Designer Purses – The History of the Designers You Love

You probably love Prada, Louis Vuitton, and Chanel designer purses but do you know how those famous names became the leaders in the fashion industry. Knowing a little bit about the backgrounds of these design houses can make these purses even more valuable to you.

Prada: A Long History in Handbags

Back in 1913, Mario Prada established the Fratelli Prada store in Milan, Italy which sold leather items, including handbags. Shockingly, he never approved of doing business interactions with women so almost all of his clients were noblemen from throughout the country. Mario died in the 1950’s and his daughter-in-law ran the company for the next 20 years. However it was Mario’s daughter Miuccia and her partner Patrizio Bertelli took over the company in 1978. Under her, the Prada name started to emerge as one of the great designer labels in the world. While Prada had been around for more than eight decades, the name came into its own in the 1990’s and started to become the ultimate fashion symbol we’ve all come to love.

A Long Way from Luggage: Louis Vuitton

Long before Louis Vuitton was synonymous with some of the most beautiful purses available, it was the name of a French man who decided to walk from Jura to Paris in 1835. The journey was long but Vuitton was determined to be successful. Soon after reaching the City of Lights, he began creating his own luggage and that luggage would be the foundation of his success. In 1892, Vuitton’s son took over the family business. He brought the name to the United States just a year later by having an exhibition at the Chicago World’s Fair. During the first half of the 20th century, the company started diversifying and eventually added handbags, wallets, and purses to its line up of items. However, what really set the stage for the company’s success with the women of the world was product placement. In the movie Charade, Audrey Hepburn is filmed carrying a Louis Vuitton handbag. The rest is history.

Chanel: The Name of Women’s Fashion

Much of the world’s fashion for women was designed by men but it was Coco Chanel who made the difference. She started the House of Chanel in 1910 and began by completely changing the view of what was appropriate in women’s clothing. Just three years later, she introduced sportswear for women and in just two more years her clothing line had become famous throughout France. After 1921, Chanel started to create new products, including perfume and jewelry. In the middle of the 1950’s, she also introduced the famous quilted bag. Today, under the direction of Karl Lagerfeld, the Luxury Line has been introduced along with some of the most popular purses ever available.

While these are only three of the top designer purse labels available, they are some of the most popular and are the ones that women love to have on their arm as they walk down the street.

To See Prada, Chanel, Louis Vuitton bags and more, be sure to visit us at http://www.PurseEmpire.com

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Handbags: Keeping Up With The Joneses

What is it about handbags that drive the females bonkers? It’s handbags and shoes – an awesome dynamic duo that makes boy friends jealous everywhere.

And no, it’s never sufficient only to possess one in your stash, but to have an entire years worth of handbags and fashion accessories so that you can match it with whatever you’re wearing that day (or whatever mood you’re in).

There is something very sensual and raw about handbags – they exude femininity. It’s probably the defining accessory for women because it goes beyond footwear, or other clothing we put on our physical bodies- handbags are what make women standout from a purely fashion point of view.

Don’t you dare think that handbags are merely there to make a fashion statement, in fact, they provide various different uses as well. There are all purpose handbags that can carry your daily requirements such as cell phones, makeup, wallet, and anything else you’d like to have around with you.

There are particular handbags that people use to carry their canine friends as well. Women rarely use one style of handbag. They usually have a rack full of different bags for different occasions.

There are all sorts of styles and fashions of handbags that will suit the taste of any discerning woman in the whole world. From well-known handbags such as coach, to lesser known producers, there are wide product lines as diverse and unique as the woman in your life.

If you are not awed by this, there is a constant evolution of handbags on a periodic basis, whereby the hottest new designers come out with a refreshing approach while the veteran designers produce instant classics adored by all.

Some groups prefer the name brands exclusively, while others go for lower tier handbags and purses, while yet others may consider a mix or even opt for replicas. Replicas usually are inferior in quality and certainly not a wise choice at all.

