Picking the right bag can be tricky. Here’s a guide to help you out
If shoes maketh a man, a handbag maketh the modern woman’, said a famous fashion professional once and her words turned out to be prophetic in the years that followed. Today, a woman’s handbag is the index of her personality and her mood. So whether you sport a Chanel flap bag, a Ralph Lauren Ricky bag, a Miranda crocodile tote or the iconic Kelly bag, you are declaring your unique status, style and persona to the world. This would perhaps explain why a handbag is now considered an investment, rather than an accessory.
There was a time not so long ago, when trend-setters tried to figure out a woman’s personality going by her choice of handbag. Those who carried large, roomy bucket bags that could hold everything from a box of cookies to endless strips of Band-aid were described as mother hens who were prepared for any eventuality. Women who preferred tiny handbags that could barely hold a lipstick and a phone were described as minimalist and carefree.
These distinctions have long since disappeared as women began to buy several handbags that they would use at different times of the day. In my opinion, each handbag also has a special personality that it lends to its owner. An ornate clutch, for instance, would lend a stylish edge to one’s attire while a yellow handbag that clashes with a blue dress would add a playful note to one’s persona.
Choosing a handbag, therefore is not as easy as it looks. It is important to collect pieces that can add a new dimension to your personality. I spoke to the very stylish Vithika Agarwal, Miss India-Asia Pacific, 1998 who owns several beautiful handbags, about her views on this important accessory.
“A handbag is a very big part of a woman’s wardrobe,” begins Vithika. “Men carry only wallets but we carry handbags that can make a fashion statement.” Vithika believes a handbag reflects both the mood and the many facets of a woman’s personality. “For instance, when I see a woman sporting a designer bag, it tells me that she likes the finer things of life,” she explains. “On the other hand, youngsters who carry crochet bags or tiny bags that can hold almost nothing, project that they are young at heart and in spirit.”
Though she owns handbags from Louis Vuitton and Prada to Michael Kors and Coach, she loves her high street buys just as much.“While choosing a handbag, remember that size always matters,” she says. A good handbag must flatter your body. For example, if you are short, it is best to choose sharply angled bags and if you are taller, you could buy rounder shapes.
“Always invest in the classics first,” advises Vithika. “Make sure you have black, white and beige classic handbags and a gold clutch in your wardrobe. Then you can begin to experiment with other shapes, sizes, prints and colours.”
Vithika says the best aspect of the fashion scene today is the fact that you can create your own style statement. Buying the right handbag is the first step towards re-creating your personality. “But remember, don’t buy handbags on a whim. If you are going to buy a really exclusive handbag, make sure that it is a timeless classic that will last a lifetime.”
Asha Chowdary presents a column on what’s trending in the world of fashion.