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Handbags buying guide

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Introduction to Handbags

What is a handbag?

handbag is a woman’s personal fashion statement. It is the place where she keeps her treasures, or at least the place where she stores everything that she imagines she may need for the day. It is the one thing that, without which, many women feel naked or at the very least lost and unprepared to meet the day.

The average woman owns a minimum of three distinctly different styles of handbags. Most dream of having one to go with every outfit they own.

It seems that many women keep too many items in their handbags. In the American movie, “One Fine Day", with Michelle Pfeiffer, who could forget how she managed to make two impromptu super hero costumes, within minutes, out of a few of the contents she had stored in her shoulder bag? Do you recall how many items Mary Poppins pulled out of one, small travel bag Most women dream of being able to put that much into a single handbag.

Inside a woman’s handbag, she may carry practically all of her cosmetics, a change of clothes, a book, or a magazine, a pair of shoes, a mobile phone and a BlackBerry, notebook or I-pod.

In January of 2008, UK’s Daily Mail published an article called, “How Heavy is Your Handbag?” The article stated that, the average contents of a woman’s handbag weighs 2.5 kilos when it was intended to carry no more than 1 kilo.

Handbags have been around for a long, long time. It appears that this tradition will continue, because handbags along with shoes are most women’s most sacred, and treasured accessory.

Types of Handbags

There are a number of handbag types. Each type has its own appropriate occasions to be worn. Each type can be made of a number of various materials. Each can come in just about any colour in the spectrum, and there are nearly as many variations of each type as there are women to wear them. This is because there are so many great brands and designers.

Through her individual handbag selections as well as the way she coordinates each handbag with her wardrobe, each woman has the opportunity to express herself in a way that is unlike any other woman. The day bag or casual evening bag, or a great looking shoulder bag is an excellent choice for wearing everyday to the office as well as on casual evenings out shopping or to a movie. Select one in good leather and with proper care, it will last indefinitely. If you select a classic, solid colour, such as brown, tan, camel, or black, it will be easier to coordinate with the majority of items in your wardrobe. Caring for your handbag includes making sure that you select a purse that is large enough to hold everything you take with you every day without you having to stuff it. A leather handbag that is stuffed eventually loses its shape and begins to look sloppy.
  • Tote or carry bags run medium to large, and should hold what the average woman needs for the day. This style is a timeless classic that is practical, casual, and sophisticated. A large tote bag has two straps and is a shoulder bag style.
  • Hobo bags are also a shoulder bag style. The body of the Hobo bag is shaped like a crescent, but the Hobo bag is generally not quite as large as the Tote bag.
  • Satchel handbags have one or two straps that go over the shoulder. The satchel handbag is great for packing files or letter size portfolios into for that important meeting. They work great for carrying books too. A satchel handbag is a large bag that is designed to be carried over the arm as it has a shorter handle rather than a long strap.
  • Across the body bags do not require repeated repositioning on the shoulder. The across body bag is a “hands free” style of handbag, wonderful for shopping or as a day handbag for the office.
  • The Messenger bag is perfect for those days when you do not need to carry much with you. They are a smaller style of a handbag but can efficiently hold your car keys, purse, makeup, and mobile phone easily, plus a few extras. They have a long strap, designed to be worn across the body so that your hands are free.
  • The Sling bag is nearly identical to Messenger bag but it is quite a bit smaller. You would need to leave any extras at home.
  • The Clutch bag or Evening bag was designed to compliment a little, black cocktail dress, or a beautiful evening gown. A clutch is the perfect for those elegant, glamorous evenings out on the town. Although, in recent years, they are being worn in the light of the day by daring and creative women who are making them look fabulous with the right business suit. Clutches are generally rectangular and can come with or without a strap.


The UK’s Most Popular Brands

Ri2K handbags

Fashion enthusiast and actor, Mischa Barton created this British brand, which has met with success for yet another season. Colours are subdued to bright, the leather is great quality, and the price is right to make these handbags a great investment that will still be in style for years to come.

Diverse, distinctive, and trendy are just a few of the adjectives most often attributing to her handbag designs. Probably, the most unusual element of Ri2K’s designs is the custom ornamental hardware that adorns these handbags. Heavier appearing than most handbag embellishments, these handbags remain extremely feminine and alluring.

Radley bags

Radley handbags are the UK’s best selling handbag. Radley’s most popular handbag is their Signature, or picture handbags, which are made of high quality leather. These bags are colourful appliquéd leather, and they are just plain fun to wear. Every signature bag displays the Radley Scottie dog, although the scenes vary. Radley also designs purses that are equally colourful, playful, and unique.

Jane Shilton Handbag
Timeless, classical style and superior quality leather are what Jane Shilton handbags are known for. The brand was established in the 1930s, and is as popular in the UK as ever. If you like chic styles and excellent quality, look at the Jane Shilton handbags.

Kipling bag

This company began its quest to bring great styling to their durable and practical bags. Worn by celebrities everywhere and catering to the modern family, Kipling backpacks, and bags are big sellers in over 40 countries, including the UK. Each of their signature bags comes with their logo, which includes a furry, little monkey.

Things to consider before buying

How to select the ideal handbag for you

We know that certain styles of clothing make us look fantastic while other styles seem to bring out our worst features. Body type plays a vital role in just how great you look in your handbag accessories. The following characteristics should be kept in mind while shopping for your ideal handbag:

  • Consider the shape of the handbag
    The best look for a woman is to select a handbag style that contrasts her body type. Women who are short and heavyset look best in a tall rectangle or large square style. While women who are tall and thin look great in a slouch handbag or any round shaped bag.
  • Consider the size of the handbag
    Consider both the size of your body and the size of the handbag you are considering. If you are a petite, slim woman, you can wear the small style messenger handbag very well. If you are a larger woman, select a large handbag to best compliment your body type.
  • Remember that the eyes of others will be drawn to wherever the handbag you are wearing lands on your body. In essence, you will be drawing attention to whatever part of your body the handbag touches. So, if you have large hips that you do not want to draw attention to, leave the shoulder bag that touches your hipbone in the store for someone else. If you have a flattering waistline, pick the handbags that land at your waist to draw attention there.

Jargon Explained


Status handbags Status handbags are designer handbags that everyone recognizes, either by design, or by the designer’s signature logo. They are called status handbags because they are coveted not only for their impeccable style, but also because they are perceived as representative of the good life, personal value and all the good things that money can buy. A few of the most desirable designer bag names include Hermes, Christian Dior, Chanel, and Gucci.
Luxury handbags While there may be some overlap regarding the status handbag and the luxury handbag, generally the luxury handbag is valued not because of its designer name but rather because it literally is made of materials that are the highest quality available on the planet.
Utility bags These are bags that we buy more to fulfil a utilitarian need, although we also want great styling. Utility bags include, travel bags, luggage, backpacks, belt bags, and waist packs.
Utility style bagsUtility style bags are backpacks, body pouches, and belt bags etc., which were designed by famous designers and carry their brand.

Buying Guide to Handbags
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