About the Guide
Handbag Guide
Handbag Fit Guide
Handbag Glossary
Women’s Shoes Guide
Women’s Shoes Fit Guide
Women’s Shoes Glossary
Accessories Fit Guide

Handbag Guide

Handbags, of course, carry your essentials, but they also serve another purpose. Handbags are the easiest way to incorporate the latest trends into your wardrobe, look put-together and show off your personality. As in all fashion, there are style Dos and Don'ts when selecting handbags ideal for your body type, the occasion and your needs. This handbag guide describes different handbag styles and explains how body type and handbag size, shape and length can be used to accentuate your favorite features and mask others. This handbag guide also includes helpful buying tips, so you can buy your new handbags with confidence!

Handbag Styles

Tote Bags
Hobo Handbags
Shoulder Bag
Evening Handbags
Crossbody Handbags
Weekender Bags
Drawstring Handbags

Everyday Handbag Suggestions by Body Type

How to choose everyday handbags that flatter your body type, accentuate your favorite features and downplay
your not-so-favorite ones.
Handbags for an Inverted Triangle Body Type
Waist and hips are smaller than shoulders
• Handbags with long straps will attract attention to the smallest part of the body
• Try crossbody handbags, hobo handbags, shoulder handbags
Handbags for a Triangle Body Type
Waist and rear are wider than shoulders
• Handbags that fall between the natural waist and hips will make shoulders
appear broader and will help balance a figure
• Try satchel handbags
Handbags for a Rectangle Body Type
Waist, shoulders and hips are the same size
• Handbags that fall at the natural waist add slight curves to a long and lean body type
• The handbag should not fall past the hips
• Try satchel handbags and hobo handbags
Handbags for an Hourglass Body Type
Hips and shoulders are balanced and waistline is well-defined
• Any handbag shape works well with this body type, but keep size proportionate
• Try tote handbags, satchel handbags, hobo handbags, crossbody handbags, shoulder handbags
Handbags for an Apple Body Type
Shoulders and thighs are narrower than bust and waist
• Create balance by wearing wider handbags with structure
• Women with large busts may want to avoid shoulder bags and messenger bags,
which make chests more pronounced
• Try tote handbags

Tips on Handbag Size, Shape & Length

The size, shape and length of a handbag will determine how a person looks wearing it. Here are some fashion
rules on which dimensions will work for you.
• The size of handbag should be proportionate to the person’s body type
• Short and petite women appear taller with small handbags and shorter with large handbags
• Tall and slim women appear larger with small handbags and look best with midsize, large and oversized styles.
• The shape of a handbag should be opposite of the person’s body type
• Short women look taller carrying a long rectangular handbag
• Slim and tall women benefit from a round handbag
• The length of a handbag – where the bottom hits the body – emphasizes that area
• Short handbags make busts appear larger, so choose styles with longer straps to avert attention
• Most women look good wearing handbags that hang to the mid-torso

General Handbag Tips

Don't forget about comfort and practicality. Yes, handbags are the easiest way to make a fashion statement, but they also have to carry your personal items. Think about size, compartments, and how long you will be holding or wearing the handbag.
Handbags are a great way to complement an outfit. Use statement pieces in seasonal colors to add extra pop and handbags in go-to neutrals (like white, cream, brown, black or metallics) to carry alongside busier ensembles.
Consider the occasion when selecting a handbag. Size, structure, material and colors will help define the handbag's formality. For example, a satin clutch is perfect for a cocktail party but most often is too formal for work.
Be detail oriented. Handbags with many rhinestones, zippers, buttons and embellishments steal the spotlight, so don't wear them with clothes that compete for attention.
Consider closures, as some styles offer more security than others.
When buying an everyday handbag, pick one made in a durable material to withstand wear and tear.
A simple way to look put-together is to follow the classic rule of matching a handbag, shoes and belt. For a modern look, wear mismatched but coordinated accessories that are of the same formality.
A well-rounded handbag collection includes at least a large weekender bag, a medium-sized handbag for everyday use and evening handbag.
Regularly remove unnecessary items that weigh your handbag down.
Tote Bags
  • They are: an open-top square or rectangle handbag with straps or handles
  • Typically large and made of durable material, compartments optional
  • Also called a shopper; Use as an airplane carry-on, shopping bag or gym bag
  • Tote bags are large and make people look smaller in comparison
Hobo Handbags
  • They are: casual and practical crescent-shaped shoulder handbag
  • Medium and large sizes in boho prints are most popular
  • Commonly made of soft, slouchy material, such as leather, suede or micro-fiber
  • Small and structured hobo handbags exist, but are less common
  • They are: hand-held handbags with two short handles on top and flat bottoms
  • Satchel handbags can have snap, buckle, zipper or drawstring closures
  • Classic, practical and come in variety of sizes
Shoulder Handbags
  • They are: one of the most popular styles, has multiple compartments and is carried over the shoulder and hangs down to hips or as high as the natural waist
  • Made of cotton, canvas, leather, suede or other material durable enough to withstand everyday use
  • Big shoulder handbags are on-trend, but choose a size proportionate to your body
  • Are not appropriate for formalwear unless the strap and bag are delicate and dressy
  • They are: compact, strapless handbags carried by hand or under the arm
  • Only room for the necessary essentials and compartments keep belongs organized
  • Embellishments, crystals, sequins, metallics, and delicate materials make clutches perfect for eveningwear attire
  • Can be used as wallets for everyday use
Evening Handbags
  • They are: small handbags for formal functions and special occasions, designed to only carry essentials
  • Usually include delicate details like sequins, beads, rhinestones, metalwork, fringe, lace, and exotic fabrics and materials
  • Evening handbags can be clutches or wristlets in soft or structured material
  • Wristlets have straps large enough to dangle from your wrist (tuck in the strap to make a clutch)
Crossbody Handbags
  • They are: shoulder handbags with a long strap worn across the body that distributes weight between the shoulder and back
  • Crossbody handbags are usually medium or large and very casual, but can be made of luxurious materials
  • Hands-free design that keeps possessions close and secure - perfect for travelers, shoppers and commuters
  • Also called a messenger bag
Weekender Bags
  • They are: handbags large enough to carry a change of clothes and toiletries
  • Pack for trips to the beach or overnighters
  • Should be big, but not overwhelming, with ample pockets
  • Weekender bags are made of durable materials to support heavy belongings
Drawstring Handbags
  • They are: handbags with a top closures secured by tightening a cord laced through eyelets
  • Drawstring handbags are typically a casual look
  • This handbag style can be office-appropriate when made of leather, suede or luxury material
  • Wallets are sold with handbags because they must be the right size and shape to fit inside.
  • Learn more about wallets styles and tips in the accessories guide