Finding the perfect handbag for your body shape

Finding the perfect handbag for your body shape

Buying a handbag is for some an essential, and for others an absolute chore. What many may not realise though is that different types of handbag actually suit different body shapes. The majority of people are more likely to purchase a bag based on its appearance, size and practicality, and less on the type of bag that will best suit you. Below we have detailed how different bags suit different body shapes to help you next time you go bag shopping. You can still consider everything that you previously did before, but at least you will know which bags will be best for you.

ToteBefore we get down to any of the nitty gritty, let’s start with a little bit of terminology. If you are not a fan of bag shopping, you might be put off or at least deterred by the endless descriptions of different bags. So, let’s keep it fairly simple. A tote, is simply an open-top back with straps or handles on each side; a duffle bag is a tall bag that you wear over your shoulders, and they often have a wider opening on the top; a satchel is normally a large, handheld bag (although modern versions often have a removable body strap); across the body bag – this is exactly what it sounds like. It is normally a smaller bag that is worn at an angle across the body; a messenger bag which is a large, soft shoulder bag with longer straps. This is so it can be worn across the body if desired and a clutch bag – this is often used for formal events or nights out and is normally a smaller, handheld bag, or a slightly larger bag that can be tucked under the arm or carried in your hand.

Now for the not so common bag options. The cigar box is exactly how it sounds. It is a small, hard, box like bag which is commonly used as a smart, going out bag. A Kelly bag is in the style of the luxury Hermes brand, which was named after Grace Kelly. It is a large, structured handbag with distinctive hardware closures. Other less so common bag types include; the pouch – a small, soft bag; a slouch bag – a large, crescent shaped bag that is often soft and slouchy (hence the name) and a field bag – less of a fashion bag and more of a practical flap-top shoulder bag with utility-type closures. Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list, merely a rough guide into some of the terminology you are faced with when purchasing a new bag.


As a general rule of thumb, when you are shopping for your handbag, ensure, just like you would clothes that you take it to the fitting room and carry it as you would if you bought it. That way you can check the bag out from all angles at the same time as your new outfit. Although this is not always the case, generally speaking, you should go for a bag that is the opposite shape of your body type as you will find that this is the most flattering. It is a common myth that the bigger the bag, the smaller you look. It can actually have the opposite effect, although this is not always the case. The following of course, are just a guide though, and of course, it is just like clothes - you have to feel comfortable and confident in the bag that you are wearing, regardless of the style. That said though, there are simple hints and tips that can make a bag flatter your figure just like a good pair of jeans can.

When picking a bag, you need to take into consideration your height and weight (we will go into this in more detail later) and think about the length of the bag. If you are carrying a shoulder bag, where the bottom of the bag hits your body will accentuate that body part. So, if you are self-conscious about your hips, for example, consider a bag that falls above or below the hip, rather than on it, as your eye is automatically drawn to the bag, and as a result, your problem area. Although, this sounds like it is contradicting our previous statement, if you are six foot and carry a little extra weight a small bag will just become lost on you, so it is important to take height into consideration when choosing your bag.

Tony PerottiIf you are plus-size, it is better to pick a larger, structured bag to balance out your curves, bearing in mind the length of the bag handles (see above). Try not to carry a bag that is too small, as this will actually make you look bigger than you are. The same goes for prints too. Whilst larger ones are fine, try and avoid smaller more intricate patterns. The Tony Perotti Versilia Collection has some perfect, large organiser bags which will flatter a slightly fuller figure perfectly.

If you are petite, you should avoid really big bags like the plague. Oversized bags really aren’t for small women as they will completely drown your frame, and all that people will focus on is the bag, which, in turn will make you look even smaller. This is the same with shoulder bags that have long straps. These will make you look shorter and are likely to weigh you down. Instead, opt for medium sized bags that will rest on your waist or higher. The Kipling Practi-Cool shoulder bag is perfect for petite people.

Finally, if you are lucky enough to have a statuesque, tall figure, you should opt for shorter, slouch bags; however, avoid shoulder bags with a very short strap as this will just add to your height. You should be looking for bags that are wider than they are tall, such as a clutch, although this is not always the most practical choices for the day time. The Chameleon large shoulder bag is perfect, as it is designed in a slouch shape with a long enough strap for it fit perfectly on you tall girls.

Like we said before, this is of course only a guide, but it is worth bearing in mind when you are next shopping for a handbag. If you are not in the position to try the bag on, make sure you read the descriptions carefully, as most will detail the lengths of the straps and the dimensions of the bag, giving you an idea of the size. Once you have established what suits you best, and what you feel comfortable carrying, you can simply adapt this style to other bags. You really will be surprised at how much of a difference it can make. A bag should be an extension to your outfit, rather than a last minute thought, so just like you would not go out in ill-fitting clothes, be sure not to do the same with your handbag. Happy shopping!

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