Handbag Q & A

Q. What can I do to keep my handbag organized?

–Losing It

A. It all begins with selecting the right handbag for your lifestyle. Inner and outer pockets and zippered sections help sort and separate the contents. Limit the contents to those basics you really need each day: cash, credit cards, keys, lipstick, and planner. Your chiropractor will thank you. If you need additional beauty products consider a small makeup case that will prevent spills. If you find yourself lugging around an umbrella, paperback, file folders, baby formula, toys, camera, snacks and more, either consider a larger tote-style bag that can accommodate all your needs. Or consider keeping a separate bag with these items in your car or office. Another option that works for some women is carrying a small clutch purse (that’s quick to grab and go) in a larger tote-type briefcase. Whichever option you choose, remember to regularly purge the store receipts, old tissues, lint-covered candies, and business cards that can load you down and steal precious space.

Q. How can I stash everything I need for my busy work life without resorting to wheeled luggage?

–Desperate

A. Look for one of today’s totally hot briefcases. Opt for one with both long and short padded straps and lots of interior pockets. Consider using a laptop case or postman style bag. Either will accommodate file folders, brochures, and other office paraphernalia and you’ll look great too.

Q. I hate the “new” handbags with all the straps, tassels, buckles, rivets and more. I refuse to buy one because I consider myself too old for all that stuff. But…I don’t want to look like my grandma either. Help me.

–Too young to look old

A. As in all things fashion, it’s best to be aware of the trends but ultimately to do only what’s right for you. You don’t want to be a fashion lemming following the masses off the cliff of good taste just to fit in. You may choose to opt for a simpler, cleaner style (with less ‘stuff’ happening) in one of the season’s newest colors—but only if it’s a color you love and will use long term, not because someone else deemed it a “must have.”

Q. How do I choose the right handbag for my size and body type?

—Want to Get it Right

A. You need to think proportion. If you’re a tall, large-framed woman yoo can pull off anything but a teeny-tiny bag. If you’re petit, many large bags will simply overpower you and be all wrong proportion-wise. Ensure you check out the look in a full-length mirror or if ordering online, compare the product dimensions with those bags you already own that are perfect sized for you.

Q. Sometimes I feel like the fashion industry is holding me hostage. “Experts” proclaim the season’s “it” bag, anoint the greatest designer ever, decide what you must have to be anyone. I’m sick of it. What do you suggest?

–I’m mad as hell and not taking it anymore

A. I don’t blame you, Mad as Hell. Every woman is capable of making the right choice for herself, based on lifestyle, budget, and needs. It doesn’t matter who made it, but rather who chose it. Widen your options by buying an eclectic mix of both inexpensive (but well-made) and couture bags. Visit vintage stores or granny’s attic looking for quality, well-made, beautiful, one-of-a-kind old bags to augment your wardrobe. You’re not in high school anymore, carve out your own path, make your own choices, express your own creativity and panache.

Hazel Anaka is hooked on handbags and leather purses as evidenced by her online business http://www.powerofpurses.com. Her weekly column “From Where I Sit” appears online at http://www.voicemagazine.org and in print. Using 16 years of retail experience she’s just opened Heart Works Studio Gallery & Gift Shop near Andrew, AB Canada. Featuring her original art and eclectic gift ware, Heart Works also offers workshops in art, writing and personal development

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