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What Should I Consider When Buying a Handbag?

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  • Written By: A Kaminsky
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 05 December 2016
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Clutches, satchels, hobos, buckets, shoulders, slings: all are names for different types of handbags. When a woman is looking for a handbag, she is looking for that perfect accessory that will hold her necessities (or what she considers necessities). Every woman is unique in her tastes and needs, and the handbag market reflects this.

One of the first things to consider when buying a handbag is need. What does a woman need the handbag to do? Is she looking for an everyday handbag to carry to work, something small for an evening out, or a luxurious formal bag for a party or gala? These needs will often determine size and composition. An evening handbag, for example, may be a tiny clutch with no straps, or a small shoulder bag, perhaps made from satin or velvet, possibly with a jewel clasp. The evening bag is meant to go well with an evening gown or suit, without looking out of place.

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Most women will choose their handbags for everyday use, such as to carry to work or to school. Some women prefer large bags that will hold everything from their lunch to their gym clothes, while other women like a smaller bag, suitable for a cell phone, keys, sunglasses, a tissue and wallet. As “wallet purses” have become popular, even a separate wallet is unnecessary. Many handbags have a zip compartment with credit card slots, ID windows and a change pocket. These negate the need for a separate wallet.

Organizer handbags have also seen a recent upsurge in popularity. These handbags have a place for everything. Anything a woman wants to carry in her handbag can find a place in organizer handbags. Pockets, slots, compartments -- they’re all in the organizer.

Satchel handbags are usually wider than they are tall and have short handles, perhaps with shoulder straps. They are often carried in the hands, but with a shoulder strap, can be carried in that way. Hobos tend to have inwardly curved tops and may have handles or straps. Buckets are usually tall and more narrow, often wider at the top than at the bottom. They usually have handles rather than shoulder straps.

One of the best ways to choose handbags is simply to pick them up, open them up, look through them, and hold them as you would your current handbag. Is it comfortable? Is there a pocket or compartment for those things you carry most often? Is the pocket accessible?

Handbags may also be made of a variety of materials and this can widely influence price. Leather bags, not surprisingly, are usually the most expensive. However, handbags can be made from vinyl, PVC, cloth, straw or even plastic. The material will also be a determining factor in the buying process. Some women want a leather look. Others prefer cloth or straw.

Handbags can be priced from $9.99 US Dollars to the thousands for a designer bag like Prada or Hermes. One advantage of the cheaper handbags is that a woman can buy one that is cute and trendy, for a small price, which makes it easy to give up when the handbag goes out of style. Many women prefer to spend their big bucks on a classic handbag that will last for many years.

Handbags are as individual as the women carrying them and should be purchased as accessories as well as necessities. Their style, material, features and price will all be factors in their purchase. Most women, however, find them indispensable.

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