Handbag Wardrobe

Good day, dear reader!

Here’s to a lovely spring (or fall if you are in the southern hemisphere)! I admit. I have a handbag problem. I know women who own one purse, and when that one is worn out, go buy another one. Part of me wishes I were that practical, but one bag for everywhere is not my style, nor does it suit my various needs.

Planning my 80/20 capsule for spring had me thinking about what bags I wanted to include. I looked at what was on the top shelf of my closet, and knew that I certainly had enough options, but I was curious what other women think is necessary for a handbag wardrobe. My research found wildly varying opinions. One post I read fell on the more minimal side with 3 bags. Others couldn’t imagine a life with less than 10. Most fell somewhere between 6 and 10. I certainly own more than 10, but my analytical streak took over and wanted to figure out how many I really need.

(Related Aside: Early in our marriage, when packing for a move, my husband asked me why I needed so many purses. He observed “You can only carry one at a time.” I asked him (snark-free) why he owned more than one computer game, because “You can only play one at a time.” His reply: “Ahhhh… Point taken.” Even 20+ years later, when I veer into a handbag department “just for a peek” he says nothing. I am married to an astonishingly patient man. Definite candidate for sainthood.)

I find others’ must-have-lists interesting, but those writers aren’t me. Their lifestyle isn’t mine. Their values aren’t mine. And their personality definitely isn’t mine. So I came up with my own! It turns out that for everyday, I like to have 5 bags to choose from to suit the day, activities, and my mood. I need a(n)…

Everyday Work Bag

This is my practical bag, neutral in color. A bag in my hair color would really rock, but navy is one of my year ’round neutrals, so a navy bag with an adjustable and removable strap works beautifully. I am petite, and many “day bags” or shoulder bags are just too darned large. This one is small enough that I can take off the strap and use it as a day clutch, or drop it into my work tote. The strap allows it to be a short shoulder bag, or crossbody (my usual weekend or shopping trip preference). It’s big enough for my iPad, but not so huge that I can overfill it.

Work Tote

To haul goodies from point A to point B. A work tote needs to be roomy enough for my purse, an extra pair of shoes, samples, color drapes, makeup kit for clients, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. It’s too big as a purse for me. I know women who carry an everyday bag this big , but I’m not interested in the shoulder and back issues that I would have if I hauled it around all day every day. Most people will tell you to choose a neutral, but I’m not afraid of color, so I went for the one you see above. It had been on my wish list for quite some time when I found it for a great price on Ebay.

Summer Tote

I like a big lightweight tote for summer. It feels like vacation, even if I am working. I know I don’t need one. I thought I was over the pom-pom trend, and then I saw this one. Head over heels. I didn’t hit the 1-Click button, but boy is it ever tempting… The summer tote I own is coated canvas, grey with navy dots. Cute, but certainly not as much fun as this!

Colored Bag

I wear mostly neutrals in the hot months here in Georgia. They feel cooler to me than the colors that everyone else breaks out for the warmer months. (Yes, I am backwards.) Since my warm weather outfits are mostly denim blue, white, and grey, I like a pop of color with my purse. The pink one above was one of my S/S 2018 Five, and I am loving it even if I am still in lots of color. If most of your bottoms and outerwear are neutral, a colored bag is a great way to add interest to your outfit, and brighten your day. Especially in winter, when we all need a bit of cheer!

Attitude/Expression Bag

This one is probably not a need, but I think a bag with attitude is always a good thing for days you need a little swagger. Maybe it’s got studs, or grommets, or a dinosaur on it. I can’t tell you what your ‘Tude Bag is, but it will make you feel just a little kick a#@. Not so much that it screams “Careful! Crazy Lady!” But enough to give you a silent smirk every time you catch a glimpse of it in the mirror. (Or the windows of the grocery store!) Changed my mind. This is a definite need.

Along with the above five, I also need two “not everyday” bags.

Lightweight Travel Bag

I bought a Baggallini crossbody a few years ago, and love it for travel! It would make a great everyday bag for a casual lifestyle as well. It is lightweight, the strap is wide so that it doesn’t cut into your shoulder on long days walking and sightseeing, AND it has the Goldilocks number of pockets and compartments for me. Not so few that everything ends up in a jumble in the bottom, and not so many that you can’t remember where you put your keys/comb/lip balm… It spot cleans beautifully when you drip on it, and the strap is adjustable for those days you don’t want it across you. I throw it into my carry-on, and pull it out at our destination. It is also nice and flat and flexible so that you can even wear it under your coat on days that feels necessary! It’s been to the beach, the snow, and everywhere in between. Love it!

Metallic Clutch

I don’t have much of an evening social life. We live early to bed, early to rise, but my pewter clutch (the one above is way cuter) has been dressing up my outfits for more than 20 years. The right metallic for you goes with everything. This one takes me to nice dinners, brunches, weddings and baby showers. It feels more festive than my everyday work bag, even when that one is in clutch mode. I popped it into our suitcase for our trip to Asheville for our special dinner at the Biltmore. Bonus: With sparkly earrings and lace pumps, it made my jeans and sweater feel just right for our unexpected outing to the theatre.

So, which of these ended up in my 80/20 Spring capsule? That’s funny… My work tote did, and my ‘Tude Bag. My new pink colored bag, and another colored satchel style handbag in a soft greeny/blue. The last is not my metallic clutch, but a chambray blue colored day clutch, that along with the pink bag is taking turns as my Everyday Work Bag. It’s going to be a colorful (purse) spring!

What do you need? Are you a one handbag woman, or do you like a little variety? What one bag would you rescue (it would already have your wallet and goodies inside) if you were running from a fire? Let’s start a conversation in the comments below!

Stay stylish!

And a heartfelt thank you to Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb for the Link-Up!


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