Have you found that, while it’s all too easy to buy lots of handbags, it’s not always simple to buy ones you’ll want to use often? If so, then this buying guide is for you. Use our Visual Guide to Handbags to identify the bags that are your style, and then read about how to buy bags that will fit your lifestyle.
- Tote bags and shoppers: When you need to bring along many of your belongings, tote bags and shoppers are the best bags for you, as they often have a larger capacity than other handbags and a heavy-duty design. Tote bags and shoppers are available in several types of materials, often in canvas twill and leather, and usually have a square or rectangular shape. Some are open, while others have handy storage compartments for keys, cell phones, water bottles, and anything else you may need. They always have some sort of handle, and occasionally, the handles are long enough to use as a shoulder strap.
Hobo bags: The slouchy shape that distinguishes hobo bags makes them perfect weekend bags. A hobo bag has a bohemian feeling that is youthful and casual. The strap is long enough to wear over your shoulder, and the loose shape is body-hugging and flattering. Hobos are usually large enough to use as your day-to-day bag, and you can look for one made of high-quality leather if you want it to look less casual.
Clutches and evening bags: Evening bags and clutches are the bags you’ll want for a special night out. With lovely details like beads and sequins and fine fabrics like metallics and satins, evening bags will complement your formal wear perfectly. Evening bags are clutches when they have no strap and you hold — or “clutch” — them in your hand, and they are wristlets when they have a strap just long enough to hang over your wrist. If your evening bag has a handle, you can tuck it inside to transform it into a clutch bag; clutch bags can also be used as wallets inside larger bags during the day. Choose between soft leather handbags or handbags with structured metal frames, depending on how formal your eveningwear is.
Crossbody bags: A strap that is long enough to let you wear this bag across your body is the main factor distinguishing crossbody bags from other bags. Beyond the strap, the style can vary from petite and elegant to oversized and functional. Look for a chain strap if you want something dressy.