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Savvy Shopping for Replica Handbags

First of all, we all know handbags are big business. The leading designers like Prada, Gucci, Coach, Burberry, Dooney and Bourke all command huge investments when you purchase one of their purses, often in the thousands of dollars. So, it is no big surprise then that replica handbags, often called “knock-offs,” are just as big a business.

If you’re looking for the real deal for a steal, be aware that in order to actually get the authentic designer item you will have to most likely fork over the big bucks, regardless of that tip your friend gave you for a little shop where you can get the same thing for hundreds less. Not likely, say most experts. In fact, top designers make it rather common knowledge how you can spot the real product. And they say, you will not find a real Gucci through a street vendor, regardless of what he or she is advertising.

How do you tell the difference? Experts say there are all kinds of clues that will alert you to a fake. There is exact match of fabric and material, the way labels and decorations are attached to the bag, even what type of thread and stitches have been used. Tips such as these are just as handy when you are shopping for a replica and trying not to be duped into spending more than you must. Handbag counterfeiters try their hardest to lead you to believe that the bag you just picked up is a real Prada, and that you can have it for an attractive percentage less than the real thing just because that’s the last one they have in stock.

When you are shopping for a replica, shop with a vendor who advertises top quality replicas up front. A reputable retailer will be honest about their products, and their prices should reflect drastic differences between the authentic designer purses. Also, shop with a business that comes recommended from a friend or colleague. Shopping over the internet, sight unseen, experts warn, puts you at risk for being ripped off. Make sure the online retailer has drastic differences in prices from the originals. They should be honest that they are in fact selling replicas and not hinting that the handbags are originals with deep discounts. Most many consumers, quality replicas are a fine replacement for the original.

Nick Martilik is the fashion consultant and online marketer for the replica handbags and purses at AAAreplicas.com

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Choosing the Right Handbag For Your Body Type

Believe it or not trying on a purse is just as important as trying on clothes. Even though a purse is just an accessory, wearing the wrong style, size or shape can really ruin your look. The part of the body that the handbag rests on will be the part of the body that the eye will be drawn to. The right choice of handbag can actually accentuate your positive attributes. Before you order one of the seasons hot, new bags, learn how to choose the right bag for your body type.

Things to consider before purchasing a purse online

If you are slim and tall – You are lucky! Being tall and slim allows you to get away with most purse styles. Oversize bags, shoulder bags and clutch bags will all look great. The only thing you really need to watch is the size of the handbag you choose. Small bags should be avoided as they will make you look bigger. Mid size, large, floppy or bulky handbags are best. Bright colors, prints and patterns are okay, too.

If you are short and petite – The most important thing to watch for as a petite girl is the size of the bag you choose. A good rule of thumb is to remember proportion. Small bags work well for small girls. Choose small bags and wear them close to your body.

If your hips are large – If you wish to draw attention away from the hip area try a shoulder bag. Choose one with a short strap. The purse can be tucked easily under the arm. The best look for you is a shoulder bag or a hobo bag that hangs slightly but ends well above the hip line.

If you are top heavy – If you are generously endowed on the upper half of your body you will probably want to draw attention away from your bosom or waist. A messenger bag or a handbag is a good choice for your body type. If you really want a shoulder bag try one that has a long strap and is fairly large in size.

If you have great curves – A shoulder bag that ends just above the waist is the most flattering style for you. The only type of bags that you will want to avoid are ones that are either really big or really small.

IF YOU’RE A PLUS SIZE – Any style of bag that is wider in width like a Hobo bag suit you best. Stay away from bags that are small. A small bag will make you look larger. Go for bags with short to medium length straps.

Lynn Donn is the webmaster for http://www.unique-handbags-and-purses.com Her website offers tips and information on all the latest trends in purses and handbags for the fashion enthusiast.

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Latest Fashion Trends in Unique Handbags and Purses

If you’re looking for something a little different, there are literally thousands of beautifully crafted unique handbags and purses available for purchase online. If you’re tired of the mass-produced offerings you tend to find at the mall, the online handbag, purse and fashion accessory market is an exciting and exotic new world.

