Handbags are a tricky thing to get right, they’re probably as tricky to choose as a gift as jewellery.
Why?.... Well, have you ever closely examined the contents of your best friends’ bag? Has your other half or friend ever closely described how they like to have the contents of their bag (or ‘life’) arranged? What’s vital enough to make the inner sanctum of every bag? What is transient and therefore reduced to occasional carrying? Do they have a small bag and a tote bag for overflow? Or a huge bit of arm candy that would make Mary Poppins proud?! Do they have one bag for all occasions, or is there a regular decanting of ‘stuff’ into the new bag for the day?
I personally rotate bags every month or so, depending on the season and the amount of crap I have to lug with me. I live in zone 3 of London and frequently go out straight from work, and often need a change of shoes, so I regularly find myself also carrying a backpack and tote bag. (Oh, it’s a hard life for me!)
The 1920s Newport bag
is incredibly tactile and a joy to carry for any special occasion
Think about the lucky recipient you’re buying this bag for. Do you want to get a special occasion bag or clutch? If that’s the case, you need to know their minimum. (Minimum number of essentials one must have about ones person before leaving the house!) For most this is keys, phone, purse, oyster card, perhaps a lippie. Aim for a small style, but not infuriatingly so. It’s so distressing to have a gorgeous little clutch bag that you can’t-quite-fit-every-thing-in-there. (Trust me on this.)
If you’re buying for a busy bee who is rarely without the relevant piece of technology, go slightly bigger. The strap doesn’t need to be cross body, although that's advantageous, but it must be long enough to get over a shoulder at least. (Try it and check. Is the strap a tight fit? What will it be like when wearing a coat?).
So let’s think about this sensibly. You have the bare essentials (keys/phone/purse/oyster)… what else? Think about it. Do we need space for a book or kindle? A paper diary or notebook? Makeup bag and hairbrush? If we add all these things in, we’re around the satchel sort of size mark. A cross-body bag is a great staple and leaves hands free for other things. If you go for this shape and size, I think it’s handy to have a secret pocket, with easy access to the things you want immediate access to. (Like headphones or oyster card.)
And on the subject of technology, what about power supply? Lots of smart phones seem to run out of juice very quickly, so what about a sweet purse that doubles up as a phone charger and clutch bag? Make that bag work smarter, not harder!
This may have just added a whole level of confusion to your bag choices- for which I apologise!- but remember; if you see something and just KNOW they would love it- just get it regardless of the size. Because after all, you can always put a fold-up cotton tote in there too!