What Your Handbag Says About You

Let’s face it, even if you insist you’re not a bag whore, you are. You know you are. You can’t help passing by your favorite boutique without sneaking a peek at what sack-du-jour will catch your eye. Is it a swimmingly large leather tote? A convenient, hands-free backpack? A minaudière? Clutch? Satchel? The choices are endless. But what does your handbag of choice really say about you? Read on—you might be surprised.

Handbag: by this I mean a true Grace Kelly-type bag. Structured with a short-curved handle that you can carry by hand or nestle in the crook of your arm. You’re a proper woman—or at least that’s what you want people to think. Remember, this is what Queen Elizabeth carries. It’s big enough for a pack of Kleenex, your phone, sunglasses and a wallet. No bottles of Evian are going to fit in this structured beauty. You’re a no-nonsense, no-frills kind of gal who carries only the essentials.

Backpack: chances are, your guy has asked you more than once to carry whatever he doesn’t want to carry or you’ve dropped way too many $6 soy lattes while trying to juggle your purse, briefcase and phone. Backpacks are for practical, independent types who like to be hands-ready always. Want to pick a rose from the garden? Easy. Need to help your elderly neighbor across the street? No problem. This “handbag” renders you hands-free while offering lots of storage space to make your life more convenient.

Tote bag: This is form meets function at its best. Tote bags are more tailored, more “professional” looking than backpacks and are the woman’s version of a guy’s messenger bag. When people see you carrying a tote bag on your shoulder, they know you mean business. You could have a package of Oreo cookies and a scented candle tucked inside for all they know. All people see is that you’re professional and organized.

Clutch: Sources say that Princess Catherine only carries clutches so she doesn’t have to shake hands with everyone she meets. Who knows if that’s true or just an urban myth? But whatever the case, women who prefer clutches to traditional handbags see them as fashion accessories as opposed to functional stuff-carriers. Most clutches are smaller than a sheet of paper and flat, so the most you could carry is a phone, wallet, keys and maybe a lipstick.

WoC: Wallet on a Chain. This is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a wallet with a chain wrist strap. Now back in the day, cowboys and bikers would have full-size wallets attached to heavy chains that they’d clip to their jeans’ belt loops to keep them safe from theft. Nowadays, WoCs are the minimalist way of carrying your essentials: keys, wallet, phone. That’s pretty much it. Ladies who prefer this style don’t want to be bothered with big, clunky, heavy bags. And they’re the most compact form of a purse. But beware! They’re the most left behind, forgotten “handbags” because they ARE so compact.

So which type are you? Chances are you have many purses, large and small, to fit all your moods and lifestyle needs. And who’s to say you can’t continue that habit? I have WoCs inside my tote bag and clutches inside my backpack. You’ve always got to have special carriers for all your stuff. Then there are seasons, sales, Mary-has-it-so-I-must-have-it-too and so many more reasons to have choices. Don’t stuff them away in a closet, only to use them for special occasions. Embrace them. Use them. Love them.