- Shoes & Clothing
- Mother & Child
- Gift Assistant
- Shop with us at Events
- Shop by Appointment
- News & Links
- Contact Us
Meet our new Stylist editor, Imogen Lamport of Bespoke Images - Certified Image Professional and Image Consultant Imogen Lamport, AICI CIP can help you de-clutter your wardrobe, make sense of your personal style, find your best colours and assist you in any way you need to become more confident with your clothes.
Imogen's blog, Inside Out Style, gives free daily style tips and attracts devoted readers from around the world. She teaches retail optometrists about flattering eyeglass frames, and helps recovering cancer patients through the amazing Look Good Feel Better organization. She also trains image consultants at the Absolute Image Training Institute in Melbourne, which she runs with New Zealand business partner, Jan Fisher.
One of my lovely readers Karen sent me this email:
"I do think we can and should each find our own personal style and be comfortable with it. I do not understand the large size that handbags have become. If I carried a currently stylish handbag, it would be 90% empty, and I'm not sure I get the point. Seriously, some of my carry-on luggage pieces are smaller than some handbags.
I like the smaller "organizer" type handbags with shoulder strap, in a nice leather. Zip it open and there is a place for everything. I don't carry anything for my hair, and just one lipstick. Credit cards, cash, small outer pocket for cell phone. Car key and sunglasses fit inside."
By today's standards, my handbag is more of a wallet!
I'm wondering if you can address this large handbag topic, please?
I suppose, regardless of whether I appear to be out of step, I will carry what I feel fits me.
So to answer her question we need to ponder upon a few questions.
What is your body scale?
To get an idea of your body scale, measure around your wrist (in inches) to see where you fit.
Small: 5.5" or less
Medium : 5.5" to 6.5"
Large: 6.5" or more
Now this is just a general guide - it's all about height to weight as well, so if very tall but very slim you may look smaller scale.
The Optical Illusion of Scale
Now, look at this illustration: which centre circle is bigger?
The one on the right - right?
No, they are the same size, it's just an optical illusion. How can we apply this to handbag choice?
If you want to make yourself look smaller, carry a larger handbag, if you want to make yourself look larger, carry a smaller scale handbag, otherwise go with whatever is the scale handbag that suits your body scale as determined earlier.
*Handbag scale by imogenl featuring Michael Kors bags
So the trend for large handbags is because many women want to make themselves look more petite.
The Effect of Personality
You always have to throw personality into the equation, it trumps every 'rule' in the book. So if Karen likes a smaller scale handbag, no matter what her scale, that is what she'll choose to carry. Or if my very petite friend loves an enormous handbag, even though it will dwarf her, she will choose to carry it.
What is important to remember with a handbag, no matter what size, is to choose one that expresses your personality and is a great piece. You wear/carry it every day, so make sure it's good quality and adds to your overall look, rather than carrying something old and beaten up that detracts from your image.
What size handbag do you prefer?
Today’s handbag has become a ‘fashion necessary’ to finish a great outfit.
Handbags have become an integral part of a woman’s wardrobe and to complement your wardrobe, a woman should have at least three different styles - a bag to cover every occasion.
1. The large practical handbag – need for a larger handbag, especially for work or travel – the tote bag for the look of the moment.
2. A medium sized versatile bag – suitable for everyday use taking you from business environment to an urban setting - Hobo shoulder bag
3. The all important Clutch for the evening occasions. The current trend in bag shapes.
Accessories always help give any fashion ensemble the look of the moment. Volume, or lack of it, can create new looks and new silhouettes.
Correct proportion - EVERYTHING you wear should be proportionate to your body size and stature. Proportions are extremely important in fashion for clothes and are equally important for handbags. The correct bag can actually make you look thinner!
Broad women should think about longer shaped bags - creating a longer silhouette of the body, balancing out your width. Consider a north/south handbag or even something a little narrower.
For the Willowy frame add a bit of volume with a wider and fuller bag. The width of the bag will counteract the narrowness of your frame.
The east/west shape.
