Picking the Right Bag: Fashion Vs Function

When you’re picking out the perfect outfit for that hot date or that all important job interview and every just has to be on point. When you want to reach for that so cute bag but it’s also so tiny (do you really need your phone and your lipstick?). Or when you finally find a bag you can fit everything in but you swear you’ve seen it somewhere before (like on your Grandma). Ladies we’ve all faced the dreaded purse dilemma; do I go for something cute or something I can actually fit things in? Do I choose fashion or function?

In my search for that Holy Grail of a purse that is both outfit ready and can fit all my essentials I have found that most purses are unfortunately one or the other. All of my night on the town purses are so small I can usually only fit a few bits of makeup and my wallet. Sometimes this is just the amount of stuff you needs, but usually I needs more pockets. That is where my backpacks and giant Grandma shopping bags come into the mix. These bags allow me to carry everything but the kitchen sink with me and never have to worry (shoulder pains and loosing things in the void of the bag not withstanding).

I have noticed that like me most women usually have two sets of bags, those tiny going out bags and those I have everything I need to survive on a deserted island in here bags. Is there a purse out there that can fit what we need, survive a day on your arm, and not scream that you stole it from an old lady’s closet? To answer this question let’s breakdown the essential parts of a purse.

The Strap

Most bags have one or two straps that go over one or both shoulders (or a forearm if you prefer that way). These straps can be rated on a number of things, durability, comfort, ascetics, and length. Most function bags have wide straps that distribute weight evenly and can withstand just about anything. These are the straps to look for and love. Of course, sometimes a fat wide strap just does not go with that mini purse. A lot of fashion bags have tiny straps or chains that usually dig into your arm and can cause problems for your shoulder and back. The length of a strap can help mitigate these problems. Being able to shift the bag from your arm to your shoulder can help alleviate the load. The best-case scenario is the cross-body bag because most of your body carries the weight. This also helps keep your purse safe from purse snatchers.

Storage Space/Pockets

The most basic function of a bag is to carry things around with you without having to you know actually carry things around. The more storage space a bag has the more points it gets (within limits, no one needs a bag to Narnia). Pockets within the storage space are a plus as it helps organize your things. We’ve all had to stand by our car in the rain or the cold fishing around in junk to catch a glimpse of our car keys. Something could be said for smaller bags as they make you only take what you really need and allows you to find it fast. But who wants to have to decide between taking their phone or their lipstick and mirror. Somethings are just essentials. My rule of thumb for a bag is if I can comfortably fit my phone, wallet, makeup, mirror, hand cream, glass case, and pepper spray the bag is a decent size. Know what you need to bring with you and what you want to bring with you then find a bag that fits it without playing Tetris every time you have to put things into it.


It’s always a sad day when your favorite purse breaks a strap or gets a hole in the bottom. Some bags can take more than others (usually cloth bags are the least sturdy).  If the fabric of the bag feels thick and stiff then usually the bag is fairly sturdy. Zippers or clasps on bags seem to be a general weak point on purses. I cannot say how many bags are in my closet collecting dust because the zipper ripped or the clasp would never stay closed. Speaking of dust, bags get dirty, but some are washable and some are not. I hate when I get a bag dirty and realize it’s a bag that is difficult to clean off. Being a klutz, I prefer sturdy bags that I can just simply wipe off or throw in the washing machine.


When choosing a purse looks is always going to be a factor. If a bag is going to be attached to your arm out in public it’s going to be a fashion statement, right? Well, there are two factors to consider here; looks and brand. Some people choose bags based on their brand name (Coach, Gucci, Hermes, H&M). Some people choose bags based on how cute the bag looks. I prefer to pick bags based on how they look then on what name is on them. But of course, some brand names are an investment as their value only goes up.


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