A Purse Parade!
10 Purse Styles to Add an Exclamation Mark
to Your Outfits
It’s a purse parade! Really! I have a parade of purses living on my closet shelf. However, they look a bit lifeless and sad because that’s pretty much all they do – sit on the shelf. This collection, the result of some years of purse acquisitions, offers an opportunity to perk up my outfits, to add an exclamation mark to everyday style. In spite of this, I stick to the same purse every day. I will confess that it’s a bit of laziness that keeps me in the same purse for months. Occasionally I switch purses for a specific occasion. But then I go right back to the same everyday purse.
When I see a woman who has obviously put some thought into her look, including an eye-catching purse, I take notice! That purse can be the focal statement piece of an ensemble. It’s an important accessory, not merely a carryall for all our stuff.
I’m going to focus on building a new habit: rotating my purses and styling outfits to include a statement from my bag. I’ve brought out some of my faves in this post and done a bit of casual styling (I’m pretty much always casual!) to test drive the looks. My collection runs the gamut when it comes to styles.
Take a look at the variety below. Maybe you have some purses that are waiting for you to bring them to life.
A note: This was a challenging post to photograph as rain has been the norm for the past few weeks. Even though I prefer to have fun with different photo shoot locations and stay away from my home, the weather on photo shoot day dictated the location, and I ended up sticking around the home front and using my front porch. Oh well. You’ll see one purse below photographed at a different location during a girls’ lunch date on a day we had some breaks in the rain. Apologies for the dull setting.
A Visual Purse Primer
Let’s start with a visual of popular purse styles (thanks to Overstock.com for the nice image). (This post is not sponsored by Overstock nor am I an affiliate of Overstock.com.)
This post is packed with more photos than I typically publish. Each photo features a style of purse with the intent of inspiring some ideas about how you might incorporate different purses into your daily outfits.
A satchel style purse is one of the most popular styles. Satchels typically have wide, flat interiors and double handles. They range in size from small to large (as you can see in these photos). Satchels have a classic, ladylike look that’s a bit reminiscent of a doctor’s bag. Handles are short enough to hold in your hands, but satchels often come with a shoulder strap as well. Use these structured purses to carry day-to-day necessities. Satchel bags easily rest in the crook of your arm; the short straps can be pulled over your shoulder, and the satchel tucks comfortably under your arm.
The satchel style purse works well in a neutral color and the fun, pink color. You can see how much more casual the large satchel appears. The smaller, more structured purse has a very ladylike feel.
The black purse is Coach and the pink is Kate Spade, both purchased the companies’ outlet stores for huge discounts.
The slouchy shape of this bag, still a satchel shape, is super casual. This is a roomy bag with an adjustable strap that works well for hands-free needs when worn cross body. I love pairing the pink purse with the olive utility jacket. The color combination is a little unexpected. The casual jacket style is a match with the unstructured bag. I love this casual pink bag – it was one of my Stitch Fix scores. (Have you tried Stitch Fix yet? It’s a really fun online personal styling service. I’ve loved the surprise of finding a Stitch Fix box on my porch!.)
The hobo is my favorite style. This one is a bit more structured than hobo bags I’ve had in the past. Hobos typically have a crescent shape to the base and a strap that’s not long but still long enough to be able to wear on your shoulder. This purse is from the Joy Susan line of vegan leather. I purchased it on clearance (I love a sale!). I was saving it for spring, but seeing the cream in this photos on a wintery day makes me love it for right now.
The simple bucket shape and the drawstring top of a bucket bag makes is a fun and casual look. Bucket bags come in a variety of sizes, most with a shoulder strap. It offers fun silhouette. Because it has a round shape rather than flat, it’s possible for it to create a less than flattering figure profile because it stands out from the body.
I really love this vintage bag that was gifted to me by a friend. The HCL designer bag with the logo print and the contrast of the black and white elicits comments every time I use it.
Baguette or Barrel Bag
I love this simple style. The feed bag style purse, as its name implies, is inspired by actual livestock feedbags. It has a flat profile and a mid-length strap. The two feed bag purses shown here are very different from each other but still each fall into the feedbag category. The feedbag is a very casual style. The tan bag here is more casual in a textured nylon fabric while the Calvin Klein gray leather purse is more structured and has a dressier look. Both bags purchased on sale (of course!).
The shoulder bag is a long-time popular purse style, maybe because of the long strap that allows hands to be free. Shoulder bags, which often have adjustable straps, can be worn against your hips or waist, although wearing a shoulder bag against your hips may not provide the most flattering profile. This bag is a budget purse that I purchased at Charming Charlie (the fun accessories store). It was really inexpensive, so I don’t expect it to be super sturdy and I save it for those times that I need a fairly roomy purse that I can wear on my shoulder or cross body. I like the contrast of black and tan details – it gives the purse a little personality. This particular shoulder bag can also be considered a larger crossbody purse.
The crossbody purse is a must-have. A crossbody is often a smaller size bag, like this tobacco colored one. But it can also be larger, like the one above, or even the black Coach satchel pictured in the first photo (it has a detachable strap that’s long enough to wear across the body). I have this bag in black also. Since I don’t seem to be able to pare down the number of items I carry in my day-to-day purse, I usually use these smaller crossbody purses when I’m going to a specific event and I can pare down the purse contents. I then don’t have any trouble keeping track of my purse. The crossbody style allows me to know exacly where it is without thinking about it. This cute purse is one of the Joy Susan styles (vegan leather). I bought it online from the clearance section for about $20!
Tote Bag or Shopper
A tote bag (or shopper – a new term for me) is multipurpose. It has a larger capacity than other handbags and may have a heavy-duty design. Tote bags and shoppers are available in several types of materials, often in canvas twill, nylon, or leather, and usually have a square or rectangular shape. Some are open, while others are closable. They always have some sort of handle, which may be long enough to use as a shoulder strap. The tote pictured here is my absolute favorite, must have Longchamps large Le Pilage. I love this bag because it’s foldable and then becomes this roomy, easy-to-carry tote. It’s perfect for travel or shopping trips. It’s more than worth the $145 price tag.
I hope this walk through purse styles has been fun and inspired you to dig into the purses waiting for you in your closet. I’m definitely going to make an effort to start using mine collection for more than shelf decor!