The variety of unique handbag and purse designs keeps getting bigger, better and more innovative all the time, but as with every kind of fashion accessory, interesting trends emerge with every new season. Here is a brief rundown of what’s coming in unique purses and handbags in 2006.

Cloth Purses

Cloth purses are very casual fashion items, so colorful fabrics and whimsical patterns are the strongest trend. If you love bold colors and striking contrasts you’ll have a great time shopping for cloth purses this season.

A cloth purse is mostly a spring/summer fashion accessory, so expect to see warm colors, and light breezy cotton or nylon fabrics. Fresh, summery patterned fabrics with flowers, fruits and ladybugs are always popular.

Also very fashionable is the clever and practical reversible cloth purse. You can literally turn the purse inside out to reveal the alternative fabric pattern, so you have two purses in one.

Monogrammed handbags

Monogrammed bags and purses never really go out of style, and this season we’ll see a huge range of colors, shapes sizes and styles.

A strong upcoming trend is leather sling hipster handbags with elegantly embossed initials or a name. Soft leather is a beautiful fabric for handbags because it’s durable, always very stylish, and it goes with everything. Sling handbags are very comfortable to carry, and perfect either for business or as a casual accessory.

Monogrammed tote bags

Tote bags are the most casual fashion accessory of all, and perfect for the beach, for picnics, or for a little shopping. Monogrammed tote bags are also great for kids to carry their school books or gym clothes, and having their initials or name printed on the bag means they won’t lose it.

Soft cotton canvas is the classic fabric for tote bags, and we’ll see an abundance of canvas tote bags this season.

The big trend for monogrammed tote bags will be big initials, printed across the whole side panel of the bag in big, bold colors. A single first initial of your first name as a monogram has a casual, whimsical kind of feel.

Dog purses

Everyone loves dogs, which is why the fashion for handbags, tote bags and purses decorated with a full panel photo of a gorgeous dachshund, poodle, beagle, yorkie or dalmatian just keeps getting stronger and stronger every year. Dog purses are a great gift idea for anyone whose best friend is their beloved hound.

Custom-made dog purses are also becoming more and more popular. You can have your own photograph of your dog printed onto a handbag, so your bag, like your dog, will be truly one of a kind.

Photo purses

Photo purses are simply ultra-cool, and the most individual and personal of fashion statements. You can have your own photo of anything you like printed onto a purse or handbag, like a special person in your life, your cat, dog or bird, or even your car.

A very trendy idea is to use a romantic old photograph of a relative as a model for your photo purse, so you can cherish their memory wherever you go.

Initial purses

Initial purses are a fashion accessory with a personal touch, and they make wonderful gifts. You can have just about any kind of purse printed, embroidered or embossed with a single initial or set of two or three initials in a wide variety of styles.

As for handbags, leather will be a big trend in the upcoming season for purses. We’ll see lots of small leather purses with a comfortable sling shoulder strap, elegantly embossed with two or three initials.

Cigar box purses

Cigar box purses are another strong trend for the coming year. They’re literally made from a wooden cigar box, fitted with a clasp and a handle, and embossed with an artistic or photographic image.

The most fashionable cigar box purses are decorated with advertising images from the glamorous 1920’s and 30’s. European advertising artwork from that period has a particularly elegant and alluring style, so we’ll be seeing a lot of Cinzano, Cognac and French Perfume labels on cigar box purses.

Hobo purses

Hobo purses can be cool and casual for shopping, or groovy and glamorous to go with evening wear.

Casual style hobo purses come in suede or leather, and soft colors like pastel pinks, beige, cream and white are very much in vogue.

A new look for hobo purses which is on the way in is a small purse in a gold or silver mesh fabric, or even ultra-glamorous sequins and rhinestones. These purses are a new take on the traditional evening purse, and make an eye-catching alternative.

Clutch handbags

Clutch purses and handbags have an elegant, streamlined look, but they’re the perfect size to carry all those little necessities.

