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Flavors of Fashion: Bags 101

June 30, 2010

My fashion obsession begins and ends with bags, clutches, purses and the like. This week I want to talk about purse styling and education because whether you knew it or not, your bag is part of your outfit! – Carolyn

Anyone who knows me is aware that I have an obsession with bags. I love them in all colors, sizes and shapes. There was actually one incident where I snapped my wooden purse rack in half because I was over the weight limit…but I digress. My addiction comes with benefits too! I have become quite the purse connoisseur and love to style different purses with various outfits. Your bag doesn’t have to be “matchy matchy” with your outfit or emblazoned with logos to still be a great style statement. So, quit schlepping and shuffling with that same old bag and use these do’s and don’ts to make the most of your summer purse.

Orange purse, $48; Francesca's Collections

Don’t: Choose a bold colored purse that goes with nothing in your wardrobe—eyesores should be avoided!

Do: Utilize this bag to draw out the orange colors in a patterned piece you already own.

Turquoise bag by Double J. Saddlery, $400; Cornblooms

Don’t: Pair an already ornate bag with complicated patterns or vivid colors. 

Do: Match this bag with a muted brown, dusty teal, or classic white shirt. Even accent the hardware on this purse with your own pewter or silver jewelry.

Green Clutch by Shiraleah, $29; Little Luxuries

Don’t: Get a clutch that is too small for your needs. A clutch’s sleek lines are ruined if you try to jam in all your belongings.

Do: Try a convertible clutch like the one shown below. It can be great for varying size needs and you get two purses for the price of one!

Hobo bag, $62; Patricia Shoppe

Don’t: Think your hobo bag is perfect for any occasion. It works best with casual and fun outfits, not that little black dress.

Do: Add a printed and lightweight scarf to spice up your bohemian bag and accent your outfit for summer.

Wooden clutch, $28; Francesca's Collections

Don’t: Underestimate the power of a natural style statement, like this knit and wooden clutch. It can be as “loud” as a patent leather purse with all the bells and whistles.

Do: Accent your summer dresses with this unique find for all your luncheon dates and graduation parties.

Patterned purse by Amy M, $52; Patricia Shoppe

Don’t: Try to pair several prints with each other throughout your outfit. It gets too busy, and most want that clash factor minimized. Let the bag speak for itself!

Do: Pick a color on this horizontal pattern and then wear a solid top or piece of jewelry that matches your chosen accent color.

*Another “do” is support your local artisans and designers. This bag is a part of Amy M Handbags which started right here in Madison!

Cinched tote, $60; Patricia Shoppe

Don’t: Carry an enormous bag if you have a particularly petite shape. Your bag shouldn’t overwhelm your body!

Do: Be bold and try a purse with a unique shape. This bag has a “cinched” appearance toward the top. It’s a detail that gives the basic square bag an eye pleasing difference.

Francesca’s Collections | West Towne Mall; (608) 833-0052

Cornblooms | Hilldale Mall; (608) 238-9282

Little Luxuries | 230 State Street, Madison; (608) 255-7372

Patricia Shoppe | 137 West Johnson Street, Madison; (608) 256-1111

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