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AnonymousWoman's avatar

Women: How do you choose which handbag(s) to get?

Asked by AnonymousWoman (6533points) March 18th, 2013

I’m not the best at figuring out which handbags suit me, so help would be appreciated. Thanks!

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35 Answers

Dutchess_III's avatar

Goodwill. When I spy one I like I buy it..

Seek's avatar

I keep changing. Sometimes I want something small and easily to cart around, sometimes I want a messenger bag that holds everything, and sometimes I go for broke and just carry my laptop case with a wallet in the front pocket.

Sometimes I want a bag with a million pockets to keep me “organized” and other times I’ll carry a reusable shopping bag with everything tossed in the bottom.

I don’t think I’ll ever be satisfied with just one bag.

marinelife's avatar

I got for leather. It wears better.

I pick one with lots of compartments.

I try to pick one that is neither too bog nor too small.

Dutchess_III's avatar

One time I needed a purse. My coworker gave me one of her old ones. I carried it for a year, but I really didn’t like it. It had too many compartments. I’m more of a “throw the stuff in and go,” kinda girl. I complained about it a little. So, after my future husband and I got together he bought me a new purse. Almost identical to the one I hated! :/ There came a time when I bought a new billfold….it wasn’t long before I realized I’d hosed up because it didn’t have a change purse on it. I complained about it. So my husband bought me a new one. It didn’t have a change purse on it either. :/.

girassol's avatar

I get bags that go with most of my outfits. (:

tedibear's avatar

It must be a neutral color and have a place for my cell phone. If it doesn’t go with everything, it doesn’t come home with me. And I can’t imagine paying big bucks for a purse. Under $25 or I’m out.

Sunny2's avatar

I hate changing purses because I will invariably leave something out. So I have 2 almost identical purses, one black; one, tan. They have similar zipper pockets and places to put things. In winter, I mostly use the black one and in summer, the tan. I change purses only twice a year. For evening, I have several small clutches that hold a comb, lipstick, handkerchief, keys and folding money.

marinelife's avatar

Too big not too bog!

RandomGirl's avatar

I do a lot of walking around town for work, and I have to carry my tennis shoes, some books, and a sweatshirt in my bag. It’s more like a duffel bag than anything. ;) I can’t decide whether I like a lot of pockets or not – I tend to be a “throw stuff in and go” type of girl, but then I renounce this at the checkout when I can’t find my wallet. :P

syz's avatar

I use my pocket.

janbb's avatar

Lately, I’ve been into my little fabric Bagalini bag. I like one as small and light as possible that can fit my needs in.

I used to get Coach before they went all glitzy and for status rather than quality.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Small and cute, preferably free. My co-workers and I do swap parties sometimes, purses, shoes, whatever.

gailcalled's avatar

It’s very simple. I have one large, black, microfiber, washable and orthopedically correct shoulder bag. It has many compartments and zippers, and as long as I am consistent in replacing everything in its place, it works just fine.

For the occasional time when I need something daintier, I have a small, black microfiber, washable shoulder bag.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

I don’t do purses.

Carinaponcho's avatar

At all times, I keep a satchel/ over the shoulder bag. I find it very handy and easy to carry around without worrying about it being picked up. But I actually just put it in my backpack when I’m in school. I used to be a little bag lady in my freshman year. I carried a purse, backpack, and lunch box with me at all times and looked very odd. Especially the days a brought gym clothes too. The good thing about over the shoulder bags are that the straps are usually adjustable so it can fit nicely on your hip regardless of your height. On special occasions when I’m going out, or the times when I can’t be lugging around a bigger bag, I usually just carry a wristlet. This basically only fits my wallet, my phone, my keys, and a few other small things. When in doubt, keep your wristlet in your satchel bag. I have one satchel bag that I wore out for a few summers in a row. It was worn down leather that looked really chic even though it was just old. It made me feel like a stylish and practical pirate.
My sister on the other hand much prefers handbags. She always has her tote with her. I find them more tedious because you have to put them down often. I also feel like they are more easily stolen.
I once read a study that labeled purses as one of the biggest germ carriers. Since you carry it around and put it down in public bathrooms, and other germy public places. That’s why I feel like with a satchel, you don’t have to put it down as often and therefore less germs get on it.
As for colors, it depends on the season. Black is best for fall/ winter but there’s nothing really wrong with carrying it all year round. You have to be careful with lightly colored bags because they get dirty very easily. Fabric and leather are both good options. I don’t really have a preference. Whatever you do, don’t spend too much money on it. Although you want something that will last, there’s no point in spending extra for a designer label. Target and kohls has very good quality bags for very reasonable prices.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’d like to not do purses but then everyone around me would be SOL. “Put this in your purse, Val. Put THIS in your purse, Val.”