The big look for clutch purses and clutch handbags in the coming year will be all glamour. Shiny metallic gold, silver, bronze and platinum shades will be the strong colors of the season, in soft suede leather.

Lynn Donn is the webmaster for http://www.unique-handbags-and-purses.com Her website offers tips and information on all the latest trends in purses and handbags for the fashion enthusiast.

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Leather, the New Buzz Word in Fashion

Leather has been reflecting in human apparel and accessories since pre-medieval days. Initially it was used as a wrap-around and gradually evolved into its finesse and grandeur form along with the development of mankind. Earlier leather was widely used for shoes, belts and bags. It owes it glam and chic image to jackets which have become a universal craze, thanks to the Hollywood veterans who flaunted it with their machismo image.

Leather jackets became popularly associated with rugged bikers because of their durability, safety and style, making it a prerogative of men. But, that seems like yore. It has become an effective statement of rebel among women who want to display their fearless and care-a damn attitude. The market is seeing a deluge in women riders clothing and apparel. The ensemble includes leather jackets, vests, gloves, chaps, pants, boots and more. They are cut to fit their curves and crevices and flaunt her figure, making her sexy and gorgeous road vixen.

Leather has also invaded the ordinary casual trend. Leather bottoms, halter tops, skirts, shorts, fashion jackets, gloves etc can be found everywhere. In fact, its fashion and trend continues to expand and invade other grounds. Some of the commonly used leather apparel and accessories include leather jackets, leather bombers, leather pants, leather bikers, leather cycle jackets, leather motorcycle jackets, leather coats, leather skirts, riding chap pants, leather handbags, belts, wallets, purses and accessories, leather vests, leather tank tops, leather shorts, leather hot pants, leather halter.

This is an ideal site for buying your leather fashion products. I would say you would be pleased to buy some leather products from this site. Look at the amazing range coming in affordable bucks. http://www.leathericon.com/

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Chanel Handbags – Coco Chanel

The Chanel brand is one of the hottest brands among the Popular Celebrities. You can see them wearing these items such as earrings, handbags and cosmetics. Basically they are promoting the brand which has made Chanel accessories such as purses one of the most popular in some parts of the country.

It has become the standard when it comes to designer purses. Lately their purses are very much in vogue as well as the earrings. You can see Hollywood stars sporting their Chanel purses such a Paris Hilton. But if you do not live in any of the metropolitan areas , you may have difficulties finding Genuine Chanel handbags or purses. It may even be hard to find the knock offs lol.

Now however, due to the world wide web you can still find some genuine designer purses at discount prices. But be careful not to go for the cheapest ones in your quest for finding these hot accessories. Some of the cheap knock offs are nothing more than cheap Chinese imports that are really low quality and will only last for a few months and may even have visible defects. You should pay anywhere from $500 to $2000.00 on average for genuine Chanel purses.

The most copied purses is the Chanel Cambon purses. That is because these are also the most popular and usually the lowest priced purses. If you live in New York for example and you make your way to Broadway street, right in the area of 50th street and 32nd street, you will see a lot of cheap knock offs. The same is true for Canal street in New York which is more commonly known as China Town.

However if you want the quality Chanel purses and jewelry expect to pay more for those and you will also have more enjoyment out of them. What is more some Chanel purses actually increases in value over time. But only if it is the real thing!

Here is a good site for discount Chanel purses Discount Chanel Handbags

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The 5 S’s of Handbag Selection

Are you one of those women overwhelmed by the sheer, staggering number of handbag choices? Do you long for the simpler decisions of your grandma’s day? For the days when her choice was the black leather frame handbag—think Golden Girls’ Sophia’s ever-present purse dangling from her forearm. Or would grandma pick her white patent leather summer purse? Or maybe a woven wicker number for the hazy, crazy summer days of the 1950s and 60s? Aaah the simple life.

