I'm a self-proclaimed purse addict. I simply cannot go into a store and not look at (and usually buy) a handbag. At one point, I had over 100 bags. I've cut back a bit, but honestly purses are my ultimate weakness. My boyfriend is not impressed.
If you're not crazy like me, you probably don't give handbags the same scrutiny you give a pair of jeans, or a dress: if a handbag is cute or fits your lifestyle then it works.
But did you know that a handbag can flatter your shape almost as much as the right outfit?
A few easy steps when buying a purse can not only knock off pounds visually (for real!)-- it'll polish up your style in a flash.
If you are trying to play down a body type, choose a shape that is the opposite of your body silhouette. For example, if you are very tall and thin, you can add a slouchy, rounded hobo bag to add some curves to your figure (va va voom!). If you're short and voluptuous, play off opposites by choosing a handbag that is tall and rectangular or long and sleek (like a cute clutch).
Another thing I've noticed is that there are oodles of different handbag shapes and terminology. It can be confusing and overwhelming.
Here are the basics:
- Tote - An open-top bag with straps or handles.
- Hobo bag - A crescent-shaped shoulder bag. This style is often soft and slouchy.
- Duffle - Tall shoulder bag, often with a wider opening on top.
- Field bag - A flap-top shoulder bag with utility-type closure.
- Clutch - A small, handheld bag or a larger, geometric shape that is tucked under the arm or carried in your hand.
- Satchel- A large, handheld bag. Most satchels are structured.
- Baguette - Long and rounded shoulder bag resembling the namesake bread.
- Messenger - A large, soft shoulder bag with long straps (usually worn across the body).
- Cigar Box - A small, boxy, hard bag.
- Pouch - A soft, small bag.
- Crossbody bag - A bag -- often smaller in size -- that is worn across the body at an angle.
Will the right bag make you look thinner? Not exactly, but it can flatter your shape. While the shape should oppose your body type for maximum flattery, the size of the bag should also be in proportion to your figure.
Think scale here: a woman who is 6 feet tall and a size 14 would look lost with a teensy little hand-held bag. A petite size 0 would look overwhelmed by an enormous slouchy bag (even though I'm quite guilty of this offense).
A shoulder bag's length (where the bottom of the bag hits your body) will accentuate whatever part of the body it comes near. For example, a shoulder bag that ends around the hips will play up your hip width because the eye is immediately drawn to the bag. Keep this in mind.
So, when shopping for a new bag, take the time in the store to try on handbags in front of a mirror just like you would for clothing. It'll pay off--promise!