The Essential Handbag Edit

Some women carefully curate and collect them, while others consider them nothing more than a means to an end. No matter what her purse preferences are, a handbag is an inevitable component of any ensemble and should compliment not only her look but also her life.

Characterized by equal parts fashion and function are the handbags I consider essential to any collection that qualifies as complete.

# 1 The Daytime Carry-All Shoulder Bag

Key Characteristics: Spacious, Neutral, Easy-to-Carry.

Most commonly the tote or the slightly smaller hobo, this is the handbag that can carry “all the things,” goes with pretty much anything.

#2 The Daytime, Hands-Free Handbag

The Weekend Warrior (and Frequent Flyer)

The daytime cross-body  is spacious enough to carry all the kid things while keeping hands free to hold little human ones.

The freedom to touch, taste, try on, and put-together, makes the cross-body an essential shopping companion and top-tier travel choice.

#3 The Timeless Top-Handle

Pair it with your most polished and put-together looks.

Lovely, ladylike, delicate, and dignified, a neutral satchel, aka top handle handbag, is the “plus one” to your baby showers, baptisms, birthday brunches, and boss-lady corporate commitments.

#4 The Chic Shoulder Bag

From dressed-up denim to cocktail couture, the classic shoulder bag is always ready for a party and ensures you always celebrate in style!

If you are to make just one handbag investment this lifetime, the Chic Shoulder Bag is it! 

This is the category of icons and classics; the Hermes Constance, the YSL LouLou, and any version of Chanel’s quilted leather shoulder bag. If chosen correctly, it will become an heirloom. 

To get the most value from designer handbags, I offer guidance in the form of three words to live by The-Real-Real . The Real Real is also your best bet for bags such as the Constance, which have a waiting list and are basically impossible to purchase new.

#5 The Pop of Color Purse

For your most minimalist outfit choices, a pop-of-color purse is a fun and fabulous finish!

Go bold with a bright red, green, yellow, or even a print, and never tire of wearing neutrals and basics!

#6 The Dressy Daumiére (the Evening Clutch)

When it comes to formalwear, I diversify. A new dress is part of the appeal, “different than the last one I wore, is kind of the point, and “I need a new bag” is par for the course. As such, I stay away from investment pieces here and highly recommend Etsy for exquisite and affordable evening bags.

For those looking for a one-style-fits-most solution, I have two effective sets of criteria:

Option 1: A simple nude or black number. Bonus-this handbag can easily complement more casual evening ensembles as well.

Option 2: “Mix the metal” (as in, the tones). Particularly befitting minimalist evening style, a handbag that can compliment both gold and silver has you covered regardless of the accessory situation.

First Class Traveler

Not to be confused with a carry-on or the purse you use while exploring your new destination (the cross-body wins here), the travel purse is small enough to fit under the seat in front of you and large enough to hold everything that one might need easy access to at any point in their travel to or from experience.

While the contents inside my travel purse will vary, the criteria are fixed and finite.

1. Spacious

2. Durable (virtually indestructible)

3. Fit under the seat in front of me

4. Have secure closing capabilities.

My number one travel purse rec is the classic canvas Longchamp Le Pliage. My first travel companion handbag and still my travel companion handbag, I cannot offer any alternatives!

Want to see what I am admiring, wearing, and coveting
between my monthly Altima Palm Beach posts?

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