Life in the twenty-first century is not short of choices, rigid rules, fashionista do’s and don’ts, instant experts and armchair critics. Many women are unable to act because of decisional paralysis. We’ve grown to rely on the fashion industry stamp of approval to tell us what we like, what we want, and where to get it. Unless it’s included in fashion magazine full page ads or top ten lists we’re just not sure if it’s right for us. If it bears a designer insignia or is favored by the hottest celebrities we want it. At the very least we crave the approval of family and friends. We’ve given up control.

In yet one more take on how to pick the perfect purse consider the following five tongue-in-cheek handbag design personality types. By pigeon-holing er defining your personality preferences you too will be able to take back control of your design destiny and buy just the right purse for you and live happily ever after. Honest.

One. Are you a woman who appreciates fine lines, defined edges, art for the sake of art? Do you gravitate to sleek furniture and streamlined accessories? Aim for a “Sculptural Silhouette.” Look for handbag designs that are structured, yet beautiful enough to display on a bookcase or table in your home. Designs that make you gasp in awe.

Two. If the words minimalist, uncontrived, and smart define your design sensibility in clothing and home decor think “Savvy Simplicity.” You want to combine practicality and common sense with clean, simple designs. You don’t want or need umpteen pockets in your purse. You frown at embellishments like tassels and grommets and pleating and buckles. Understated elegance is your watchword.

Three. Confident, refined, possessing worldly experience in matters of fashion and culture are words that define you. You know how to carry yourself and handle any situation that presents itself. You personify “Sleek Sophistication.” You gravitate to those handbags constructed of luxury leathers, fine finishes and attention to detail. You understand that often less truly is more.

Four. You are the woman who’s most likely to turn heads. You’re well put together and not afraid to bend the rules. Your motto is: “it’s better to ask forgiveness than request permission.” Your style is “Stunningly Seductive.” In the language of purse design that means sexy fabrics and finishes like lace, sequins and beads. Your handbag selection could reflect the rock chick vibe or the fun, funky exuberance of youth.

Five. You are the woman who expects good value for your dollar. You’ve earned everything you have and you will not settle for less than the best. You expect, no, demand reliability, functionality, enduring, affordable quality. And you’re not willing to forgo fashion forward style to get it. This handbag design personality type is “Stylishly Substantial.” Organizer purses with multiple pockets, attached key chains and coin purses are features you appreciate. With your hectic, multi-role life you need a handbag that works for you. Whether you need to pack some files or some baby wipes this purse will accommodate your wishes. You opt for classic designs.

Unless you’re willing to go through life with one basic black bag it’s time to have some fun with making your own fashion accessory decisions. Take note of what you love on others but trust your own good sense. Expect value for money and don’t settle for less. Assess your needs—do you need a bag to take you from home to work and back again? Or do you want a glitzy little number for a hot night out? Or perhaps a fun and funky tote for the Saturday mall crawl? Take back your control and experience the power of purses.

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 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 giftware, Heart Works also offers workshops in art, writing and personal development.

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Bags With Bling

“Sex appeal is 50 per cent what you’ve got and
50 per cent what people think you’ve got.”

-Sophia Loren

I don’t know the time or context in which Sophia said this but I re-discovered it in a book of quotes, “The Last Word-A Treasury of Women’s Quotes” by Carolyn Warner, published in 1992.
It’s safe to say, fourteen years later, that not a great deal of what ‘you’ve got’ is being left to the imagination. In a world gone mad, it’s more “if you’ve got it, flaunt it.”

For those women unwilling or unable to compete with the sexy, nubile, twig-skinny, nearly-naked, rich young girls, the only recourse is letting your accessories speak for you.

Personally I consider shoes to be utilitarian. With plantar fasciitis the need for comfort is non-negotiable. In fact if I had a nickel for everyone I know with some sort of foot problem, I’d be a rich woman. So, for me at least, shoes are not the thing that defines my look.

However, handbags are. Never before has selection been greater. The sheer number of designers pumping out at least two collections a year ensures product galore (and a very short shelf life for all but the most classic designs). The internet has served to make our world so much smaller. The world’s inventory is literally available in the comfort of our own homes.

