How to buy a Women a Handbag

perfect handbagWe give you advice to help get you in and out of the store with the right bag that perfectly suits your woman taste and lifestyle. You'll see it's really not that hard after all.

Access Her Lifestyle.
Always consider the reason why you are buying her a handbag in the first place. Is it because she needs something bigger, or sturdier, or maybe something a how to buy a handbaglittle more scratchproof? If she’s in need of a chic and functional work bag, think about whether she'd like a top handle to tote it, or if her needs require a shoulder strap so she can be hands-free (in which case, flat and broad straps will be the most comfortable; bonus points if they're adjustable). One thing to never overlook—despite lifestyle or price tag—is the starting weight. Never buy a lady you love a handbag that's heavy when it's empty. Not even a supersize Balenciaga is worth the upper trapezius pain.

Be Observant.
Make sure you have a true understanding of her taste level. Pay attention to the things in her wardrobe she really loves—everything from the brands she wears most often to the various textures and colors she favors. Snooping in her closet is perfectly acceptable, as is seeking the counsel of her friends. But for added affirmation, peep her social media accounts like Pinterest and Instagram. Beyond her own posts and pins, check out the tastemakers she interacts with and follows to get some ideas or examples of a style she admires.

Size Matters. Beyond the style, the second most important aspect of a forvever-in-rotation handbag (your goal, by the way) is the size. Remember to account for how much space her belongings will take up. For instance, if her daily haul includes a 13-inch laptop, a paddle brush, and a pair of commuting flats—size way up. If buying online, be sure to check the bag's measurements to assure it's the proper size, as a lot of popular styles come in various options (like the Bally Sommet tote, above). To be more helpful, retailers such as Net-a-Porter and mytheresa.com also showcase each bag on a woman's figure, which makes it easier to decipher its actual size in comparison to your lady friend.

Classic Trumps Trend. When in doubt, a black carryall by an iconic luxury brand like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Celine, and Hermès will never fail you. But for a color switch-up, camel, tan, and gray are also considered classic, non-season-specific options. (Tip: Stay away from white—or bone—which typically requires too much upkeep for a wardrobe workhorse.)

Dazzle Her.
Unlike with a practical (yet polished) everyday carryall, your goal with a special-occasion handbag (sometimes called an evening clutch, minaudière, or minibag) is to up the wow factor. She wants something her friends will covet; something that will elicit oohs and aahs every time she takes it out of the closet (see: Fendi or Valentino, above). So really consider her favorite colors, style type, and designers—as this is the opportunity to be a little more adventurous with your selection. Think: bold hues, playful prints, and anything that sparkles.

how to buy a woman a handbagSize Still Matters.
Just because she likely won't be carrying this bag every day doesn't mean it shouldn't still accommodate all her various non-workweek sundries. Some ladies can get away with just carrying a credit card and a tube of lipstick for a night out, and others are not as comfortable downsizing their "must-haves." So if her handbag, or life, motto is "the bigger the better," consider getting her an oversize envelope clutch or a quilted, midsize shoulder bag with a decorative chain shoulder strap (like the emerald green one by Saint Laurent, above). But if she seems to care more about flair than actual practicality, go with something ultracompact and decadent like the above gold-studded hard clutch by Tom Ford. Then just add some fancy plans to give her an occasion to show off her new swoonworthy armpiece.

Sourced by Nic Screws is the style director at Bloomberg.

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