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home>>beauty & fashion>>accessories>>Tote Couture

Tote Couture

by: A.Charlotte Riley

Handbags, purses, totes, clutches, shoulder bags - I don't care what you call them, I love them all. I am a handbag addict. I have them in a countless array of styles and colors.

Trends come and go, but "tote couture" remains. True handbag fashion is timeless. It is not about seasonal fads, but about creating a personal style and reflecting your good taste. A good purse will last not only for this season, but also for years to come. This means investing in quality bags, taking care of your purses and totes, and shopping for styles that work best for you.

Here are a few simple rules:

The Person-To-Bag Ratio

Do not carry a bag that overwhelms your body size. Petite women should not be lugging around oversized bags that slap their thighs because they hang too low from the shoulder. Not only does it look bad, but can be harmful to your lower back if your bag is too big and too heavy for your frame. Conversely, tall women look silly with a wrist purse. Shop according with proportion in mind.

Summertime is Fun Time!

Enjoy your summer and be more playful with your purse selection. Invest in straw bags, brighter colors, clutch purses with retro designs or a Pucci pattern shoulder bag. Generally speaking, summertime purses are less expensive and so it is easier to experiment with a variety of styles and colors. Find bags that complement particular outfits.

Quality Is In the Details

Before screaming, "I love it - it must be MINE!" and running to the cashier with credit card in hand, take a good look at the bag. Examine the lining to make sure it fits properly and isn't too loose. Be sure the clasp or closure of the bag works properly and looks solidly made. Inspect the stitching and see if there is any fraying or other sign of poor quality.

The Care and Feeding Of Your Purse

Just as leather and suede shoes need a little TLC, so do leather and suede bags. Purchase products to help keep the leather soft, supple and lustrous and apply them several times a year. Remove any stains on fabric bags with warm water and a mild detergent. Rub in a circular motion, and never, ever scrub at the fabric. Check the maintenance instructions that come with your new purse and follow them.

Choose Your Bag According To the Occasion

Are you going to an evening gala? The beach? To a little café to meet some friends? Is the bag for work? All of these situations require a different purse to suit different needs. A hobo-style bag is too unstructured for a formal event such as an evening gala. A better option is a clutch or wrist bag, with beading, a luxurious fabric, or an eye-catching color to accent your little black dress. Despite the popular trend toward casual office attire, a student-style knapsack is inappropriate corporate attire. Women should look at other options such as a Kelly bag, a supple leather school bag, a structured messenger bag or even a large leather tote.

Mixing and Matching

Should you choose your everyday black handbag, or go for your new aqua Mulberry Roxy bag? It may sound simple, but it really depends on what you are wearing and how you feel. At one time, it was de rigueur to match your handbag and your shoes. Over the years that rule has become less important. Nowadays, handbag fashion is more about creating a look. Consider the color of your outfit, and choose a handbag that accents it. If your look is monochromatic grey, you might want to consider something that will make your outfit pop, like fashionista pink. However, if you are wearing a highly patterned dress, consider a simple cigar box purse, pulling one of the colors from your dress.

Style - It's in the Bag

Attention shoppers: Get out there and express your personal style and attitude through one of the most fashionable accessories on the market, the handbag. When shopping for your new bestfriend consider your lifestyle, your body type, your wardrobe and the quality of the goods, but most of all have fun and look fabulous, darlings!

Copyright: A. Charlotte Riley 2004

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About The Author
Anne Charlotte Riley is a marketing and online content writer, editor and SEO expert. She acts as an advocate for correct apostrophe usage, produces insightful Web analyses and makes a mean coq au vin. Loves include photography, pop culture and handbags. Visit: http://www.acriley.com
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