Knock-offs play into Sophia’s “what people think you’ve got.” For those women inclined to create an impression, albeit false, knock-offs may be the answer—how to have the designer look when clearly you can’t afford it.

Most other women are content (or is that resigned?) to making their fashion dollar go as far as it can without resorting to copycat products. That may mean, in practical terms, just buying one really good leather bag each year plus a fun, funky, faux fad knowing full well it’s almost a throw-away.

Current handbag styles seem to fall into two loose groups. The trendiest ones are loaded with buckles, tassels, rings, straps, appliqués and jewels. In a word: bling. They tend to be over-sized, slouchy, unstructured. Group two are those classic styles, colors, construction and finishes that endure year in and year out. A toned down, more subtle bling. The sort of designs that become the mainstay of some of the world’s most successful and enduring design houses.

Both groups are available in price points exclusively for the ultra-rich, Hollywood starlet or more reasonably priced for you and me.

But back to Sophia…is it sexy to flaunt the illusion of wealth even if you can’t afford it? Or is it sexier to flaunt your authenticity—pulling together your very best look —with the greatest accessories you can afford.

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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Spring 2007: The Must-Have Luxury Leather Handbags

Although a luxury leather handbag is one of the most classic fashion accessories that one can buy, styles and trends change with the season. If you are in the market for a new bag, you will be pleased to discover the array of options available this season. Spring 2007 is all about choices in personal style. Here is your guide to the latest styles and colors in a variety of luxury leather handbags.

Originally slouchy, comfortable, and decidedly bohemian, the “hobo bag” has gone through a style metamorphosis. While retaining their offbeat styling, this year’s hobos are now more structured, offering a “frame” to hold the leather in place. From funky faux-reptilian straps to shiny metal grommets, trim is in so shop around for the style that best represents you.

A structured middle ground between a hobo and a totebags, the “satchel” is possibly the most functional choice of all luxury leather handbagsbags. Functional definitely does not mean frumpy though, as the satchel has emerged as possibly the hottest bag of the season. The satchel offers a dizzying array of styling choices from shiny patent leather to rings and grommets that are reminiscent of the old punk chic.

Large bags are in this year and the larger the better. Totebags were originally designed as specialty bags for carrying books and other large items. Recently however, they have morphed into the bags of choice for many Hollywood stars. With a bag this large it is easy to lose keys and other necessities in the bottom so this year’s hot styles feature zipper compartments to keep essentials separated.

While large bags are the style of choice for everyday use, transform your look at night with the polar opposite: a tiny handbag complete with intricate detailing. Teeny zippers, delicate chains and soft trim are all just a few of the choices in this year’s smallest bags.

Cell phone cases, wallets, and key chains are all available in an endless array of styles and colors. The significantly lower price of these small accessories makes it easier to embrace possibly short-lived trends so live it up with these more affordable options.

Colors are also very important. Without a doubt bright and shiny red is the number one color of the moment. From patent leather to suede, from totebags to clutches, red bags are the hottest of the season. If fire engine red is not quite your style, other colors within the red family are widely available as well from pink to burgundy and everything in between.

Royal purple, regal green, lapis blue: if it can be found in gemstones it is hot this season. These colors work especially well on clutch purses, adding a shock of color to your little black dress.

Brown and beige are especially hot this year, particularly in the larger bags, making it easy to coordinate your bag with many different outfits. White is also in and of course, basic black never goes out of style.

This year’s styles are all about personal choice. The wide array of colors, styles and especially trim ensures that no matter what your individual preference there is sure to be a luxury leather handbag that is perfect for you.

Gale Boone is the founder of eLuxe Bags. For more information about luxury leather handbags, visit http://www.eluxebags.com

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Current Style in Handbags

Bags are a very important accessory of a woman’s attire in any season. Handbag designs keep getting better and more innovative every season. Interesting trends emerge and this year is no different.

