Wardrobe Essentials: Choosing a Handbag that Makes Sense

I was in the doctor’s office the other day with a sore elbow and shoulder. It was a mystery really, until my doctor leaned over and picked up my purse to move it out of a chair. You should have seen the look she shot me. You see, I call the giant shoulder bag I carry daily a purse, but my husband refers to it as my “tater sack.” On a good day, my large bag weighs a little over 5 pounds, which is apparently the average weight of most women’s purses. On a bad day, when carrying a journal and Ipad, the weight exceeds 7 pounds. I was told in no uncertain terms by my doctor that I needed to downsize.

choosing a handbag RX for Choosing a Handbag

That means that I practically had a prescription and doctor’s order to SHOP. Which should really be a thing, don’t you think? Perfect timing too, since it’s time for a Wardrobe Essentials post and if there is anything that is essential to our daily lives as women, the handbag has to top the list. I am one of those women who doesn’t change my bag daily, but I do mix it up for the “occasion.” Overall, though, my bag is part of my daily attire. It goes everywhere I go.

Not surprisingly, the weight we carry in our bags on a daily basis continues to increase. More electronic devices, more makeup, more gadgets. What is all this weight doing to us? Bad things, that’s what. Carrying that 5+ pound bag around on your shoulder means your neck and back are strained as you hitch your shoulder up to keep the bag from sliding off. If you absolutely have to carry a large bag, make sure you shift it from one shoulder to the other and use your arm to pin it against your body for added support.

choosing a handbagThe big swing bag that you hold by the handle has a similar issue, as do totes. You tend to tilt into the weight, which causes back issues. The best option when choosing a handbag is to select a cross body bag. That style keeps the weight distributed across your body and takes it easy on your neck, shoulder and back. A wider strap is best so it doesn’t dig into your shoulder, too.

Another tip that can lighten the load is to clean out your purse once a week. Make sure you are only carrying essentials and that no forgotten “bricks” are lurking in the depths of your bag.

I know the best thing I can do is downsize, because if there is room available, I will fill it. If you are anything like me, maybe we can form a pact about choosing a handbag. Smaller. Less stuff. More style. No more neck, shoulder and back pain.


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