If you’ve been shopping for purses without purpose, it’s time to start buying bags that suit your body type and your career. Everything you wear should be tailored to your shape to achieve the most flattering look possible and not every purse works for every career type. See tips below.
Cassandra Connors, director and founder of Bella Bag, an online shopping portal of designer handbags, highlights how to choose the best purse or bag for your body type and career.
“Just like any other article of clothing, a handbag can act as a major accent to your body type and is the first thing noticed when walking into a meeting,” she says. “Your signature style of bag can either over or underwhelm your appearance, or conversely, can balance out your frame with its shape and reflect who you are as a professional.” “Usually I think that wearing a bag the opposite shape of your body provides that balance and remember, your bag is working for you every day,” she explains.
For curvy women, Connors recommends opting for a purse with more structure. She suggests something boxy like a Kelly-style bag or a doctor’s satchel. “This is going to provide some great, sharp lines to coordinate with your body shape,” she explains.
Believe it or not, petite women can definitely carry over-sized bags, Connors tells us. “I would simply not recommend a cross-body or sling bag. This will be too much for their shape,” she adds. Instead, try a mid-hanging hobo bag that comes right to your elbow. “This will be large enough to carry everything you need and yet will look very balanced on a smaller frame.”
For a tall woman, a tote bag is a great option. It will accentuate long lean arms as you carry the tote in hand, Connors explains. “Choose one with a nice rounded shape or shimmering textures to give some contrast to a tall and possibly straight shape.”
Anyone who is slim and trim looks great with a cross-body purse, says Connors. “Cross-body bags are perfect for thin types because it won’t matter that they will add a little bit of extra bulk around the hips or thighs.”
Try a bag without much structure if you’re plus sized. A slouchy hobo purse or thin canvas tote bag are both good options, Connors advises. “These thin and slim bags will lie loosely and lightly against your body without adding bulk,” she says. “Be sure you pick one with lots of accents on the handles and hardware though. You don’t want to trade in quality or style!”
“The number one look I would avoid as a professional and anyone’s body type is the cross-body or messenger bag,” says Connors. “I see so many women wearing laptop bags that are messenger bags, and I think this looks terrible and sloppy.” She also advises against any bag that is a slouchy or canvas messenger-bag style. “There is no structure to these bags and it can lead to a messy look. That messy look may indirectly point to a messy persona, which of course, may not be the case at all.”
The arts (fashion/visual arts/graphic design) – Try a great over-sized portfolio that zips all the way around. You can tuck that into a larger tote or carry it sleekly under your arm.
PR, advertising/marketing – For those in the PR field, Connors would choose a signature everyday tote — one that has multiple compartments and different sections inside.
Lawyer – Go classic. Nothing says ‘pulled together’ like a Chanel over-sized briefcase in the courtroom.
Publishing – Be creative. Opt for a large doctor’s satchel that has a flat bottom where you can layer in manuscripts and documents for reading later.
Executive – Carry a bag that represents your style and can carry anything you need with you. A big shopper like a Hermes Birkin at 40 centimeters is large enough to carry everyday items, but also structured enough to take your work home with you when necessary.
Medical professional – Get practical. As someone who is on the go with patients, you want to choose a good price point and a bag that can stand up to wear and tear. The Marc Jacobs Venetia Tote is a practical zip around style ‘doctor’ bag with room for daily essentials including portable spirometer and the structure that says ‘pro’ all the way.