Taller & mature figure- shy away from tiny bags that get lost and will only tend to make you look larger. Carry a clutch but opt for a larger style clutch. Handbag designers have recently expanded the options by making clutches of all sizes and oversized ones are the look this season.
Petite, smaller frame & shorter womenshould favor a smaller bag. A large or oversized handbag will only swallow up & emphasize your size.
|The Baguette: It usually has a short shoulder strap and is of small to medium size.
|The Birkin Bag:A bigger, easier-to-handle bag in which to carry your many things. Today to be seen carrying an oversized bag is the height of celeb cred.
|The Clutch Purse: The go anywhere rectangular evening bag designed to be held or tucked underneath the arm.
The clutch bag has become just as versatile for daytime as eveningwear and oversized clutches are now hitting the runways in line with today’s current trend for big bags.
|The Hobo: A soft, slouchy (usually crescent shaped) shoulder bag.
|The Kelly Bag: named after Hollywood movie star and Princess of Monaco, Grace Kelly. It’s smart, leather; tailored shape is reminiscent of a briefcase or document case and is a sophisticated, classic style.
|The Messenger: This large, usually soft shoulder bag is based on the traditional messenger bags that couriers or postmen carry. Very fashionable.
|The Saddle Bag: Based on the shape of a horse's saddle, this shoulder bag with a long front flap is a practical hold-all for everyday use.
|The Satchel: A hard framed, handheld handbag reminiscent of a school satchel, some have a shoulder strap.
|The Tote: One of the staples of any woman’s wardrobe. The tote bag has a large open top with two straps or handles, very popular for the beach and casual wear. Tote bags can be colorful, in all manner of fabrics or classic leather for business or more versatile everyday wear.
||Pyramid Handbag Shapes: Try a frame bag which is neat and shapely, rather than loose and undisciplined. For summer 2008/09 adds a neat, pyramid style bag to your collection. When shopping in a crowded city, an underarm bag firmly closed and tucked between arm and body, seems more under personal control than a loose long handle shoulder bag, that floats about more freely.
|Puffy Bags: Puffy bags follow a similar line to dome bags and the similarity in proportion is important. Totes all have related elements. There is also a trend for inset loop grab handles in self fabric or metal tubing.
|Summer Holiday Bags: Capacious bags for summer holidays set the mood for sunny days ahead. A reverse dome bag makes a great basket style for carefree summer days. Easily add a scarf in a color of your own choice to add to the look.|
The swiftest way to update your fashion wardrobe is to splash out on the latest 'it' handbag. In the past season, several 'it factors' have emerged rather than an 'it bag brand' of note.
Hot Bag Tips
1. For all styles, you can see texture and pattern in bag materials.
2. Smaller bags have returned - especially as clutch bag accessories, often with a wristlet loop.
3. The colour for bags is bold and bright as well as soft and pretty. Every colour is available.
This year, woven along with both croc and ostrich textures have proved popular for the fashion designs to be a ‘must-have’ bag.
In spring summer it's not just metallic, crocodile, lizard, snake skin or other animal style materials that are available. Bags are made from a wide range of abstract and floral prints, soft lightweight fabrics, tribal dyed textiles, wood, raffia and bead encrustation. Shiny patent leather is also a look that glistens.
# Hot Tip - On the up - smaller bags and clutches.
Invest now in the clutch bag – the ‘fashionable necessary’ new bag trend for Spring and Summer. Any clutch bag, large or small is fashionable, but the clutch shape heralds the way to the purchase of other smaller bags.
The clutch bag accessory comes in any size and is a great way to work toward downsizing your bags. Easily remove the small clutch / wristlet (much like a money purse wallet) from a larger tote bag and ease yourself into using smaller handbags.
If you are using accessories to update your fashion image this summer, then add either the clutch or smaller handbag. Add some sandals and a narrow skinny belt to complete the spring summer edge look.
There have not been so many different coloured bags to be bought since the fashion trends of the 80’s era. Check out the full array: Pinks | Magenta Purple Mauve | Dark Indigo Iris Blues | Greens | Yellow Gold Tones.