How to find the perfect purse, handbag or tote

I found this Kate Spade purse at Bloomingdales in New York City. iPhone photo by Ashley May

Confession: I’ve been carrying the same purse for more than two years. The leather is pulling away from the stitching in the straps and the zipper doesn’t always do what it should. I bought it in Vietnam for about $20.

Earlier this week, I decided it was time for a real upgrade. I went shopping for a new everyday purse at Bloomingdales in New York City (to be transparent, I was in the city for a New Year’s party — not just to find a purse!).

I love perusing through big-city malls because the selection seems limitless; I know I can find the newest collections and spot seasonal trends. But, sometimes so many options can be a little overwhelming.

Too make sure my trip was successful, I narrowed down my search to pinpoint that perfect purse before I found myself lost among designer handbags I could never afford.

So, here’s what I thought about:

1. How much are you willing to spend? If you want something practical and you don’t care about designer-names, expect to pay $40 to $150 for a handbag. The $150 and $500 range will get you a Longchamp or Kate Spade. Expect to pay upwards of $1,000 for designers including Burberry, Jimmy Choo, Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton.

2. Where do you take it? If you spend a lot of time in crowded areas, like subways or buses, it might be smart to get a purse that zips closed to make sure your things stay put. If your purse never sits on the floor, you might have more freedom to choose a lighter-colored fabric or leather. If it needs to fit in a gym locker, a more compact bag might be better for you.

3. What shape do you like? If you like sturdy fabrics and short handles, you might want to look at satchels. If you like medium to large purses with a more relaxed form, a zipper closure and shoulder strap, you might like a hobo style. If your purse doubles as a suitcase, you might want to check out totes (large, rectangular two-handle bags with an open or zippered top).

4. How do you carry your bag? You can carry your purse over-the-shoulder, cross-body or clutched. For moms who need free hands, a cross-body (also known as messenger) would be a good choice. If you like having a firm grip on your bag at all times, a clutch or short-handled bag might be nice for you. If you prefer your bag to hit at or above your waist, get an over-the-shoulder bag.


Ashley May

FlipSide editor. York County native. Fashion enthusiast. Social media junkie. I take my lattes with soy and whip. Follow me on Twitter @ashleymaytweets.

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1 Response

  1. Sakthi says:

    good stuff to find a perfect bags

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