag that she can carry when she’s totally glammed up or going out for a night with the girls. A sparkly clutch is always a good closet staple.

•Day bag – This is the staple bag that you’ll carry the most, whether it’s to the grocery store or the office. This bag is sturdy, compliments your wardrobe and can be paired with most outfits.

• Work bag/tote – Depending on your job – this one may differ from your Day Bag. If you carry a lot to and from the office, this will most likely be the biggest bag you own, so that you can carry all your necessities and more.

• Fun bag – Keep your mind out of the gutter! This is the bag that you buy just because it calls to you. It may not fit into any of the categories above or even your normal style, but I always believe in buying a few of those things that just speak to you. This also allows you to purchase that trendy bag or impulse bag that you aren’t sure how you’ll wear it but all you know is you must have it.

What bag do I give the most emphasis? The day bag. It’s probably the most used bag in your closet and there are TONS of options out there for you. So how do you pick a bag that’s going to be a go-to in most scenarios? This is where I tend to stick with classic shapes but with a color that will work with your wardrobe. I have two day time go-to bags in my current rotations:

The first one I reach for is usually my Lesportsac Daphne Shoulder bag (I’m carrying it in the left side, top image). I know I need at least one bag in my wardrobe that I can toss on my shoulder and go.

I love LeSportsac bags because they’re fun, durable and washable. A big plus, as in the summertime I hate feeling sweaty and yucky on a hot day and getting that on my bag. The Daphne is roomy, has tons of pockets and I own it in a fairly neutral black and gold heart print. But the really great thing about LeSportSac is each bag shape is available in a ton of prints (prices vary from $68 to $78 depending on your fabric) – so you’ll be sure to find something you love. I wear mine to work, carry it to the store and everywhere in between. It’s a really versatile shape.

My other high use bag is the Alex Shoulder bag , a classically shaped, quilted handbag with chain link handle (as seen above and at right) but in a deep purple. I wear lots of reds, pinks and greens and I think purple is such a complimentary color.

I love this bag because it’s a shoulder bag but it has just a bit more polish to it than my Daphne bag. It dresses up a simple tee shirt and jeans and fits seamlessly into my work wardrobe too. Sadly, it is now sold out, but you can find similar on trend and reasonably priced bags in oodles of shapes and colors from the Shop Suey Boutique.

Happy Bag Hunting!

So that’s how I pick my staple handbags – how do you choose your bag?

DWJ is an accessories and beauty blogger for The Art of Accessories and is also sharing her love of cooking on Crumbs & Creativity.

19 thoughts on “How To: Pick out a Bag”

  1. I love this article! I’ve been searching for the perfect bag which I think I may have found…until I find the next one! ;-) American Apparel has clutches in all different colors and sizes right now…they are amazing and priced right. But @dwj1 I so agree with you that a woman needs a bag for all the different occasions in her day! This new fave of mine carries me (ha!) through a few of them so I don’t have to change so often. Still looking for the perfect work bag to hold everything.

  2. Great post as always, @dwj1 – but I had to laugh at the “5 to 10 bags” you mentioned. We won’t even talk about the number of bags I’ve collected over the years. I have a little accessory problem…
    Love the Alex shoulder bag. A classic!

  3. Great tips @dwj1 – I am definitely a handbag collector. I’m always buying new ones and change which one I’m using often. Just wish my favorites were not so darn expensive.

  4. Pingback: We Heart This Post | How to Pick Out a Bag

  5. I like you’re thinking @dwj1! I laughed out loud at the 5-10 bag comment too. I have a feeling that there’s quite a few of us that would be shammed to count and share their handbag collection…

    And thanks for the Shop Suey Boutique recommendation! There are some super cute bags there. I noticed most are “leather-like” Are they really?

    1. Stef, they’re actually really nice quality. The Alexa bag is from there and I get tons of compliments on it and I love how it looks and feels. Let me know if you want a 20% code if you decide to buy something ;)

  6. Great post as ALWAYS, @dwj1. I feel like a bag lady sometimes.. but have only a few favorites. Like shoes, they last forever if they are of good quality!

  7. Black leather, brown leather, cream leather casuals…white quilted leather studded, hot-pink suede and patent…silver, gold, bronze, snake print, floral, clutch, handbag, shoulderbag, cross-body, tote. Sing it loud, sing it proud. I own a lot of bags.
    I was lazy about switching bags, though, until a friend bought me a purse box–an insert to hold all your stuff that sits in the bed of your bag. If I’m reading y’all right, we “10-plus” bag owners need this.
    Awesome post @dwj1, as usual!

    1. I’m always super tempted to get one of those purse organizers but I’m afraid of looking like a crazy infomercial mom or something, LOL! Is it really awesome and worth it? I’m forever searching through my bag for what I need, mostly because I have a penchant for super huge bags…

  8. Dana, you have a beautiful flare for fashion! Thank you for sharing this article and for including a Shop Suey favorite- the Alex! It’s a classic and definitely has a place in every woman’s wardrobe! We agree, you need to own a variety of handbag styles and wear them (what good is a handbag gathering dust at the back of the closet?!). :)

  9. Is it a coincidence that this was posted amid the Kate Spade sample sale? Maybe, but it’s cementing my decision to click “Submit Order”! My husband can (almost) understand my massive shoe collection (probably ’cause he’s a sucker for a hot pair of heels) but he simply cannot wrap his head around all my bags. Maybe I’ll make him read this article.
    Lovely and inspiring as always @Dwj1 !

    1. Lol, my wife is just discovering purses. She doesn’t understand why I want to buy at least 2 a year and my tendency to hover near them at stores. I had to explain them as: my big day bag, my small day bag, my “hippy” bag, and my formal bag.

  10. I am a bag junkie!! I love that they always fit and that they allow me to carry my life around with me. I can’t stand being unprepared n life. So my bags are my friends. It is difficult to pick just one. I can’t, I won’t.

    But I will agree that LeSport Sacs are a fantastic summer option. I often make them my main bags on vacation. I also suggest T.J. MAXX as a fantastic place to pick up beautiful, high end designer bags for cheap! I got my LeSport Sac there.

    Great article! Loved it!!

    1. Kellie – I love my LeSport Sac Weekender for traveling! It is the best carry-on bag ever (oh another category!) with tons of pockets, durability, lots of room and squishy so it fits under a seat – plus it comes with a cute matching cosmetic sized case. It’s also really great, as the name suggests, for weekend trips and overnights.

  11. This post is so dangerous. It just makes me want to go purchase another bag. Target is my favorite place for inexpensive bags. I got a bright blue with zippers recently that I adore.

  12. Where do I fall on the bag obsession? Let’s just say I have 5 – 10 bags I just put on the yard sale pile, and leave it at that!

    Love the post Dana @dwj1 and your bags and categories!! And I have another a bag category that’s very important to me – the Shopping Bag.

    You know, for my “special” shopping days – not errand shopping. A lunch with your girlfriends and window shopping sort of bag? It’s got to be super cute, a great fabric and/or color, an over the shoulder bag and sort of roomy (and not a grocery tote).

  13. @dwj1, I just love your fabulous style :) I usually pick out purses that have a nice outside pocket for my phone and keys, and I prefer leather because it holds up so well and comes in neutral colors. Right now though, I have a fabulously shiny metallic silver and pink Coach bag :P

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