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Buying Purses

A purse is not only an accessory; it's a cross-section for whatever's happening in your life. It holds car keys, water bottles, extra clothing and kids' toys.A bag serves as a catch-all for everything you need on the go, so you want a purse that will hold up and stay fashionable over the years. Understanding the different styles and materials of purses will help you find one that will be a tried-and-true companion.



Types of Purses


Tote bags are large, two-handled bags that have an open top and generally one main compartment.

  • Spacious - Between the book your reading, your laptop and an after lunch snack, space can fill up quickly. Totes are built to maximize carrying space so you don't have to carry anything in hand.

Types of Purses


Tote bags are large, two-handled bags that have an open top and generally one main compartment.



Tote bags are best for...

Office workers on the go: The checklist of items you need throughout the workday is always getting longer. Tote bags offer plenty of space for lipstick, eReaders, phones, water bottles and more.


Beach bums: Casual cotton or canvas tote bags are perfect for stuffing in beach towels or snacks for the kids.


Anyone who likes to be prepared: Whether you get hungry well before lunch hour or don't want to get caught in the rain, a tote bag allows you to carry all the necessities for unexpected circumstances.





Hobo Bags

Hobo bags are slouchy shoulder bags that feature a scooped center and long shoulder strap.



Hobo bags are best for...

Free spirits: This type of purse's slouchy shape is often associated with a bohemian style and may feature fringe or bright patterns.


Weekend warriors: Whether you're headed out to brunch or dinner and a movie, the hobo bag's generous size and casual style will hold everything you need for a Saturday on the town.


Fashionistas: Hobo bags can be sleek and trendy as well as laid-back and breezy. Hobos in black or other neutral colors look effortlessly cool when paired with heels and skinny jeans.





Shoulder Bags

Any handbag with a long strap that lets you carry it on your shoulder is a shoulder bag.



Shoulder bags are best for...

Working women: Shoulder bags are versatile purses that can be dressed up or down. Plus, they're typically large enough to hold all of your essentials without looking bulky.

Transitioning from day to night: Because it can look both practical and chic, a shoulder bag transitions easily from daytime to evening, giving you the functionality of two bags in one.

Cross-Body Bag

A small-to-medium sized bag, a cross-body bag is worn across the body to keep your hands free and is versatile for men or women.




Cross-body bags are best for...

Students: Between running to class and meeting friends for coffee, students can keep their hands free with a cross-body bag. Messenger-style cross-body bags are great for holding papers and notebooks.


Parents: You'll always be ready to wrangle the kids when wearing a cross-body bag. If you've ever watched a toddler careen through the park, you know how important it is for parents to be able to use their hands.


Busy commuters: If you keep a cup of coffee in your hand during your morning commute, a cross-body purse enables you to have another hand free for holding onto the subway car railing.








Satchel bags have a top closure, top carry handle and flat bottom.



Satchels are best for...

Men: Of all the purse shapes available, the most conventional style for men is the satchel. Many satchels can be worn as cross-body bags and feature a flap closure for easy access.

Business people: The classic shape of the satchel allows it to pair well with a tailored suit. In addition, the structured bottom keeps a satchel from falling over or wrinkling when it's put down.


Clutch bags are small, rectangular bags that do not have handles or straps and are clutched in the hand.


Clutches are best for...

Party-goers: Clutches don't hold much, so they're best for special soirees where you'll only need a wallet and a tube of lipstick. Go glamorous with a sparkly clutch or dressy casual with a leather clutch.


Prom or Homecoming dances: A clutch handbag makes a chic addition to a formal dress and can even add extra shine with details such as ribbons, tassels, beads or hardware.


Theater-goers: A night on the town feels extra special with a sassy clutch to hold essentials such as cab fare, your cell phone and make-up for touching up between acts.






Features to consider when buying a purse


  • Large purses such as tote bags can fit everything from gym clothes to your lunch
  • Medium-sized bags are a great option if you want to carry a lot but still be able to find items without digging through your purse
  • Small clutches hold just the essentials for a night out without stealing attention from a killer outfit




  • The right shape of a purse can be a perfect complement to your body type, from small bags for petite women to boxy bags that balance out your curves
  • Straps should be comfortable and convenient for your lifestyle, whether they fit over your shoulder or across the body




  • Leather purses are usually the best quality and the longest lasting
  • Canvas is a heavyweight material that can withstand daily use and be easily cleaned
  • Nylon is a manmade material that is both durable and water-resistant
  • Synthetic or cotton handbags are affordable, and some can be thrown in the washing machine
  • Metal feet on the bottom of a purse keep it clean and prevent it from falling over when it's set down



Interior organization

  • At least one interior pocket is a must for quickly locating a wallet and car keys
  • Outer zip pockets can help separate your belongings and keep them secure
  • Look for a lining that can be easily wiped when spills happen
  • Consider how the top of the bag closes and whether it's secure enough for your daily commute