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The Language of Handbags

Bells & Whistles

Michael Kors 'Large Miranda' Leather Bucket Bag - Nordstrom
Michael Kors Large Miranda’ Leather Bucket Bag

It doesn’t take much to grab my attention: anything sparkly, neon lights, bright colors, kittens, puppies, the aroma of Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, shoe sales, and so on. Back when I was driving it was buttons, and lights on the dashboard. I bought my first car (a manual Chevy Chevette) which I had no clue how to drive but the car was a pretty shade of blue and it had AM/FM radio – that was the only criteria I needed to make the purchase (I’d figure out how to drive it later, I did and nailed it).

Back to what I was saying – I love bells and whistles. Take the packaging of smart phones, digital cameras and my latest acquisition that came in yesterday’s mail my UP fitness tracker. UP by Jawbone came in a clear acrylic box complete with tabs and arrows to open. The USB cord was nicely concealed in a cardboard compartment attached to the bottom of the plastic box. Geez these packages are so nice, like a scrumptious looking birthday cake (too pretty to be cut), I almost feel guilty opening them let alone throwing them away.

So what do cars with space age dashboards and cute packages have to do with handbags? Nothing at all. It was just the lead in to…

For the Love of Bags

Rebecca Minkoff 'Leo' Envelope Clutch - Nordstrom
Rebecca Minkoff ‘Leo’ Envelope Clutch

This post is dedicated to a friend of mine, Maribel Steel, who lives on the other side of the world from me in Australia. Maribel and I share a love for all things feminine which includes but is not limited to shoes, scarves, and handbags. So Maribel, taking a line from you, “let’s talk the language of beautiful handbags…in 2015!”

My personal fixation on handbags started about 10 or 15 years ago. I would go practically nuts over the different colors, textures, types, designs, sizes and of course bells and whistles. The bells and whistles of handbags are the number of compartments, hardware like zippers, chains, metal plates, studs, rhinestones, beading, etc.

Over the past few months I’ve been looking for the perfect bucket bag and I found one that’s close to my specifications but I’m still on the fence. While I have a great, great fondness for a pretty handbag I refuse to spend a lot of money for one so when I’m looking for a specific type of bag if it’s not within my price range I’ll keep looking around until I find “the one.”

Olivia Miller Zip Hobo - Nordstrom
Olivia Miller Zip Hobo
Hobo Morena Satchel - Nordstrom
Hobo Morena Satchel

So what is the language of handbags? There are so many types from which to choose and it can be a little confusing so I’ve put together a shortlist of handbag terms which will also be included in the glossary that’s still under construction. Following are six descriptions of different types of bags and descriptions of the pictures throughout the post (under the types) were found on Nordstrom.

  1. Bucket – A bucket bag has a round or oval bottom and a drawstring closure, resulting in a shape similar to a bucket. They usually have an open top, but may have a magnetic closure for added security.
  2. Clutch – A small handbag, usually with no straps or handles, that is designed to be carried under the arm or by hand. Clutches are often used as evening bags.
  3. Hobo – Typically large and characterized by a crescent shape, a slouchy posture and a long strap designed to wear over the shoulder. Hobo bags are made out of soft, flexible materials and tend to slump, or slouch, when set down.
  4. Satchel – Typically has an interior frame, a rectangular shape, a flat bottom, double handles, and a hinged or zippered opening.
  5. Tote – A large handbag, usually with double handles and an open top.
  6. Crossbody – Crossbody bags feature a strap long enough to hang on your shoulder and across your body, allowing you to be completely hands free.
Isabella Fiore The Plains Tote - Nordstrom
Isabella Fiore The Plains Tote
sabelle Fiore Martillado Crossbody - Nordstrom
Isabelle Fiore Martillado Crossbody

I had a grand time looking for pictures of bags for this post because they are all out of my price range but for just a second I could dream. These bags range in price from $100 – $800.

  • Michael Kors Large Miranda’ Leather Bucket Bag – This black bag is similar to what I’m looking for in a bucket bag (of course it is right?) It is a sophisticated looking bag with metal-tipped ties that cinch the top. Soft leather with adjustable strap.
  • Rebecca Minkoff ‘Leo’ Envelope Clutch – Soft blue with silver accents. Open zip teeth trace the edges of a slim envelope-flap clutch crafted from scratch-resistant Saffiano leather. Magnetic-snap closure.
  • Olivia Miller Zip Hobo – Beautiful Washed Deep Blue color that appears almost marbled. This bag looks soooo soft, it has a single top handle, two-way zip top closure. Exterior features front and back zip pockets.
  • Hobo Morena Satchel – One of the things I’ve promised myself this spring is a yellow bag and yellow shoes (oops that’s two things, my bad). I’m typically drawn to satchels like this one because they closely resemble a attache case. The bag has dual top handles, two way zip closure, metal feet and exterior features back zip wall pocket, slip pocket and dual compartments with magnetic top closures.
  • Isabella Fiore The Plains Tote – The color of this tote is blue but it appears almost purple in the picture. I picked this one because I never had a ‘purple’ bag and the gold interior contrasts nicely with the exterior. The bag has dual top handles, detachable strap, top magnetic closure. Exterior features front zip pocket, back magnetic pocket and gusset zip extensions.
  • Isabelle Fiore Martillado Crossbody – The technical color of this crossbody is Garnet and it is such a lovely shade of red and the leather appears textured to provide tactility. The foldover front flap with magnetic closure bag has a single adjustable gold stud accented shoulder strap. Exterior features back zip pocket and front slip pocket under flap.

While I’ve tried to incorporate more colors into my wardrobe (I still love my black and white), a colorful handbag is a quick and easy way to take my outfit to the next level. Add a colorful pair of shoes and I just might go dancing.

“I love accessories. I’m a girl. I love shoes. I love handbags.” ~Petra Ecclestone

3 thoughts on “The Language of Handbags

  1. Selecting a hangbag is tough. So many options. I’ve been searching for a yellow hobo for years, picky about fit and style and features. One day I will find it. And, I will dance.

    1. Agreed. I’m in the same boat, looking for a yellow bag and shoes. I know the shade I’m looking for but still haven’t settled on style.

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