BAG IT: Bags this current season are expected to have a lot of stitch details. Huge and oversized handbags are the hottest item this season. But remember to keep it small for the evening. The trend this season will veer towards accessories on the handbag, like plaited handles, plaited areas etc.

It may include that extra strap which buckles down or even the edges of the handbag having leather thongs wrapped around them. Some other trends may include tassels and studs and even possibly padlocks and frills on the bag.

Interesting accessories are expected in the handbag this season. These may include key rings and metal buckles. Pockets in the bag, leather appliqués and charms that dangle are likely to be part of the current handbag style scene.

Crystal beads, gold tone studs and even leather bows may add that extra special. It is likely that decorative trimmings on the bags will be extremely popular. Another trend may be to have headscarves threaded through the eyelets of the bag. Even a gold chain may be slotted to create a special look. The trend in handles may include chains in the leather or they may be made exclusively of chain.

STYLES GALORE: Printed bags are very much in vogue and so is the new deeper taller bag shape and deep tote styles. The material of the bag may be leather or suede, which may appear as washed out and faded. It may be tie-dyed or frilled or even tool impressed.

The handbag with a slouch is also set to make an impact this season. Hardware on bags is very much “in”, as is ironmongery. It is the large, oversized slouch bag, which will round off the fashion look whispering.

WATCH THE HARDWARE: Hardware on bags is a definite attraction this season. Bags are likely to have a row of studs or they may have extra leather, trimmed with metal over the bag’s body. Chain handles on bags are likely to be very popular. White bags are set to make a strong impression.

Another likely trend is the bag with the metallic finish that has metallic tones making it shimmer and glisten.

THINK SLIM: The trend is towards the shape of bags growing taller, sleeker, and cleaner. There is no lumpy untidiness of excessive bulky outside pockets on every available surface, although the size maybe big.

Here are some unique designs in purse and handbags, which can be, expected this year and which are sure to catch on.

USE THE CLOTH: Cloth purses are very casual fashion items but they are very popular. The strongest trend this year is likely to be colourful fabrics and unique patterns. Bold colors and striking contrast are likely to be “in”. Also very fashionable is the practical reversible cloth purse. The purse can be literally turned inside out to reveal the alternative fabric pattern. This allows you to have two purses for the price of one.

PUT A NAME TO IT: Monogrammed handbags never go out of style. The present styles are likely to be monogrammed handbags in a wide range of colors, shapes, sizes and styles.

An expected upcoming trend is leather sling hipster handbags with elegantly embossed initials or a name. The preferred material for such handbags is soft leather, because it is durable and very stylish. Apart from that, sling handbags are very comfortable to carry. They form the perfect accessory whether the outing is a casual one or a business one.

Monogrammed tote bags are also very much in fashion. They are the most perfect, casual fashion accessories. Monogrammed tote bags serve a variety of purposes, whether at the beach, or at a picnic, even at school. The best material for tote bags is soft cotton canvas and this is likely to be the trend this year too.

DOGGIE BAG: Dog purses are gaining popularity. With almost everyone loving dogs the fashion is veering towards handbags, tote bags and purses decorated with a full panel photo of a gorgeous pouch. Dog purses and handbags are also a great gift idea for anyone who loves their beloved hound. Custom-made dog purses are also becoming more and more popular. You can have your own photograph of your dog printed onto a handbag.

If you don’t like dogs, you can have your own photo, or the photo of that someone special in your life, printed onto your purse or handbag, Photo purses or handbags are ultra-cool and make a special fashion statement.

CLUTCH THAT BAG: Clutch purses and handbags have an elegant, streamlined look, but they’re the perfect size to carry all those little necessities. The trend for clutch purses and clutch handbags is likely to be all glamour. Shiny metallic gold, silver, bronze and platinum shades will be the strong colors of the season, in soft suede leather.

If you follow the above trends you can be sure that you will be never out of sync with your handbag this season. You will be very much a part of the “in” crowd.

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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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