How to Handle Your Handbag

Woman with Handbag

Women spend a good amount of time deciding what handbag to purchase based on hopes and previous experience.  Choosing the right bag isn’t a trivial affair.  Not only are you searching for the right look, your new bag needs to be functional for you.  

These days, we go from business meetings, to more casual settings, to formal settings.  Sometimes all in the same day!  Having a bag that transfers through situations is important.    

What isn't always considered, however, is that having the right handbag is part of the impression you make and leave with others.  A handbag is not only an accessory, it is an appendage.  Impressions of you form within a few seconds, and your handbag choice is a part of that impression formation.

But there is more to carrying a handbag than the way it looks and functions.  How you handle your handbag says a lot about you.  Not only your personality, but also your good manners.

Make the Right Choice

Part of how you handle your handbag has to do with carrying the right bag.  Staying in the mid-size range with a neutral color suits most people because these are usually the most versatile bags.  They aren't too cumbersome, are able to contain everything you need, and blend easily with your wardrobe.

However, there are times when a laptop is necessary for a business meeting.  Then, perhaps you are seeing friends after work, for which you won't need a computer bag.  One solution is to carry a small bag in your computer bag along with files and personal items.  Or, you might leave your smaller bag in the trunk of your car and switch out as you leave work for the evening.

It is not in your best interest to carry more than one bag throughout the day.  You appear overloaded and unorganized.  And there is always the danger of leaving one of your bags behind.

Plan your day ahead of time so you know what items are necessary and that you have the appropriate method of transporting them.

Where Does Your Bag Sit?

When you sit down, do you know where to place your bag?  I recently had the opportunity to attend a meeting in the office of a government official.  I sat on a long couch to the left of his desk.  At first, I placed my bag right at the edge of my feet on the floor as I didn’t know who else would be sitting on the couch and I didn’t want to take up space on the sofa. 

As a few people walked in front of me and the official greeted others of us on that side of the room walking from his desk, my handbag could have been in the way.  I finally did what I should have done right away, and that was to place my bag on the couch behind me at the base of my back.  Luckily, I made the switch in time and my bag (hopefully) was unnoticed.

Placing your bag behind you is most appropriate in public places.  In restaurants, you may sit your bag in an empty chair at the table or, if it is small enough, in your lap.  If you can comfortably place a napkin over it while you dine, it is small enough for this method.

Avoid placing your bag:

  • On a table
  • On the back of a chair
  • On the floor if at all possible

Any of these places put your bag front and center, could be unsanitary, and makes it vulnerable to a thief.  And it really is a bit off-putting to see a gaping handbag sitting somewhere - mostly because it's hard to resist taking a peek inside!

You can watch some very good tips on how to handle your handbag here.

In a Crowd

Walking or standing in a crowd requires mindfulness even when unencumbered.  When you are carrying a bag, try and be especially aware of others. 

Avoid putting your bag over your shoulder if it is a large bag.  While this may be most convenient for you, your bag is likely to hit someone.  Think of the times you've seen someone walk through a crowded restaurant hitting a diner or two with the bottom of the handbag on her shoulder. 

In crowded situations, hold your bag in your hand.  You may need to hold it in front of you at times as well.  The point is to be aware of your surroundings and show mindfulness to others.

Handle Your Handbag with Care

As with most possessions, handbags are easier to keep control of when you have fewer of them.  Choosing a versatile one that you use most days is wise.  This also helps avoid those uncomfortable moments of "Oh!  I left that in my other purse!"

Using the same bag often also requires that you take good care of it.  After all, it is part of your self-presentation.

Avoid carrying soiled, spotted, or ink-marked bags.  Casual and natural, yes, but unkempt or unclean, no. 

Keep the inside of your bag tidy and orderly as well.  Create a system for using the interior pockets so you can get your hands on a pen, credit card, or your phone at a second's notice.  This is just one more way to present yourself as organized and on-point!

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