How to Choose the Right Handbag for You (with Bagwhispers), Style File Friday

As some of you will know, I have decided that 2018 is going to be the year that I educate myself on all things style. It’s easy to get caught up in pretty pictures on Pinterest, but I want to understand everything that is going into my closet and the principles guiding what we wear. In my research so far, I’ve come to understand that there is as much history, knowledge, and skill into handbags and accessories as the clothing itself. For Style File Friday, we are joined this week by Siobhan of Bagwhispers who when asked about bag shapes and styles explained how to select a handbag that suits your lifestyle!

Bagwhispers was born out of a frustration of shopping for a bag.  It’s a destination for those who want to take the hassle out of high street pounding and online trawling for the bag that’s going to make an outfit. Bagwhispers does the trawling for you and gives you the low down on quality bags regardless of budget.  In Siobhan’s own words, you want to avoid the skin grazing zips, the stitching that won’t last more than a month and the faux leather that is closer to plastic. Here is her advice on choosing the bag best for you!

How to Choose the Right Handbag for You

T’is the Season

Is it the season that gives you the bag shape and style to choose? If you are a self-respecting fashionista, without a doubt this is what happens. But then how do you explain the omnipresent Kelly/Birkins from Hermès, quilted shoulder bags from Chanel and the boxy classic Lady Dior handbag from Christian Dior?  These classics, whilst considered better investments than many of the financial products, aren’t within reach of everyone. So if you don’t have the budgets of these sought after brands or the ability to follow every trend what is a girl to do? Take SS18 trends, Vogue commented on at least 5 shapes just in their introduction to the bag styles and shapes for the season.

What shapes exist?

Firstly, let’s get a feel for the common shapes out there as supplied by Bagwhispers:

Baguette – short shoulder strap and longer than it is tall

Bucket – a shoulder bag where you just throw all the contents in

Clutch – hold in the hand for any special occasion or event

Flap – whereby the top of the bag is covered by a flap that secures on the front of the bag

Hobo – relaxed shoulder bag with strap that is short and thick

Messenger – typically worn crossbody and is thin in depth

Minaudiere – embellished evening bag

Saddle – the bag itself has a curved shape to the bottom edge

Shopper – a tote which is taller than it is wide

Top handle – as it says, a handle attached to the top of the bag

Tote – wider than it is tall

With these descriptions in mind, here is a pinterest image I sourced that you might find handy:

Bag Shape Guide
Photo via Pinterest

(The list supplied can be expanded upon, however, these are the main styles.)

How to Choose?

A top tip from Bagwhispers is to consider your style and the most common uses you may have. Take this Spring/Summer 2018, there are around 8 key fashion trends that range from colour trends to clothing. But don’t think you have to splash out and buy all of them, your daily life will help you select from them.

Some key ‘on trend’ bags this season are the saddle bags with a curved shape; the shoulder flap bags and the top handle bags. For inspiration, look to Victoria Beckham or cheaper alternative L K Bennet for a saddle bag. More statement brands would include options such as the Hortensia from Wandler and of course, Dior.

This season’s saddle bag trend

The Half Moon from Victoria Beckham in a creamy green @£1195

Victoria Beckham half moon bag

 L K Bennett  Andrea blue shoulder bag @ £275

LK Bennett Andrea

Photo Via LK Bennett

The Wandler Hortensia @£700

Brown Leather Saddle Bag

Photo Via Browns

Classic and Structured

If, however, the day job isn’t a funky start up and is a more classic corporate environment you might feel more comfortabe with a structured bag that can carry a few more items such as a laptop. If so think tote or shopper. And if you don’t have to lug around the office equipment, a top handle with shoulder strap will do the job nicely. For best buys head to Mango or if budget isn’t a worry go Aspinal of London or Fendi.      

Mango rigid handle bag @£49.99

Mango rigid handle bag

Photo Via Mango

Mini Trunk clutch bag from Aspinal of London @£550

Mini trunk bag Aspinal of London

Photo Via Aspinal of London

Fendi Kan I bag @£1350.

Fendi Kan I Small

Photo Via Fendi

Relaxed and Free

For the weekends, it is nice to have a more relaxed feel so a hobo or crossbody messenger will do the job nicely. This is also where you have more freedom for a pop of colour; this season you have the pick of two very different palettes; the ice cream coloured pastels or the bold primary colours. There are lots of options from both budget and designer brands for under £1000 and up to £3000

Evening and Event

When it comes to bags for an event or special occasion the go to bag is a clutch so you don’t have any straps distracting the look of your overall outfit. The minaudière is a clutch bag that is bang on trend at the moment.  Embellishments were a key feature on the catwalks; from all over sequins to dangling fringes. For a keenly priced quality embellished bag, Bagwhispers discovered the brand, From St Xavier. However, if budget isn’t a concern, check out the fun and iconic shapes from Judith Leiber.

christy_fsx1s17013_1024x1024Photo via From St. Xavier

Siobhan advises that there’s no doubt that you can blow your whole shopping budget for the year on a bag. If you aren’t in the market for a Hermès (think £10,000 to £230,000, I kid you not) or want to keep up with the ever changing trends – leave these to the fashion followers, she recommends a few styles to suit your lifestyle, for both work and play, in colours that suit your own wardrobe. There really is a bag style for everyone!

A huge thank you goes out to Siobhan for helping us get our base in bags, and making the best decision for our wardrobes! If you would like to learn more, or even just spend some time looking at gorgeous handbags, spend a few minutes perusing her blog!

What handbag do you typically carry? And what is your dream handbag? 

Until tomorrow,
The Historian
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5 thoughts on “How to Choose the Right Handbag for You (with Bagwhispers), Style File Friday

  1. lady sarah in london April 6, 2018 / 2:21 am

    I carry a hand held Kelly bag. It does come with a strap, but I prefer not to use it because it ruins the line of my jackets. I also like a hand held longchamp pliage. Both of those are not ‘fashion’ bags as such and they will coordinate a variety of styles in dressing. Some of the more modern styles, like celine for example, will only really work if the whole wardrobe is more cutting edje. I also like no name banger bags, they never go out of fashion either….


  2. zahthinks April 6, 2018 / 2:54 am

    This was the best fashion post I came across today.. So much info.. Thanks 😀


  3. tahenryauthoress April 6, 2018 / 10:26 am

    My favorite bag ever was a hobo bag that hung perfectly from my shoulder, carried everything I needed for a day out with a toddler who wasn’t potty trained and still looked good. Oh and it was machine washable. I miss that bag.


  4. Lise April 6, 2018 / 12:23 pm

    What a great guide! I was not aware that there were so many different styles of bags but i feel quite well informed now. x


  5. Karalee April 6, 2018 / 3:02 pm

    I normally have a small backpack since it’s easier to wear when I have a 2 year old!


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