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Dutchess_III My guy friends are the worst about that, too…lol

Jeruba's avatar

Leather, not plastic or fabric.
Solid color.
No appliqued or dangling junk, no fringe, no studs or sequins or other trash, no chains.
Enough sections and pockets for my specific purposes.
A secure closing that I can open with one hand.
Not very large.
Shoulder strap.
Not very expensive.

I make a handbag last as long as possible so I don’t have to purchase one very often. When I find a really good style, I buy one in black and one in brown or tan so I can switch between them with an easy one-to-one transfer.

I also have a couple of very small purses, big enough to hold a credit card, a little loose cash, a comb and lipstick, a pen, a key, a ticket (opera, movie, airplane), the inevitable and indispensable Kleenex and a cough drop, and if necessary a passport. One of those is made of fabric and does have sequins on it.

rooeytoo's avatar

I hate pocketbooks. I like my hands to be free, so if I am carrying a lot of stuff (necessities of life) I use a great looking old leather backpack. Other times I wear cargo pants and they have lots of pockets! But really, what do I need besides my iPhone and my debit card???

mangeons's avatar

I rarely buy new bags, so I try to get ones that are versatile and will go with a lot of outfits, are decently sized but not too big, aren’t too expensive, but will last me a while.

I just invested in a silver Steve Madden Bluuna a couple months ago that I got a for a really good deal, and I love it! It’s big enough to fit everything I need (my giant sunglasses case takes up a good deal of space) but not too oversized (I’m tiny, so this is important!) Tt goes with pretty much everything but isn’t a boring neutral, and I get tons of compliments on it! I can see myself using this bag until I absolutely have to get a new one.

rooeytoo's avatar

@mangeons – I don’t usually like the look of bags, but that one is very nice. I would like it in a natural leather color though.

mangeons's avatar

@rooeytoo I had been needing a new bag for a while and I saw this one for a reasonable price, so I just couldn’t resist! I like that it’s not a natural leather color because I think it adds something unique to the bag, but I can understand why some people prefer more natural ones!

Earthgirl's avatar

Maybe it would be fun and helpful for you if you posted links to the sort of outfits you like and we could all show you what bags we’d pick to go with it. I’m not sure if you just aren’t sure of your ability to pick something that goes well or if you don’t have a defined taste and tend to pick things out that either don’t work for you or which you decide aren’t the right look for you after you’ve spent your money. Am I overthinking this??

I have pretty defined tastes but they vary because my style varies from polished looking and tailored to bohemian and casual.

Black is always good and matches just about everything but pale summer dresses and resort wear. I even like pastel with black but overall, black just seems too serious for the summertime outside of work and evening. For summer my favorite neutral is saddle leather. It goes with everything so you don’t have to constantly change your bag, because I, like others here mention, always seem to leave something out by mistake!

Nowadays there are so many pretty colors to choose from. Color can be a fun change and it perks up an outfit like jewelry does. I never pay more than $100 for a bag and often a lot less so if I see a color that will go with a lot of the colors I wear or just look really good worn with black I indulge myself. I have to admit that a lot of times because I hate the hassle of changing all my stuff into a new bag I tend not to use these frivolous colors as much as I think I will when I buy them.
But I do so love this purple bag and this orange tote bag.

As for size, I like medium to large. I like the top to open up wide so I don’t have to grope around blindly to see what I’m trying to find in the bag. It’s also a nice feature, but not essential, to have the string with the clip on the end to pull your keys out.

Leather is more durable than most vinyls so I generally buy leather. If I do buy vinyl it usually has a texture to it like snakeskin or crocodile. I hate the type of vinyl that feels rubbery and makes squeaky noises! Argghhh!!! Hate it!

I like an inside pocket for change and one for my mirror, comb and cosmetics.

A shoulder strap is critical for me or handles large enough to comfortably put on my shoulder. I commute and I’m always carrying a lot of stuff with me so I need something I can sling over my shoulder to leave my hands free.

I like to have a zipper or secure closure vs. an open topped bag to prevent theft.

Outside pockets are nice for cell phone and transit passes.

