Wardrobe 101

Style Staples #7: A Colored Bag

Wishing the happiest of days to you, dear reader!

If this is your first visit, welcome! If you are returning, thank you for coming to see me again! I think I may have come to the end of this batch of Style Staples. (I say this batch, because I expect I will think of some more. My brain works that way.) Today it’s time to tackle the 7th Style Staple: A Colored Bag. Now, a colored bag is not the first handbag I would suggest a client purchase. If you were starting a wardrobe from scratch, a neutral bag would be more practical, but say we’ve moved beyond practical into something more interesting… So why choose a colored bag?

Add a Pop

A colored bag is an easy way to add a pop of color to the mostly neutral wardrobe that so many women have built. It’s also a fabulous way to add a second or third color if your natural color contrast is higher than C1. (Your color contrast is determined by how many and what colors and neutrals make up your natural coloring. Clearly, this needs to be its own post!) Many women default to a black bag, and consider any other color a “color,” but for our purposes here, when I say colored, I mean a color you find in the rainbow, not brown, tan, grey, navy, olive, etc. If this is unclear, here’s more about colors and neutrals.

As we head into the cooler seasons, that colored bag is perfect for brightening up a dark winter coat! If your winter coat is black, grey or navy, consider red, pink, or yellow. If your winter coat is brown or camel, try green, red, light blue, or pink. If that contrast feels uncomfortable, look for a patterned scarf with the color of your bag in it to create a coordinated look without getting all matchy!

If you prefer a monochromatic (one color) look, a bag in a shade or tint of your preferred color adds visual interest. For example a lighter blue bag with jeans and a navy top adds another shade of blue to the mix. The look stays harmonious, but the change of color prevents the outfit from looking dull or drab.

Express Yourself

If you have ever taken a child back to school shopping, you know what this is about… One of the Earth shattering B2S decisions is the backpack. It will be carried every. day. all. year. What one to choose? Hello Kitty? Superman? Minions? As we get older, it’s less about the characters, but what pattern? Skulls, mushrooms, plaid, skateboards, flowers, paisley? Or no pattern. As we get even older those questions don’t go away, they just change venue.

Make You Smile

This one is related to the listing above, but with a twist. What’s your favorite color? Pink? Purple? Blue? Green? Orange? Color makes people happy. Not every color makes every person happy, but there is probably one that makes you happy! A handbag is a great place for a happy color, because you grab it every time you go somewhere. When we wear a color, we don’t often see it unless we look into a mirror, but you see your bag every time you reach for it. News Flash: If it’s time for a new handbag, “because the color makes me smile” is an acceptable reason for choosing it.

I love yellow. It makes me smile. But yellow (especially the bright mustard shades I love) doesn’t love me. Those yellows make me look like something the cat sicked up. How to indulge my mustard madness? A bag isn’t carried near my face, so it’s a great way for me to get my mustard on! I pull it out to wear on days when I need a dose of sunshine, or when am wearing neutrals. It becomes a color accent, without overwhelming my coloring, and it’s strong enough to hold its own against my red raincoat on a rainy day.

If a colored handbag is just too scary, start small. Pick a “colored neutral,” like a light wine, deep teal or green, eggplant, or rusty orange. These cross the line from color into more neutral territory by virtue of their darker color. They combine like neutrals, although they are colors.

Can you live without a colored handbag? Of course. You can live without any of the Style Staples, but most of us don’t only wear clothing to cover our bodies. We want our wardrobe to help us look good, feel good, and say something about who we are. That’s the point of the Style Staples. They take those Building Basics (often quite generic) to another level, from body coverings to an intentional outfit. Hopefully, one that says “you” in a way that feels authentic and expressive.

How about you? Do you have a colored handbag? Why or why not? What’s your favorite color? Could you imagine buying a handbag or pair of shoes in that color? Would they make you smile? You deserve to! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below; I love to hear from you!

Stylishly yours,

Many thanks to Nancy of Nancy’s Fashion Style, for the Link-Up! What would the weekend be like without you?






  • CurlyBrunette

    I don’t carry bags unless I’m going swimming or buying groceries. I do own two handbags though, used to carry them only when I had to wear something with no pockets. Fixed the problem by sewing in pockets wherever possible, and not buying pants and jackets without pockets anymore. I have found it to be amazingly relieving and relaxing (not just on my shoulder) not to carry a bag full of clutter when all I really need is my keys, phone and some chapstick. Feels like having decluttered your wardrobe, but on your actual person.

    • closetplayadmin

      I can see that! I like a bag, not because I want to carry a ton of things, but because I prefer my clothes slim fitting, and phones, etc. are just too darned bulky for my pockets, and ruin the line of clothes. (Not to mention the phone in toilet issue that happens to many women I know!) When my boys were small I had a big bag, then I managed to winnow down to a small crossbody, but now that I carry work supplies, or my mother’s things, I’m back to larger than I like… Again! It’s a phase. I know it will pass.

    • closetplayadmin

      I use bags and shoes as a style definer, but that’s part of my own personality! The accessories certainly make or break an outfit for me. Everyone has to find their own style definers. Thank you for visiting!

  • Gail

    I have lots of colored bags! I love how circle and across-the-body bags add some oomph to outfits. My favourite color is bright pink but it’s the only color I don’t have yet in a bag.

    • closetplayadmin

      Bright pink sounds like fun! I have magenta shoes, but no bright pink purse… Hmmm. Wardrobe gap? Thank you so much for visiting, Gail!

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