When it comes to choosing the right handbag there are several things you need to take into consideration, such as colour, shape, pattern and size. As a rule of thumb, your handbag should carry across the main theme of your outfit, but it should not match identically in colour or print because this causes clashes. Ideally, use it to pick out one or two colours which are played down in your clothes or shoes, or vice versa. We’ve included some advice on specific styles and what to wear them with, using carefully chosen high street and designer handbags from Style in View.
With a good designer tote bag you can generally wear anything, except for evening gowns of course! Dress your tote up with tailored trouser suits for the office, or use your designer handbag to add a bit of glamour to a casual outfit, such as skinny jeans and a tunic. This Fiorelli red tote bag shows how handbags can be classy yet fun. Use it on shopping trips or as a striking addition to a smart black suit, as the bright colour will lift up your outfit from the shadows.
This tan Michael Kors bag will go with every colour, while the cross-body straps adds a practical twist to the traditional tote, allowing it to double up as an overnight bag or satchel with more casual looks.
To add a bit of contemporary fashion a slouch bag is great. These can be available in more interesting fabrics and textures than tote handbags and if that applies to your slouch bag, make sure it doesn’t clash with your outfit. If your handbag is patterned or has lots of detailing, aim for a fairly print-free outfit and vice versa. The shape of a slouch bag is also important; the bigger the better, as you can contrast with a slim-fit ensemble. Pair a handbag such as this white Dune Deja slouch bag with leggings or three-quarter length skinny jeans and a dark-coloured blazer.
For the oversized shape of the bag to really accentuate your figure, roll your sleeves up so that your arms appear slim and elegant, and team with bangles for boho chic.
Casual designer handbags are also becoming increasingly in vogue, with satchels one of the current most popular styles of bag. These are perfect for days out or even a casual yet practical addition to your work outfit. This Jasper Conran white faux leather satchel is both stylish and also can also be worn with sleek outfits such as tailored, high-waist trousers and a chiffon blouse, or with floaty floral dresses, and full skirt-cardigan combos. For a holiday alternative, opt for the navy striped version. A patterned bag must be worn with block colours and match at least one dominant colour in your outfit, so with navy and white stripes go for white wide-leg linen trousers, for example.
As opposed to the tote bag, the clutch can only really be worn with evening dresses, gowns or formal wear. Clutch bags with a chain are versatile for carrying but also work well for those with a wider middle as they won’t draw attention to your stomach. The clutch is generally considered an extension of your outfit, so it should match your shoes and scarf/jacket. If your outfit is quite plain then pick out clutches in metallic materials, bejewelled with diamantes, or that are embroidered to add some reflective light, such as this glitter envelope clutch by Julien Macdonald available through Style in View.