Stylewise I have certain features that I am always drawn to:
Topstitching detail
Interesting Hardware
Pretty lining fabric
Outside Pockets
Buckles and straps

There are practical considerations and style preferences. If you can find a bag that fulfills both it is a keeper!

mangeons I like your bag too! It is a bookbag style. I once met a boyfriend because I was carrying such a bag. He joked with me saying “I like your bookbag, do you have a lunch box that goes with it?”

augustlan's avatar

I’m extremely picky about my purses, and very rarely do I buy a new one. I need it to be fairly small. Basically just exactly big enough to carry only what I need every day, with a little extra room to throw in the occasional extra (of my own or a family member’s – like @Dutchess_III said). My purse must:

- Have a long enough strap to carry it cross body style, so I can keep my hands free
– Look like (or be) real leather or canvas
– Be some shade of brown or natural color
– Have a built in wallet in an outside, easily accessible pocket
– Have an open outside pocket for my phone and cigarettes and an inside zip pocket
– Have a main compartment that is large enough for two pairs of glasses, two sets of keys, and that little bit of extra room I mentioned above. I prefer it to be tall enough to store my glasses holders upright inside, so I can just reach in and slide the glasses out without having to look.

This is my current bag (the saddle color), and I love it. It took me at least two years to find this one, and I’ll probably carry it until it falls apart.

I have tote bags for when I need to carry more, and tiny evening bags for appropriate occasions.

Plucky's avatar

Simple, I don’t use handbags.

I have gone through a few wallets though. These days, it’s an eco/green-type wallet. It has some slots for cards, two paper money slots and a spot for picture I.D. It’s getting old though (I’ve been using it for about 7 years). I have some other types waiting to be used that are brand new…so I’m good for a while. They are all basically the same type of layout. If I need something bigger, I’ll use a small messenger bag or backpack (both with lots of pockets…I love pockets).

My mother amazes me…she always has some type of large leather purse (maybe it’s a mom thing). I don’t know how, but she seems to have everything in there. You could seriously injure someone with a swing of that thing.

augustlan's avatar

@Plucky It’s definitely not a mom thing. I’m the mom and carry the small purse, and one of my girls carries a much larger purse than I do, and it’s so heavy!

Plucky's avatar

@augustlan Oh…well there goes that theory! :P

Arewethereyet's avatar

RED it has to be red, red things go faster!! And sorry moo cow I do like leather :(

Jeruba's avatar

I used to use capacious handbags and carry all sorts of extras, from a full-sized hairbrush and an emergency folding toothbrush to notebooks, a checkbook, and some reading matter. As the chronic pain in my shoulder grew worse, I did everything to lighten the pressure on it. To help eliminate weight, I started with a small handbag and packed no more than it would hold.

My present handbag is about half the size of a standard loaf of bread. Besides leaving out nonessentials, I replaced my stuffed French-purse-style wallet with a tiny purse that holds a little cash, a driver’s license, a few credit cards, and not much else.

I had to get over the notion that I must be prepared for every emergency when I leave the house (I even used to carry a compact 17-function tool that included assorted openers, regular and Phillips-head screwdrivers, and a fish scaler), plan for where I was actually going, and trust a little bit to the availability of resources, my own ingenuity, and the kindness of my fellow beings.

I have never in my life found myself alone in a situation that called for a fish scaler.

gailcalled's avatar

^^^Not yet…just you wait, however.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

Something non-leather. Vinyl, canvas, and cotton (e.g. Vera Bradley) work well. I also bought a gorgeous black pocketbook made from recycled tires.

jca's avatar

I am late to this as usual, and have not read the other answers but my criteria are as follows:

I prefer leather not cloth.

If not leather, I refuse to pay a lot of money for cloth or pleather so it better be ultra-cheap if it’s not leather. If it’s pleather it has to look and feel like leather.

Either way, I try to buy a bag on sale, half price, coupon, whatever

I prefer an unusual color like purple, turquoise, peach but brown will do. Usually not black.
I like hardware that stands out

Bag has to be big enough to hold my fat wallet and cards, and work ID, cell phone and other miscellaneous stuff that gets in there

Bag cannot have a ton of ugly pockets on the outside

I don’t prefer contrasting stitching (meaning visible stitches in a contrasting color)

I don’t prefer a crossbody bag unless I’m going to be doing a lot of walking in the city.

Usually the style I prefer is “hobo” or “satchel” which is similar to a doctor’s bag.

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