Accessory & Handbag Tips

“How do you decide which handbag to carry?” “Are there rules about which bags go with specific body shapes?” Your questions and comments give me inspiration for many of my blog posts. Today, I share some things I consider when deciding which handbag to carry. These are guidelines based on spatial and geometric reasoning rather than my opinions.

Guidelines for choosing bags include keeping proportion in mind. A large woman carrying a small bag is visually out of balance. If you have a large bust, you should avoid a bulky shoulder bag or clutch that might give you the appearance of three breasts. If one has a large bottom or wide hips, avoid large, shapeless shoulder bags that add more girth to that area.

Women with a rectangle or athletic shape look great with a soft and unstructured bag. If you carry extra weight in your middle or behind, a medium-sized, structured bag that you hold in your hand is your best choice.

This year, small to medium-sized structured bags with adjustable straps or chains are very popular. Animal print, reptile, and faux croc are huge trends for fall. This week, I’ve shown you how I incorporate touches of these trends with my essential wardrobe pieces.

The top above is here. The ankle jeans are several years old. Similar here. The loafers are also from the previous year. Similar here. Other similar items: RingWatchBraceletEarringsSunglasses

On another day, I carried the same bag while wearing a charcoal gray shirt, white jeans, and similar loafers. The neutral colors harmonize well with the reptile print. The shirt and jeans are several years old.

Similar items to above: LoafersJeansShirtBag

The TunicLeggings – Similar Items Bag or BagBootsEarrings

Accessories, including bags and shoes, draw attention. The best tip to remember is to wear accessories to bring the eyes to your best areas. Our feet change shape and develop bunions and visible veins as we age. That’s one of the reasons I stopped wearing dramatic shoes a few years ago.

The super-comfortable red top is here. Similar jeans here.

Sneakers have never been more popular! These are comfortable without appearing too athletic. The small crossbody bag with a faux croc finish was from Ralph Lauren last year. Its casual attitude pairs well with a low-key look, including sneakers and jeans.

SneakersBag HoopsWatchRingNo Show Socks

The gray shirt is a couple of years old from Express. (I purchased it large to avoid gaps at the bust.) For perspective, I am 5’5″ tall and weigh 137 pounds. My shape is an inverted triangle, and my style personality is classic.

I hope these tips are helpful and that you enjoy your weekend.

  1. Thank you for these tips! My question to you is about those spatial and geometric reasonings…but relating to the length of our limbs. You’ve mentioned before that your legs are relatively short…I’m wondering if there is a formula or something that helped you figure that out, besides just life experience. I am short, 5’3″ with a short waist, so I sometimes wear petite tops. But I think my arms and legs are on the long side, even if I am not tall. What would you do differently if your legs were longer? Thanks, love the blog!

    1. You don’t need to worry about continuing the color. For example, you could wear black sandals with white pants because you aren’t concerned with cutting leg length visually.

  2. Thank you for showing how to style white sneakers. I like yours with the stripes on one side but haven’t found that particular style. The link shows sneakers without stripes. Wearing all white sneakers would definitely be a step out of my comfort zone!

    1. Hi, try all sports shops : Adidas, JD Footasylum etc they all sell white trainers with 3 stripes & sometimes the stripes are in different colours x

  3. I always enjoy your blog posts and find them really interesting. This one, however, actually made me laugh out loud! It was your comment about not wanting to appear to have three boobs.

    I never gave that a thought before and I’m sure I’’ll now be checking out women for girl #3. Thanks for the laugh and keep blogging!

  4. Hi Susan, I enjoy every post!!! Thank you for keeping us all up to date on fashion. My style preference is very similar to yours, however. I live in Wisconsin and need to bundle up a bit more. What is your recommendation on socks? Unfortunately that season is upon us. Enjoy your weekend!

    1. I wear black tights with my boots and shoes almost all winter. Socks should be close to the color of your pants and shoes in the same color family if you want to look long and lean. When I do start wearing socks to stay warm, I wear jeans that touch the top of the foot.

  5. Susan, thank you for your blogposts. My question is, where should I look to find good handbags for lower prices? I like consignment shopping, but that’s very hit or miss. Thank you.

  6. Your entire demeanor is classy. I was disappointed with your base word for breasts. Please “breast.”

  7. I see you are combining a grey blouse with light tan shoes. I thought you didn’t mix cool colors with warm colors. It looks good.

  8. Hi Susan! Just love that charcoal gray Portofino shirt on you! Looks great w/the white pants. The Express website has very low inventory on these shirts right now. Sooo, I went to eBay and found a good variety of pre-owned for sale. No gray, unfortunately. Picked up a couple in the deep blue color group … one solid and one in a small print pattern. I always make sure the sellers I deal with are rated 100% by other buyers. No exceptions! Also, since the shirts are polyester, I’m more inclined to buy Pre-owned. No shrinking; easy care. My 2 cents.

    1. I, too, am a fan of eBay, after purchasing several designer bags and wallets. Like Barbara says, only buy from sellers with 100% ratings, no exceptions. You can find some great deals on eBay, but I’m also careful about overpaying on shipping charges. It’s also great when someone accepts your offer! Thanks again, Susan for a wonderful post!

      1. I do a lot of shopping on Ebay; almost everything that Susan shows us is available on Ebay. I also only shop with vendors who have 100% ratings available on Ebay . As I live in a “shopping desert” ( rural community with few options) Ebay is a Godsend.

  9. Hi Susan, Are there “rules” for jewelry? I notice you wear a lot of chunkier pieces. They look beautiful on you. I usually tend to wear daintier pieces. Does the size & shape of your figure determine what style of jewelry looks best?

    1. Proportion always comes into play. If you have delicate features or you are petite, more delicate jewelry is a better fit for you. I have medium bones, and a fleshy face, so delicate jewelry gets lost on me.

  10. Love your blog. Wonder if you’ve got advice on style tips for living in a northern climate. It gets very cold in Wisconsin and I would love advice about dressing stylishly for warmth.

  11. You got me started on Portofino shirts (I’m an inverted triangle as well) and I’m hooked! That color, neckline and flow is absolutely perfect on you!! So pretty. I have found that horse shoe necklines are perfect (as upposed to slight scooped or bateau necked tees) for me as well as V necklines. It is such a slight difference in design but a barely scoop neckline can add 10 lbs. Thank you for all you do.

  12. You always look so darn cute! Had no idea about your bad hair day LOL. You looked perfect! Thank you for your inspirational blog. I love it, as do the rest of us.

  13. I very much like the photos that summarize and group your accessories for each outfit. They are very helpful. In the photo of outfit of jeans, black top, grey shoes, what footwear are you wearing with grey shoes?

  14. Thank you. Helpful as always. I first look to you for help , especially today when I am changing my wardrobe over for the season!

  15. I’m a newcomer to your website and really enjoyed reading about hand-bags! I love them all and buy many, but as I am only 5feet tall I haven’t managed to wear them all and don’t think I ever will. I am 75 years old and your article is the first one I have ever read which made it all so simple. So thankyou – and I’ll definitely keep in touch.

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I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.